CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Ninth Season (2008) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Mystery|
|Paramount || NR - 1044 minutes - $89.99 || September 1, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-09-07|
Writer(s): Anthony E. Zuiker (created by)
Cast: William Petersen, Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Eric Szmanda, Paul Guilfoyle, Robert David Hall
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“CSI” season nine more than any other season marked a major change for the series. While the show could sustain losing two of its main characters (Sara and Warrick), the departure of William Petersen’s Grissom might just have been too much. Despite adding the charismatic and talented Laurence Fishburne – more on him later –, the show just didn’t have the depth it had with Petersen.
This season the writers and directors decide to once again push the envelope with both the stories (1000 ways to die can only go so far and still be interesting) and direction by trying different ways to present those stories.
In one such episode, ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ (Episode 16) – and a personal favorite of mine – takes lead investigator Nick Stokes (George Eads) at an apartment complex called out to the death of a 16-year-old girl (Taylor Swift) and then we are taken back one year as he investigates another crime. The show then goes back (from the present) 120 days (or so) and so on and so forth showing the victim’s attitude and looks changes over that time. It was a unique way of portraying the story and makes it interesting to watch and see how the whole thing unfolds and connects. It also gives Nick good character development especially since he hadn’t been kidnapped or held at gunpoint which has happened to poor Nick over the years, more so than any of the other characters.
However, after Grissom’s departure, I will admit “CSI” hit a rough patch, it was almost as if it were a pilot episode given we have two new characters. First, the addition of Lauren Lee Smith as Riley Adams (chosen over “BSG” alum Katee Sackhoff) was basically your standard character introduction. However, reading an article, apparently Smith will not make a return for the tenth season for whatever reason (apparently Jorja Fox will return for five episodes). Though honestly, you could replace her with any other actress and it wouldn’t really matter. Nothing against Ms. Smith, but when you are that far down the line of the cast and thus character arcs (which is already limited), there’s not much to do.
Then you have the arrival of Dr. Raymond Langston played by the instant charismatic Laurence Fishburne. His initial appearance as a CSI was fun to see him learn the ropes and grow in his new occupation. One great episode that showed some depth to Langston was the 200th episode directed by William Friedkin, ‘Mascara’. The episode finds Langston investigating the murder of a former student of his and taking the CSIs into the brutal world of Luca Libre Mexican wrestling.
Although “CSI” has lost its spunk over the years – and losing William Petersen has not helped – I still enjoy the show especially trying different ways to tell the stories via interesting camera angles/styles or moving back and forth in the timeline. “CSI” The Ninth Season has some good episodes and it should be interesting to see where the writers go from here as so far, despite some of the good aspects, it could easily fall further.
EPISODE BREAKDOWN (* - Favorite Episodes):
01. For Warrick*
02. The Happy Place
03. Art Imitates Life
04. Let It Bleed
05. Leave Out All The Rest
06. Say Uncle
07. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
08. Young Man With a Horn
09. 19 Down...
10. One To Go*
11. The Grave Shift
12. Disarmed & Dangerous
13. Deep Fried & Minty Fresh
14. Miscarriage of Justice
15. Kill Me If You Can
16. Turn, Turn, Turn*
17. No Way Out
19. The Descent of Man
20. A Space Oddity*
21. If I Had a Hammer
22. The Gone Dead Train
23. Hog Heaven
24. All In
This release only comes with two episode commentaries (shame they couldn’t have provided one with Petersen on his last episode):
‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ with Actor George Eads, Guest Actress/Singer Taylor Swift and Writer Tom Mularz – This track is low-key with each participant giving their take on the episode and working with some of the co-stars. This could be boring for some but as a fan of commentaries, I still enjoyed it.
‘A Space Oddity’ with Writers Naren Shankar, Bradley Thompson and David Weddle and Actors Wallace Langham and Liz Vassey – This is a much quieter commentary, oddly enough given the number of people, with plenty of lulls and even when they talked, it wasn’t that interesting.
Interactive Investigative Mode – This new picture-in-picture feature is on two episodes (‘Let it Bleed’ and ‘Kill Me If You Can’) allows you to get insights into the episode from the writers, directors and consultants as well as mini featurettes when you press the enter button. Though not an entirely unique feature, it’s still cool to see Paramount utilizing the technology more so than even Fox on their TV on BD releases. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
CSI Mode is just a pop-up trivia track that runs along the episode (in this case, ‘The Grave Shift’).
Crime Scene Initiation (14:44; HD) – This featurette covers the new characters introduced in season nine with Lauren Lee Smith and Laurence Fishburne and how/why they got cast. How Fishburne got cast was pretty cool as he took the part after many people came to him asking if it were true he was up to replace William Petersen.
Rats in Space (27:20; HD) – This is an extensive making-of the ‘Space Oddity’, featuring interviews with the cast and crew and basically goes over coming up with the story, how it was directed and other little aspects of the episode. Fans of the episode will find it more interesting than others.
From Zero to 200 in Nine Seasons (18:56; HD) featurette covers the special ‘Mascara’ 200th episode directed by William Friedkin. This features behind-the-scenes footage and comments, about how it is different from previous episodes (such as no “Who Are You” opening credits) from the cast and crew including Friedkin.
Good-bye Grissom (17:39; HD) goes over William Petersen’s departure from the show, how it was written via collaboration between the writers and Petersen himself and why he (and his character) decided to leave.
Deleted Scenes (10:01; SD) – These scenes were cut for time reasons. Nothing all too special about them and can be skipped. Interestingly, while most are presented in non-anamorphic widescreen, there are a couple anamorphic, and not as the scenes progressed towards the end of the season...
BD-Live – With this you can get access to “CSI” bonus videos and the “CSI” handbook. The videos can be viewed in HD or SD but will have to be downloaded so be prepared for an even longer wait (it takes about 2-3 minutes for BD-Live to even load). You also have access to CBS-BDLIVE FORUM, GALLERIES, iTRACKS and more. Kind of cool you can check out how many viewers there are (and where) with CBS’ line of Blu-ray with DynamicHD ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
“CSI” is presented in its original 1.78 aspect ratio and in almighty 1080p high-definition. As you can imagine, as it has been with previous “CSI” seasons, this is a fairly dark show so you’re not really going to get bright colors that will ‘pop’ off the screen (sadly to get that, you’d have to watch “CSI: Miami”), but all things considered, it’s not a bad looking transfer with decent levels of details (albeit a tad soft at times).
The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is indeed pretty impressive from the show’s opening theme to the creepy score that any “CSI” fan knows and loves. Dialogue is also nice, clean and clear from the central action to ambient noises.
“CSI” The Ninth Season isn’t exactly a gem in a series with so many great stories and episodes, but between the 10 episodes we got from William Petersen and some interesting story/directing techniques, it is still a fun season and balanced the lighter storylines with some heavier plotlines that allows for character development.