Friday, September 25, 2009

Why After 10 Seasons CSI is Still the Best Show on TV

Most shows start to die out in their old age. Much like 7th Heaven after Jessica Biel left, once the principal characters depart the series tends to hang on by little more than a thread.
Shows like Smallville only stick around because they are on networks that value EVERY audience member, especially the small cult-followings that keep them running well past their expiration date.
Thus CSI is obviously the exception and not the rule. In its 10th season on CBS, the show has lost multiple lead characters (Warrick, Sara, and Gil Grisson have all left their regular roles) and exhausted multiple plot twists (the miniature killer, for example)... yet it still remains fresh and enticing, and thus one of the best shows on television.
Even with spin-offs trying to snag some of its viewers (CSI: Miami, CSI: New York), and similar crime-driven dramas looking to steal its spotlight (NCIS, NCIS:LA, Cold Case, the Mentalist)-the series continues to plow ahead as if there were no competition at all.
For proof I give you 10 Reasons why after 10 seasons, CSI is still the best show on TV:

1) When it loses a main character, it fills the void in a BIG way. Case in point... by William Peterson, hello Lawrence Fishbourne.

2) Even the characters who leave the series can't stay away... Sara Sidle left, but makes a multi-episode guest stint to start season 10...and it's good to have Jorja Fox back in Sin City.

3) GEORGE EADS. Need I say more? Besides his one bad season sporting a mustache, this man has been perfect in every way, shape, and form. He's hot, talented, and a killer crime-solver. When he almost died a few seasons back I almost stopped watching the series all-together. Thankfully he's still alive and well, and thus my support of the series continues.

4) Best season premiere opening sequence ever. I don't want to go into too many details because this you need to see for yourself. Talk about staying fresh and forever reinventing the series... the opening sequence is proof that it's being done on this show. No other series I've seen this season opened with such an explosively powerful visual element.

5) The cliff-hanger. Normally season premieres tie up lose ends, not unravel more of them. But, in the case of CSI, the season premiere continued to keep audiences hooked by leaving you with a question that will burn through your brain until (hopefully) it is answered in the next episode. It isn't over the top. And it isn't obnoxious... because the episode did provide enough conclusions to make you feel you got your money's worth as well. This is just brilliant writing.

6) 10 seasons and the crimes still never get old. I don't know how they do it. I thought they'd run out of clever ways for people to die. But, once again, I am totally wrong. Which each death there is a plausible twist that keeps you on your toes.

7) Syndication hasn't killed the series, but rather prolonged its life. More people have gotten hooked from the countless episode reruns on Spike than have lost interest. Syndication has also meant you can go back and revisit classic episodes that you haven't seen in a while considering the show's 10 year run. It's like watching the series all over-again... and falling in love all over again at the same time.

8) It hasn't ever jumped the shark. Some series creators get bored with their material (7th Heaven) or too cocky in their own abilities (Heroes) and go off on weird plot tangents that cause the series to jump the shark. Never in its 10 seasons has CSI been guilty of either of those two things. At no time have fans been left in shock because of crazy off-beat story lines. The show has stayed true to its purpose and as a result is being rewarded with another season in a top-spot in CBS's lineup.

9) Special effects lead the way. Other shows wish they could do in one season what CSI does in one episode. For television they have an incredible special effects budget. The use of computer generated material isn't overwhelming, and the added bonus of real scientific strategies makes the audience feel as though you are learning something while watching.

10) It has some of the most unique characters in television. Hodges. Grissom. Case in point. Each character is given just enough exposition that you learn their quirks and often their backgrounds, but you are never smothered with characterization to the point that it deprives you from a murderous storyline. Often times the characterization comes as a result of the murder investigation and you don't realize you've even gotten it until all is said and done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree about the "not jumping the shark". It was set up as a procedural that after season 6 started putting soap opera-esque scenes between Grissom and Sara in key spots per episode. What's worse is that it was to the detriment of the other characters who became zombies just doing the job and having little revealed about their characters. When a show goes off balance like that spotlighting two characters over the rest of the ensemble, it's jumped the shark.