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HTF DVD REVIEW: CSI: Miami - The Sixth Season



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#1 of 2 Matt Hough

Matt Hough

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Posted September 08 2008 - 08:22 AM


CSI: Miami: The Sixth Season
Directed by Sam Hill et al

Studio: Paramount
Year: 2007-2008
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic
Running Time: 914 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, 2.0 stereo Spanish
Subtitles: CC
MSRP: $ 72.99

Release Date: September 9, 2008
Review Date: September 8, 2008


The Series

2.5/5

One of CBS’ continuing great hits, CSI: Miami became almost totally derailed in its sixth season. Now featuring a leading character who is so far removed from reality that he’s ludicrously mythical and not of this world, the show also began to sink from a too great reliance on soapy inter-office wrangling and characters behaving contrary to the personas we’ve grown to know and love over more than five years of episodes. It’s always sad to see a show turn a corner and head off its chosen path, but, sad to say, CSI: Miami has done it.

The producers and writers of CSI: Miami blundered in a number of major ways during the sixth season. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) learns of the existence of a hitherto unknown son (Evan Ellingson) who recurs throughout episodes of season six. The character is beyond annoying and always detracts from the episode’s central mystery. Another failed romance for Calleigh (Emily Procter) in the person of detective Jake Berkley (Johnny Whitworth) distracts from more serious concerns for a few episodes though Emily Procter does take part in the season‘s best episode when Calleigh gets abducted and must use her wits to leave clues to help her be found. The continuing inner-office rivalry between slightly brain injured Eric Delko (Adam Rodriguez) and the reinstated Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo) is once more juiced by Ryan’s humiliating attempts to get back on the team and Eric’s recurring health problems (in one ludicrous episode conjuring up late former coworker Tim Speedle (Rory Cochrane) to assist him on a case.) And Natalia Boa Vista (Eva La Rue), the most recent addition to the forensics team but who now can boss Ryan around due to his suspension from the squad, continues making bone-headed blunders but emerging unscathed. Khandi Alexander’s M.E. Alexx Woods has her swan song during this season, and while it‘s somewhat affecting, the motivations for her leaving seem a bit strained.

But it’s the character of Horatio Caine that has made the series almost completely insufferable. Added to Caruso’s irritating, overly mannered acting choices is the writers’ desire to make Horatio into some kind of superhero. He’s Dead-Eye Dick with a gun, able to wipe out a mob of Brazilian gang members single-handedly (in an episode that is the absolute nadir for the series thus far) or face down a deadly vaporizer weapon by killing three gunmen with one bullet for each of them and confronting his son’s deceitful mother (played by the eternally talentless Elizabeth Berkley) with dialog so purple and situations so contrived as to set one’s teeth on edge. And for sheer, unadulterated absurdity, nothing beats the outrageous season finale cliffhanger which has Horatio’s life seemingly in the balance at the hands of an unknown assassin while a team member appears out for vengeance.

Here is the lineup of season six episodes contained on six discs in this set. Names in parentheses identify the participants in that episode’s audio commentary. Note that the episodes are numbered in production order while arranged in this list in broadcast order:

1 - Dangerous Son
3 - Cyber-lebrity
4 - Inside Out
2 - Bang, Bang, You’re Debt
5 - Deep Freeze
6 - Sunblock
7 - Chain Reaction
8 - Permanent Vacation (Eagle Egilsson, Barry O’Brien, Krystal Houghton)
9 - Stand Your Ground
10 - CSI: My Nanny
11 - Guerillas in the Mist
13 - Miami Confidential
12 - Raising Caine (Elizabeth Berkley, Rex Linn)
14 - You May Now Kill the Bride
15 - Ambush
16 - All In
17 - To Kill a Predator
18 - Tunnel Vision
19 - Rock and a Hard Place
20 - Down to the Wire
21 - Going Ballistic


Video Quality

3.5/5

These anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD transfers are down converted from the show’s 1080i telecast on CBS. As the most individualistic looking series on television with pumped up colors and high contrast levels, the transfers sometimes struggle with clarity. Though on occasion they can look very close to what airs on TV, too often there is smearing and soft focus from shot to shot that’s wildly distracting. Some of the fly-bys and fly-overs display aliasing and moiré that are momentarily bothersome. Each episode has been divided into 6 chapters.

Audio Quality

3.5/5

The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix is very loud but faithful to what is broadcast on CBS. The rap and salsa music which comprise the scores for the shows occasionally gets filtered into the rear surrounds, but otherwise, the sound design is front heavy, not getting the most from the rear speakers. Subwoofer activity, on the other hand, is quite busy and prominent in most of the sound mixes.

Special Features

3.5/5

The two audio commentaries are both uninteresting affairs. The first is distinguished by lots of gaps where no one is talking though some decent information is imparted about the different sets all constructed on the same soundstage. In the second, Rex Linn’s slobbering over Elizabeth Berkley’s looks (he calls her “hot” three times with her sitting there, classy guy that he is) is about as detailed as the track gets. She is very complimentary about the cast and crew, and each discuss various aspects of the show that either impress or frustrate them.

“Four-Sight: Directing CSI: Miamidelves into four of the show’s key directors and how each came to be a director on the show: Sam Hill, Matt Earle Beesley, Eagle Egilsson, and Gina Lamar. Cast and production staff discuss the strengths that each person brings to the job. This featurette runs 16 ¾ minutes in anamorphic widescreen.

“Playing Dead” is a 6-minute anamorphic widescreen vignette about the makeup effects used on actors to simulate death.

“The Real Women of the MDPD” introduces us to some of the real-life women who work for the Miami-Dade Police Department. We’re given introductions to the Underwater Recovery Unit, the Marine Patrol Unit, the Airport K-9 Unit, and the Training Bureau where female officers are employed on the force. This feature runs 16 ½ minutes in anamorphic widescreen.

“Analyzing Season 6” is a summary of the journeys of many of the main characters through their experiences during this past season. Both writers, producers, and the actors involved contribute to the discussion. Astonishingly, there is absolutely no mention at all of the character of Alexx Woods, the actress who played her for six years Khandi Alexander, or the reasons for her departure. This anamorphic feature runs 13 ¼ minutes.

The set offers previews of such Paramount series as Dexter, Twin Peaks, the CSI franchise, Criminal Minds, and Ghost Whisperer.


In Conclusion

2.5/5 (not an average)

Whether CSI: Miami can recover from its woes of season six and return to be an entertaining, more grounded and less melodramatic procedural is open to question. Season seven should answer a lot questions about the direction of the show.


Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 2 Nicholas Martin

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Posted September 08 2008 - 10:17 AM

Contrast seasons 1 and 2 with seasons 4 through 6 and Horatio Caine, his portrayal, and the show's focus is radically different.

When the show began, it was essentially a more colorful version of the Vegas show. Stories that were told then were as serious and well-written as the Vegas show's stories. They had credibility, and real emotion.

Unfortunately, the show's popularity surged and the writers played up the elements that made people tune in - the color (the show was nowhere near as fluorescent-looking when it started), the endless people in swimsuit shots, and of course the Sunglasses Of Justice.

Any trace of those well-told serious stories is long gone, replaced by the endless 'that would be so cool' type of shots and pointless rich-kills-richer tales told ad nauseam.

They sold out. Literally.

Caine, and Caruso's portrayal of him became less of a real person (a likeable, serious human being who was talkative and actively involved in all aspects of the cases) and more of a stoic, silent faux-superhero who awkwardly poses and takes out armies of thugs single-handedly. Don't blame Caruso, blame the writers. Caruso was damn good when it started, and it's a shame that in any recent interviews done for the show he still has that more realistic, talkative, BELIEVABLE side to him that he utilized for the early days of the show and character, but not anymore.

I watch because on very rare moments those early days of the show surface a bit, but they are few and far between.





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