Monday, September 27, 2004

TV: Various CSIs

I haven't watched a lot of CSI, but I've enjoyed the few episodes I have caught. I like that it appears to have an actual sense of humor, as opposed to the one episode of CSI:Miami I've watched, which was stupid in the extreme, with truly unlikeable, unwatchable actors, and the premiere episode of CSI:NY, which has the great Gary Sinise, but which was dry and dreary and disturbingly, off-puttingly morose from beginning to end.

I watched the season premiere of the original this week, and I enjoyed it. I like all the main actors, especially Marg Helgenberger, who just gets more beautiful year after year, and William Petersen, who has an oddly impish look in his eyes even at the bloodiest crime scenes.

But I especially got a kick out of how Jorja Fox and George Eads were made to eat crow. Both of those actors tried to hold out for more money over the summer; CBS fired them both, then hired them back after they made sufficiently humiliating public excuses and apologies. And even that wasn't enough, apparently. When we first see Fox in this episode, she's looking in the mirror, practicing an apology to her boss over a drunk driving incident. But if you're paying attention, the language she's using could just as easily be interpreted as a coerced apology to the CBS executives and/or producers.

And later, when Eads meets Fox at a crime scene in the desert, the ironic dialogue continues. Both actors had been fired for missing deadlines (Fox for failing to turn in a contract promising to show up for work, Eads for showing up 4 hours late on the first day's shooting). At the crime scene, Fox says to Eads, "How come you're so late?" "Oh, I'm late?" he shoots back. With just two lines, each actor has been made to poke fun at/assign blame to the other.

I'm not necessarily saying I'm taking sides against Eads or Fox. Actors play hardball with networks all the time, and despite the vast amounts of money they're making per episode, it truly is a pittance compared to what the network is raking in off their work. But still: it cracked me up, seeing the two of them forced to eat humble pie on camera. How long will the punishment last, I wonder?

Speaking of CSI:NY: I like that they're sticking with The Who for the theme song. CSI uses "Who Are You," which is the most appropriate theme of the three shows; the characters spend most of their time trying to determine who the victim is, then who the killer is. Who are you? CSI:Miami uses "Won't Get Fooled Again," which is also thematically apropos. The killer won't fool us. Fine and good.

But CSI:NY uses "Baba O'Riley." I love the song, and I love The Who, but I just don't think the song works well as the theme. "Out here in the fields, I fight for my meals, I get my back into my living." I guess you could stretch it to say, well, Crime Scene Investigation is their living, and it's a tough job, so you could say they fight for their meals... no, it just doesn't work. Maybe if they had gotten to the bridge: "Don't cry, don't raise your eye, it's only teenage wasteland..." Like, as some kind of commentary on the crime-ridden city and its victims. But the song doesn't go on that long in the credits, and it's still not a great match to the actual show.

I think if they wanted to stick to The Who, two better choices (without going really obscure) would've been "The Seeker" ("They call me the Seeker, I've been searching low and high, and I won't get to get what I'm after til the day I die"), or, even better, "I Can See for Miles" ("I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise, I know that you have cause there's magic in my eyes"). Maybe they'll use one of those when CSI:Jackson Hole, Wyoming debuts in fall 2006.

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