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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — The First Season (Blu-ray Review)

27 May, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey


$99.99 five-disc Blu-ray
Not rated
Stars William L. Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, Jorja Fox, George Eads, Paul Guilfoyle.

Not much new can be said about the groundbreaking first season of “CSI,” except that if there’s one TV show that absolutely required a Blu-ray release, this was it.

CBS and Paramount made it a release worthy of every fan’s collection. Even with only 1080i video, the widescreen transfer (none of this 4:3 nonsense) brilliantly relays the dark and edgy slickness of “CSI.” As the creators like to say, this was the first show to tell crime stories from the police tape down (mostly with flashlights), and the picture and 7.1 audio do the (violent) visual storytelling justice for the first time.

The high-def treatment pairs nicely with the introduction of the characters that we’ve come to know and love during the show’s nine-year run. Warrick’s gambling problem, Brass’ brashness, Grissom’s quirkiness, Willows’ single-mother juggling act … we’re forced to love these guys right from the first episode. The brutal crime forensics on network TV made us pay attention, but it was the wonderfully flawed geek squad that kept us coming back week after week.

Instead of just rehashing the special features from the 2003 DVD release, the only thing left over in this set is the “CSI: People Lie … But the Evidence Never Does” featurette. CBS and Paramount went gung-ho for the Blu-ray, pulling together most of the characters from season one for a lengthy look back at the first season in “CSI Season One: Rediscovering the Evidence.” Nine years later, people such as creator and executive producer Anthony Zuiker still seem genuinely shocked by how well-received this first season was.

A more salty director’s cut of the pilot (with optional commentary) feels like a mini-movie, while some of the deleted scenes contain jaw-dropping revelations that would have dramatically changed the character dynamics if they had been left in.

More fun stuff can be found through BD Live, with exclusive interviews and videos in high-def or standard, a CSI handbook, promos and more. Easy load times and a slick BD Live environment give these discs more legs down the line, if CBS and Paramount continue to load more goodies.

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