I had myself a little C.S.I. franchise night, sort of by default because there was nothing else on. I like the original show, but I don't watch it that much because I've got too much other crap on my plate. I never watch the Miami spin-off because I can't really take all that much of David Caruso's patented acting technique: head-tilt, barely audible growl, making every line read sound like he's giving you the hidden location of the lost Ark of the Covenant. I used to like the guy. Now he's a parody of himself.
In case you haven't been paying attention, there's a third sibling coming to this franchise next fall, C.S.I.: NY, and it's basically a spin-off of C.S.I.: Miami. On the plus side, this new series has a phenomenal cast led by the
sell-out brilliant actor Gary Sinese and joined by Melina Kanakaredes and Hill Harper. The defacto pilot aired last Monday as an episode of the Miami show, and after watching tonight's interesting but anti-climactic season finale of the original show, I decided to subject myself to the hour of Caruso I DiVo'd on Monday.
You should thank me. I don't know, maybe the "NY" show will get a lot better; these spin-off episodes always kind of suck, and this one was no exception. But just in case you were wondering how NY would differ from Miami, and in case you have long been confused about how Miami differed from the original set in Las Vegas ... rest your little heads (stop it! you know what I mean), I have all the answers.
It seems that in New York, everything is very blue. Also, their crime lab, very white, bright and hi-tech with everyone wearing lab coats. Additionally, New York CSI have to deal with a lot more media -- reporters hounding them outside every crime scene. But mostly, it's just very blue. Everything has a blue tint. Except, strangely enough, Mr. Caruso, who in this episode is given the ability to appear and disappear almost out of thin air. When Caruso first sneaks up on Sinese examining a murder scene in a dingy (because is there any other kind?) apartment in downtown Manhattan, the apartment is devoid of all color, except for that strange, cool, blue tint that seems to permeate everything in New York. Everything in New York except Caruso, who being from Miami is still very colorful and red.
Because if you've ever watched C.S.I.: Miami, I'm sure you've noticed that Miami is very red. Red and orange actually. That's because it's hot. It's mostly daylight, and it's hot and red and orange, which probably explains hiring Caruso in the first place, his being a redhead and all. See how it all comes together. There's also a lot of water around Miami. Sure, Manhattan is an island, but there aren't the beaches, just the bridges, and there are plenty of stock footage shots of bridges and tall buildings. But South Florida has water and beaches and the Everglades and ... did I mention hot red and orange? Ahh good.
Now I'm sure you can see how this all differs from the original C.S.I. set in Las Vegas. Obviously, in the city that never sleeps (wait, isn't that NY?), most things happen at night, so it's often dark. Except in Vegas, with all the bright lights, is it ever really night? No clocks allowed and all, you know. It is colorful, though. Saturated with color. But no dominant color, unlike the saturated Miami red and orange sun, which is completely different from the cool and sterile unsaturated NY dinginess. Oh yeah, and Vegas? No water ... other than the artificial pool and casino kind. And the C.S.I. lab in Vegas, very dark. Certainly nowhere near as white and scientifically lablike as in NY.
So see, it's really all about color, and light and dark, but not in any actual interesting way. There once was a time when the TV networks would try to copy successful shows and fail miserably because everyone knew that these series were copies and not as good or original. (Remember all the Friends wannabes in the years after that show started?) But I guess some time ago, Dick Wolf and NBC discovered that you didn't really need to go to so much trouble. Just take basically the same show, change the theme music slightly, give it a very small shift in focus and let it share the moniker of its superior original, and year's later you can have four Law & Order series (another is also due this fall).
CBS is just following suit, being only slightly lazier by shifting not much more than locale and color scheme. But hey, when you can fool all the people all of the time and end up with that many hits, why take a risk with anything else.