PictureHaving reviewed Season 4 before, there's nothing really different to this season so what was said then, equally holds true. For a TV show, this is superb and is certainly better than some movies I've recently seen. Colours are bright and vivid, no bleed is present and as the stories are set in Vegas, there are some suitably garish neon colours present, which this handles very well. Blacks (as the crew are the night shift) are deep and dark, with plenty of detail as well and during the day scenes, colours are equally fine, with the sunlight never being overly exposed. Artefacts were not noticed while viewing and edge enhancement wasn't noticeable either and neither was any graininess to the image, although I thought that the picture was a tad soft for the most part. Being a TV show, I wouldn't have expected any damage to the print and no surprise, none was present.
SoundComplete with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, this is a reasonably engaging soundtrack, but as it is a TV show, it's not quite up to movie standards. Dialogue is clear and crisp and is never at risk of being drowned out by the rest of the sound stage. The soundstage is mostly music related and gives a nice ambience to the proceedings, with sound effects when needed coming from all sides - although to be fair this is few and far between. As this is a more dialogue heavy series than anything, the soundtrack is considerably more than adequate, but never exceptional.
ExtrasWe have 9 commentary tracks on this set, and although I haven't listened to all of them, they are very similar to commentary tracks that you may have heard on other CSI box sets and as such they either appeal or don't. Myself, they leave me a little cold. So featurette wise, first we have CSI: Season 5 - A Post Mortem, which is a 19:06 minute featurette which dissects certain episodes such as the trans-gender episode (the 100th episode) or the evil artist/rapist. Personally speaking, it was interesting how they felt that they were pushing the envelope constantly and how they explore places that no other shows go. I guess it depends on the individual, but not a single subject mentioned in this, or indeed in the season would I consider something unusual or indeed, edgy - I guess it depends on where your life has taken you, but it's all rather tame. The irony for me was when someone said that every show is different - erm, no it's actually very formulaic and samey as such and my argument that it is beginning to feel that the stories are all too similar.
The Research of CSI - Maintaining The Accuracy is a 10:55 minute featurette which focuses on the research involved in the show. As I've alluded to, they don't get it quite right, but the questions they ask from the examples given are generalised. An example was one where they asked where you'd need to stab someone to kill them instantly - easy enough. My comment is more to do with the actual forensic side of things - although they do admit they take liberties, among one of these is time, so at least they admit it. Even a criminologist who works on the program admits he watches it for entertainment, because the reality is very different - glad to know they're openly admitting it! Favourite comment is that a forensic lab person admits that it lacks humour and that's absolutely spot on, because they have a dry, sardonic sense of humour. I'm sure anyone in the police or related field would completely agree.
CSI: Tarantino Style which runs for 17:33, which explains why he was chosen to be a guest star director, his love of the show, the “Royale with Cheese”-esque scene and so forth. It's a little gushy in parts, not to mention the acknowledgement early on for the Tarantino-isms and pop culture references. I don't think it's particularly fascinating, but it's not a complete waste of time.
CSI: Forensic Procedures On The Scene Vs. On The Screen is an 8 part featurette, where each feature can be played individually or all together. We have scenes for “Spatter Up”, “Photo-Realism”, “Ibis”, “A Star Shaped Wound”, “Printing A Bird Feather”, “Identifying the Treads”, “Giving the Third Degree” and “A Ninhydrin Print”. These featurettes last for 15:42 in total and they are showing the hypothetical scenario from the show, applying a mechanism based in forensics that would test this theory and how this was applied to the show. It's not overly long - each section is short and snappy and it's quite interesting to a point, but some of the science they show (the Feather for instance) is a time cheat, in so far as it couldn't really occur in the real world. Otherwise, most of the instances are factual and reasonably simplistic compared to other possible scenarios in the show or in real life, but otherwise it's ok.
VerdictStill solid entertainment in its own right, but I'm convinced this is running on borrowed time, innovatively speaking. While there's nothing wrong with the show, it is guilty of rehashing earlier seasons, while bringing nothing dynamically new to the table which is a shame. Even the use of a guest-director for the end of season finale seems to be forced, as if they knew the backlash could start. Maybe it's due to milking the concept dry with 2 spin-offs and focusing energy there, rather than the show that brought them to the dance, but I'll recommend this as entertainment, but if it doesn't, I'm sure the backlash may start.
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