The Slow and Painful Death of CSI Cyber
I really, really want to like CSI: Cyber. It came with such promise, the spiritual and physical successor to the original CSI Las Vegas series, it got a good push with a premiere inside the original series, and Patricia Arquette came off as smart and sassy and knowledgeable in the Kitty episode that was perhaps the highlight of that entire CSI season. Then the long delay before a horrible mid-season debut that was delayed for many, and CSI Cyber was off to a rocky start – but I could live with it.
I reviewed CSI Cyber season 1, and there was good and bad. But overall, I liked the show and I could see where this could be very interesting, adding a tech spin to crimes and perhaps educating people a bit to how their phones, devices, and even home internet could be used against them in crimes. I liked most of the show, except perhaps for the forced car chase scenes and the dumb-sh-t looks from Raven Ramirez. Sadly, both of those are still part of the show, but that is not the big end of what is plaguing this show.
Season 2 actually got off to a pretty good start, show wise, with the first couple of episodes touching on things like online dating and the creeps that can hang out there. The tech stuff wasn’t bad, a little bit too muh “magic tracking” and whatnot, but not bad. But it also started a romance between two characters, and started what I consider a horrible trend in these sorts of shows, excessive character development. The original CSI series managed to keep from overdoing it on the character development until season 3 or 4, but Cyber is right in there with divorce, romance, death, legal issues… all of them actually take away from the main core of the show and make it harder to watch.
Ted Danson as DB Russell has been a very positive improvement to the show, which has a lot less of the arguing with the bosses angle to it and a lot more of th classic CSI taking picrures and working a crime scene. The show would likely do even better with a bit more crime scene in it, perhaps one more person working with Russell and one less cybernaut (like, let’s lose Raven and her dumb looks). That way they could investigate from more than one angle, and we wouldn’t be treated to the weekly smart phone recovery scene. There are only so many tech ways to skin the cat, it seems.
The ratings are where the problems really show. Last seasons 8 million plus viewers per episode was just about enough to keep the show on the air, but this season the numbers are more like 6 million, and not really going anywhere. A little pickup at time to time in the younger demographic, but generally the consistent 6 million. It will be interesting to see if those numbers improve once the NFL season is done, considering that they are competing in many ways for the same eyeballs.
I want this show to do well, I really enjoy it. Yet, I found myself half way through Shades of Grey turning off the video and going on to other things, as they once again found a personal angle for a cast member. These people seem to be involved somehow personally in every crime, every event. Can we not just have some normal dead bodies and hacker attacks without having family members put in the line of fire every episode? Lazy script writers I guess, it’s the easy way to create personal development, but it also takes away heavily from the show.
The chances for CSI Cyber to get renewed for season 3 are slim and fading, only a solid turn around in the next couple of months will save the show and the franchise from death.
UPDATE: Only a couple of days after I wrote this story, CBS announced that Elementary was moving to Sunday night, and that CSI Cyber effectively was left without a real time slot. They get a couple more episodes on a Wednesday night before a mid season launch of another new series, and after that they are sort of high and dry. While the show runners are trying to sound optimistic (and are completing all of the shows as CBS has pretty much paid for them), it’s looking very unlikely that Cyber will season Season 3, except perhaps as a summer replacement or something held in reserve for when another new series fails worse. Otherwise, it looks like the CSI franchise will end somewhere around February 2016.