CSI Las Vegas Sputters Into Season 15
Up front, I have to admit that I am a big fan of the original CSI series. While I wouldn’t say I am one of the biggest fans or anything like that, I have been a faithful watcher as the series has progressed through it’s many twists and turns, cast changes and soap opera melodramas, and even the totally silly Gilbert / Sara romance (GSR) story arc. I even tolerated the Langston seasons, horrible as they were, hoping to find the light at the other end of the tunnel. That light was Sam the bartender from Cheers, better known as Ted Danson. The series managed a very strong recovery from that point.
As CSI moves into it’s 15th year, it seems pretty clear however that this procedural show has once again lost it’s way. Some might suggest the loss of Captain Jim Brass, one of only a few remaining cast members is the problem, but really, that isn’t it. Having watched the season premiere, I have realizes that the show faces much more serious challenges.
Season 15 was one of the first to start without a real cliff hanger. Season 14 ended with Brass saying goodbye in his own way, so this year they get to start with a very clean slate. No hold overs, nothing dangling over their head, no charges, no CSI near death situations, nobody buried or in jail. So what do we get? Finlay in a car with a bomb. Is that the best they could do? That was the moment that I realized that the real problem isn’t characters, it isn’t setting, or anything like that. It’s the simple problem that the writers are trying hard to outdo themselves and create drama, but to do so they are going back to the same lame bag of tricks that makes season ending cliff hangers so annoying.
Quick rundown of the season 15 premiere elements tells you everything: CSI death risk, serial killer, past case, personal history, sleazy lover, repeating crime scene symbols, and… TWINS SEPARATED AT BIRTH. Do they just put a whole bunch of things on the wall and throw darts at it?
I understand the deal. The writers are trying hard to create new story arcs for the season, a longer one of Finlay’s “romance” (if that is what you call banging in the back seat of a car in public), a medium one of the Gig Harbor Killer, and so on. Perhaps I have been watching too long, and my CSI skills are honed enough to spot the obvious, and the season 15 opening is as obvious as they can get. Pure paint by number stuff, so much show that I stopped the DVR a few times and went on to watch other stuff, as the CSI episode was just way too obvious and painful.
True fans of the series are likely shocked to see it make 15 years. Miami and New York have come and gone, Cyber is coming, and yet the flagship still sails on. But there is an ill wind, a rocky shore, and a helmsman apparently using out of date charts to sail this ship. Season 16 doesn’t look like a given at all.