It’s the end of May and most of my favorite shows are winding up for the season. I would be depressed about this except networks recently figured out that people don’t take a break from the tube in the summer anymore, so they often bring out Summer Only Shows around June or so. I can’t wait until The Closer starts up again.
Anyway, the finales are supposed to be the pinnacle of the season, beating out sweeps weeks and premiers and everything else. However, not all finales stack up. In this edition of the TV Corner, I’m covering:
- CSI: NY
And I am including spoilers. Thus, the cut.
About two years ago I started watching CSI on accident. Yes, accident! I used to be a Law & Order girl and rarely paid attention to other police procedurals. Especially gimmicky ones. The whole idea of CSI seemed dumb to me – the forensics people don’t solve the crimes, no matter what Jerry Bruckheimer says. I still feel this way, but catching bits of episodes over the course of several months convinced me that I should try watching one whole episode. After that, I was doomed.
This season was a pretty good one. There were several missteps (which I’ll elaborate on later in the summer) but the season arc about the “Miniature Killer” was interesting and seemed destined for a spectacular finish.
Yeah… not so much.
The miniature killer is just about the least interesting serial killer I’ve ever seen on TV. They tried hard to make her interesting — the ‘her’ part of that being a major point. Nearly every identified serial killer is male, so to have a female is a Big Deal in law enforcement circles. However, her femaleness doesn’t make her interesting. Her ability to remember every detail of a room she’s only been in once is even less interesting. One of the cool things about the miniatures, I thought, was that they indicated an obsessive person. A person who might spend hours, days, weeks in a room in order to create the perfect replica. As it is, she just remembered everything in the room and made a model. Boring!
This episode fell flat on several other counts. Many times crimes are solved because the CSIs are damn smart people. They see things that others overlook, they put evidence together like a jigsaw puzzle to create a full picture. Coincidence and randomness doesn’t often come into play. (It did once, in a really well-written episode about how they often try too hard to assign meaning to things.) In the season finale, the miniature killer randomly leaves a fingerprint though she’s never, ever done that before. And the crime scene where they find her fingerprint has absolutely nothing to do with her at all (except that the dead guy is her foster brother). Essentially, the CSI team doesn’t really figure it all out, the perp got careless and fate handed them a clue. How lame is that?
The great OMG!Shock in this episode is that Grissom reveals, in a random, offhand way, that he and Sarah are in a serious relationship. This was supposed to be a huge deal, and I suppose we’ll see more repercussions from it next season, but in this episode it took up 2.5 minutes of screen time. I mean, yeah, it was awesome to see the reaction shots of the team when Grissom calls Sarah the only person he ever loved… but then no one talks about it! Lame.
May I also say that season finale cliffhangers are so, so done. Really. I don’t like them, I don’t know anyone who likes them, and if show creators feel that their shows suck so much that they have to trick people into watching next season, well… what does that say about the show? I honestly don’t care about Sarah under the car in the desert. I know she’ll be saved unless the actress decides she’s done with the creators handing her bullshit lines and character motivations each week. Even if she won’t be saved, I’d rather wonder how that will affect Grissom next season than wonder how they’re going to find her.
In other words, the CSI season finale was a huge bust. Next!
The only reason I watch this show is that sometimes I am bored and CBS lets you stream shows on their website. Having no actual cable, I have to take what I can get. I started watching last November. While CSI:NY stretches the premise of forensics people who run around and solve crimes even more than the original CSI, at least they make the CSI people detectives and such in this one. It’s not all that much more plausible, but at least attempts to answer that criticism.
CSI:NY thankfully did not offer up a cliffhanger finale. Instead, we got CSI: Home Alone! The NYPD does a major drug bust, getting millions of dollars of coke away from an Irish mafia group. The Irish mafia does not play around, though. They trick everyone into evacuating the building where the CSI lab is, kidnap some CSIs to draw away the regular police, and then go in to steal back their coke. But our intrepid leads, Gary Sinise and that woman from Providence, along with The Black Guy (Hawkes, who is a fine chocolate brotha), successfully thwart the plan with improvised bombs and other sciencey stuff.
This was one of the better written shows of the season, which isn’t saying much. Some of the plots on this show are really contrived. They also really enjoy bringing in celebrities to play themselves or close approximations of themselves. This rarely makes for good TV. Kid Rock is not known for his acting.
The thing about this episode that bothers me is that it relies on the idea that the NYPD is stupid. If your department brings in millions of dollars of cocaine from a mob organization that is still active, then maybe you should be suspicious when a gas leak mysteriously manifests in the building with the coke. And hey, if cell service is out because of cell tower vandalism and land lines don’t work because of, hey, more vandalism, that should set off alarm bells. Instead, everything hinges on Gary Sinise’s ability to see well through that permanent squint.
Though, I will admit, the shot of him swaggering out of the building looking faintly affected by a bomb blast was kind of sexy.
This is another show I only started watching because I was bored. However, I’ve actually grown to like it a lot. I still chafe against this idea that we need 12,000 crime dramas on television. Couldn’t we just condense them into one? Have a police precinct with a forensic entomologist, a genius mathematician, a southern woman and her big purse, a forensic anthropologist, two FBI agents, one from Behavioral whatever, a psychic, a guy who talks to the victims in his own head, Muntz, a dirty cop, and the zombie of Jerry Orbach?
Getting off topic here.
So, NUMB3RS. Or, the show that stars people from other stuff you’ve seen over the years. This show is usually pretty well-written and interesting. It stretches the premise a bit at times — is that kid from Addams Family Values working on every FBI case? Seems like. Always with the crazy math.
In this episode he gets into some seriously complicated stuff. And I feel really geeky for getting excited about all the seriously complicated stuff. Layer upon layer upon layer with the case, which is how I like my TV.
We also get layer upon layer of character stuff, too. In the previous episode, the guy from Northern Exposure finally broke down and admitted to the dude from Addams Family Values how he felt about him as a kid. The psychiatrist (the guy from Waiting to Exhale) has been pushing him to release these deep-seated resentments before the season finale. Maybe because he knew we’d have a lot of other stuff to deal with.
In this episode, Megan comes back from her secret assignment to the DOJ/maternity ward. She seems a little off. Not the same upbeat, smiling Megan that left us many weeks ago. Motherhood will do that to you. We never do find out what she was doing for the DOJ and why it makes her so sad, but that doesn’t matter because, in the twist to end all twists, we find out that the guy who was in Where the Heart Is turns out to be a spy! He’s been on the show for two years! He’s a trusted member of the team! Served in the armed forces (Afghanistan), comes from a long line of honor and duty types, and he’s a double agent for the Chinese!
Y’all, I couldn’t breathe for fully five minutes. I could not believe that dear sweet sexy hot Colby — I mean, guy from that movie with Natalie Portman — was a complete traitor!
When they send him off to jail, Megan remarks that she doesn’t thinks he can deal with the job anymore. Me and you both, hon!
The only annoying thing is that the episode ends with the same scene every episode ends with: Don and Charlie summing up the moral lessons with their dad, the guy from Taxi and Dear John and Independence Day. They ramble on about the dead guy and how he wanted his life to mean something – blah blah! What about what’s about to go down at the FBI?? The team is all messed up! And every case Colby worked with them is going to be in question. What secrets did he pass on to the Chinese? OMG stop drinking shots!
Still, a good episode.
On the next TV Corner, I’ll talk about the finales of:
- Family Guy
- Reno: 911!