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DVD Review: CSI- THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON

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PHOTOGRAPHY

CSI- THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 23 episodes (in 1.78: 1 anamophic widescreen) on 6 discs (16 hours and 34 min), audio commentaries on 7 episodes, 4 part featurette showing the evolution of episode 414 from Script to Completion

STUDIO: PARAMOUNT/ CBS

DISC ONE:

ASSUME NOTHING (402), ALL FOR OUR COUNTRY (403), HOMEBODIES (401), FEELING THE HEAT (405)

DISC TWO:

FUR AND LOATHING (406), JACKPOT (407), INVISIBLE EVIDENCE (404), AFTER THE SHOW (408)

DISC THREE:

GRISSOM VERSUS THE VOLCANO (409), COMING OF RAGE (410), EELEVEN ANGRY JURORS (411), BUTTERFLIED (412)

DISC FOUR:

SUCKERS (414), PAPER OR PLASTIC (413), EARLY ROLLOUT (415), GETTING OFF (416)

DISC FIVE:

XX (417), BAD TO THE BONE (418), BAD WORDS (419), DEAD RINGER (420)

DISC SIX:

TURN OF THE SCREWS (421), NO MORE BETS (422), BLOODLINES (423)

ANALYSIS: CSI- CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION appealed to the viewers due to the way it went about showing the evidence being collected and analyzed to solve the crimes. Season 4 provided new cases and dwelled into the personal lives of the characters. Ultimately, the actors are the glue that holds everything together including good scripts.

I liked how they developed Sarah from her unrequited love for Grissom (and Grissom even admits (in a way) that he was afraid to take a chance at the end of BUTTERFLIED) to her drinking problem. The B plot with Vampires was more interesting than the A plot in SUCKERS . FUR AND LOATHING has to be one of the weirdest and most fun episodes of the show while JACKPOT is a chance to get Grissom away from Las Vegas to do a case on his own in Jackpot, Nevada.

VIDEO/ AUDIO: The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The colors and blacks match what is seen if you watched CSI on TV. The picture is good for the most part, but some grain is present and the episode SUCKERS is a little blurry.

COMMENTARIES: Season 4 has 7 episode commentaries with various writers and producers. They aren't the best commentary tracks (but some people work better on a commentary than others) that yet sometime reveal some little production info and trivia about the episodes (that have a commentary), but it does seem like they are watching the episodes too much instead of giving more commentary on the episodes. It is revealed on the commentary track for JACKPOT that Jackpot, Nevada had some major fires after they finished shooting there and lots of the stuff around the town was burned up. One scene in INVISIBLE EVIDENCE was changed to the police station due to time constraints. THE BUTTERFLIED commentary mentions an actress who looked like Jorja (that auditioned for another episode), when Jorja met her doppleganger, digital flies, the big bathroom designed for optimal shooting, and other production details including a thought of doing a real time episode.

I do wish some of the cast members were involved with the commentary tracks. The commentary tracks do point out how much of their research is based on real things. They get the details right and talk to actual CSIs.

Commentaries are featured on ASSUME NOTHING (Anthony E. Zuiker and Carol Mendelsohn), HOMEBODIES (Naren Shankar and Ken Fink), FEELING THE HEAT (Anthony E. Zuiker and Eli Talbert), JACKPOT (Danny cannon and Naren Shankar), INVISIBLE EVIDENCE (Danny cannon and Josh Berman), BUTTERFLIED (Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, Richard J. Lewis, and David Rambo), BAD TO THE BONE (Eli Talbert).

OTHER SPECIAL FEATURES: Other than commentaries, the other extra on these DVDs is a 4 part featurette that follows the Evolution of episode 414, SUCKERS, from Script to Completion. Interviews with writer/director/producer Danny Cannon, writer Josh Berman, producer Carol Mendelsohn, and various members of the cast.

Script (6 minutes) discusses how the script came together, and every episode has an A story and a B story. You see behind the scenes footage of the writer's room and see an episode outline on a white board. SUCKERS took 4 days to write after the breakdown was completed.

Pre-Production (about 15 minutes) shows footage from production meetings and the process in getting an episode ready to shoot (including sets being built). The various departments have from 8 days to 2 weeks to get things ready once they see the script. Three episodes are being worked on at the same time in various stages.

Production (almost 19 minutes) reveals the show shoots in Vegas while everyone goes about their business. They couldn't pay them enough to shut things down and the shoot is constantly moving while part of an episode is filmed in Vegas. You see a strip club being dressed up for an episode to double as a blood bar and behind-the-scenes footage of the strip club being filmed.

Post-Production (about 10 1/2 minutes) shows Danny Cannon telling people what he wants in the editing room and during the mixing stage. Each CSI episode is mixed in 5 to 6 days.

MENUS: Nice interactive menus showing the work that CSI do.

PACKAGING: It is interesting to see the packaging be like a thick file opened up to reveal a stacked book-like case for the discs. The back of the file design has the tell tale sign of fingerprints. However the opening of the file to reveal the discs is wanting. Maybe they should go with slim cases for each disc (and have each DVD sleeve look like a file). This all slides into a slipcase.

FINAL ANALYSIS: If you're a fan, you can enjoy these episodes again and again (without any ad interruption). CSI (CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION)- THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON shows that Paramount has done a great job with the DVD set. Now only if they could get the cast involved in the commentaries, then this set would be closer to perfection. Maybe next time.

this review is (c)10-6-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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