For fans of the CSI franchise (and you can tell I am one of those fans), the apparent end of the original CSI comes with a consolation prize in the form of CSI: Cyber. There is plenty for fans to look forward to, but will this series face an unhappy comparison to the original series it is so quickly replacing?
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (the original Vegas based series) took a while to get it’s sea legs. In fact, within the first three or four episodes we got to see an incredible dance as key players changed jobs (Capt Brass “ran the lab”, as an example) and the series sort of got itself sorted out. The Who based theme music didn’t even come until about the 7th or 8th episode, you can see and hear one version of the original here (from the CTV Canadian release):
Anyway, the original CSI took a good chunk of the first season to really jel and turn into something, which means about a dozen or so episodes into the first year. The problem for CSI: Cyber is twofold, they are starting mid season when people already have their viewing habits more or less set, and they only have about a half a seasons worth of episodes as a make or break for this new franchise.
Moreover, the traditional feeder episode for the new series called Kitty ran in the original CSI but in the previous season, not the current one. In all honestly, it was probably one of the better episodes from season 14, at least in regard to breaking away from some of the tired step by step that CSI fell into, but it’s been a while and it’s hard to be sure that people will truly remember. They will also face the reality of breaking in an entirely new cast mid season, with no past favorites to pad things out (at least from what has been revealed so far). As a mid season replacement, they don’t really have time to find out if they have screwed up, they are very likely stuck with their cast and concept at least for the first 8 to 10 episodes (because they are shooting ahead).
There is plenty of good news however, Carol Mendelsohn, who ran the original CSI show is here at least to get this one started. There is great potential that the new canvas and new cast of characters can spur her to bring the CSI franchise back to it’s former glory. At the same time Patricia Arquette certainly has a commanding presence on the screen and should with some hope be able to carry a cast which appears to be (like the original CSI) a collection of players with mixed acting pasts. Hopefully they can also manage to handle the technical mumbo jumbo of doing what is a technology / web / darknet / deepnet based who without getting it so wrong as to have 4chan howling at them. The good news if that if the standard of the Kitty episode is kept up, then this should be an interesting ride. They are clearly not limited by location, which means there is potential for them to run into “old friends” from the other CSI shows as special guests in the future as well, which could be interesting.
The debut of CSI Cyber is March 4th. Yes, they are getting a better time slot than CSI Las Vegas was left to die at (that slot is given to the opposites attract cop show Battle Creek). Expectations in that time slot for Cyber should run about 12 to 14 million viewers, much less than that would be disappointing when you consider that on a Tuesday night the original CSI series pulling in nearly 11 million, even when it was not their normal scheduled night. It will be interesting to see if the show can keep the Kitty intensity without getting bogged down in often dull character back stories.
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