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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Murder > Crime > Military > Terrorism > TV > NCIS: Los Angeles – The First Season (CBS Blu-ray Set) + CSI – The Tenth Season + CSI: NY – The Sixth Season (all 2009 – 2010/CBS DVD Sets)

NCIS: Los Angeles – The First Season (CBS Blu-ray Set) + CSI – The Tenth Season + CSI: NY – The Sixth Season (all 2009 – 2010/CBS DVD Sets)


Picture: B/C+/C+     Sound: B/B-/B-     Extras: C     Episodes: C+/C+/C



More CBS multiple series action franchises have arrived on video and once again, it includes a Blu-ray.  We look at three titles this time, none of which I have commented on before.  I was not a fan of the original NCIS, as this review for The Sixth Season will show:





The new show breaks the pattern of hiring a more experienced actor lead and the first NCIS spin-off, NCIS: Los Angeles – The First Season uses a crossover to launch this show co-starring LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell (making his slow comeback) as undercover cops along with Linda Hunt as their OPS manager.  It is a decent set-up with more life to it than the previous series, most of the CSI series and is even better (though maybe designed to mirror) the awkward CBS revival of Hawaii 5-0.  The show eventually falls into its own formula in the 24 hour-long shows presented here over 5 Blu-ray discs.


It is a stronger production than most of its kind and they are putting the money into it, but I just wish the writing was better as the cast is more likable than usual.  In the meantime, our coverage of the CSI franchise has been mostly of the Miami spin-off on DVD for whatever reason, as the following links will show:











Seven w/CSI: Season Nine Blu-ray




It has literally been years since I addressed the show and sadly, William Petersen (the star and creator of the original show) left, so where does that leave the series?  Laurence Fishburne has been more than up to the job of succeeding Petersen and Marg Helgenberger is better here than she may be getting credit for, but it and its New York companion (which is weaker) are the kind of slick shows that are interesting when you watch, but are forgotten when you turn them off and that was never the case with the best such shows a few decades ago.


The use and abuse of certain technology is never questioned because the characters are all considered good and unquestionable, which is typical of a Jerry Bruckheimer production and that is beyond tired.  The same goes for CSI: NY, which has a good combination in Gary Sinise and Melinda Kanakaredes, but this spin-off is flatter and I never bought its gritty street side.  Again, I like the actors, but the material is rarely interesting beyond an amusing distraction.  At this point of this franchise overall, the shows are for fans only, yet somehow hang in there in popularity, but for how much longer, who knows.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on NCIS is a big surprise, especially for an HD shoot.  Motion blur is limited and the show is not only using the older Panavision Genesis camera that is only so good, but the have added the Arri ALEXA camera and that seems to make a difference.  Color is still somewhat manipulated and the editing of sound and image is the “hit-you-over-the-head” type that gets tiresome quickly, but the performance here is better than most current TV-on-Blu-ray we have seen to date.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the CSI DVDs both offer some good shots, but they are undermined by a combination of soft shots, softening by the style of the show, including out of focus shots and digital effects.  Ultimately, the shows should look better and they do not.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 on NCIS is also impressive with very good recording for a current dramatic TV series of any kind and soundfields throughout that do not compromise or cheat the viewer.  No, this is not the best it could be, but is as strong as any current TV show we have heard on Blu-ray.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the CSI DVDs are better than any of the Dolby 2.0 Stereo options and are the default highlights in both sets, but that cannot make the episodes more interesting.  Oh, and enough Who music already.


Extras on the NCIS Blu-ray include BD Live interactive features, five making of featurettes, an LL Cool J Music Video, CBS Promos, spin-off episode from NCIS – Season Six and audio commentary by Shane Brennan on the first episode here, Identity.  The CSI DVDs add two commentary tracks each on two select episodes each and a set of behind the scenes featurettes (five on CSI, seven on CSI: NY) and crossover episodes that promote each spin-off (or if you want to be cynical, force those who get caught up in one show to watch the others).  Note that CSI: Miami is in the mix, but as far as crossover episodes throughout TV history, the best classic cases have nothing to worry about.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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