Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blog DVD Review - CSI: NY - The Fourth Season

Start spreading the news, we're bringing you another weekly Blog DVD Review! Today we look at CBS DVD/Paramount's CSI: NY - The Fourth Season. CSI: NY, the third incarnation of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise and the spin-off of CSI: Miami, is a crime drama about forensic investigators who use high-tech science to follow the evidence and solve crimes in The Big Apple. See my Blog DVD review of CSI: NY - The Fourth Season:

CSI: NY - The Fourth Season

CSI: NY - The Fourth Season (CBS DVD/Paramount, $79.99) - The evidence never lies. In this 21-episode collection of CSI: NY - The Fourth Season, Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and his brilliant team - Stella (Melina Kanakaredes), Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo), Sheldon (Hill Harper), Lindsay (Anna Belknap), and Flack (Eddie Cahill) - get their game on when the clues in a woman's murder lead them to one of the web's most addictive virtual worlds. And as murders in Times Square, Central Park, and even on the Statue of Liberty test their mettle, the whole team battles Mac's nemesis, the mysterious 333 Stalker.

This 6-disc set contains all 21 episodes of the fourth (2007-08) season. The episodes are presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or Spanish Stereo. It has a total running time of approximately 14 hours, 45 minutes. Notable season 4 guest stars included Mykleti Williamson, Robert Picardo, Bruce Dern, Arye Gross, Keri Lynn Pratt and Adam Baldwin. Packaging is very attractive as usual. The embossed, holofoil outer slipcase feaures a photo of Melina Kanakaredes and Gary Sinise and the show logo. Unlike previous seasons where they used a Digipak book format inside the box, this time they use three slimcases. CSI: Miami also switched to this format, but the original CSI continues to use the book format. The slimcases have black edges and feature a photo of the cast that is based on "Lunch Atop at Skyscraper" photographed in 1932 by Charles C. Ebbets. It has Anna Belknap, Carmine Giovinazzo, Gary Sinise and Melina Kanakaredes on the front and Eddie Cahill, Hill Harper, Robert Joy and A.J. Buckley on the back cover. On the back of the slimcases, the episode titles and special features are listed by disc. Inside the slimcases, there is just blank black space. It would have been nice to see more photos here. The discs are very plain looking with a silver background and the CSI: NY logo.

Once again, the menus are very stylish and easy to navigate. A series of video clips leads to the animated anamorphic widescreen menus. Some of composer Bill Brown's great music is played in the background. At the bottom of the screen, there are options for "Episode Selection," "Set Up," and "Previews" (only on disc 1). The featurettes are also listed on their respective disc. There is no notation on the menus of which episodes have audio commentaries. You have to select an episode and play the commentary from there. On the Set Up Menu, you can choose either the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or EspaƱol. Closed captioning is available for all of the episodes. As you would expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is outstanding. Like all of the other CSI shows, it is incredbily well shot and lit. While most of it is shot in Los Angeles, the exterior shots of the city really enhance the show. They even occasionally shoot some scenes on location in New York. The episodes are presented in the order of their original airdates. Quite a bit of a music is used in the series. Fortunately, there is nothing on the packaging to indicate that any of it had to be replaced. They changed the opening this season to a remixed version of Baba O'Reilly by The Who. I think they should have stuck to the original. The running times vary greatly from 40 to 43 minutes in length, but that is how they originally aired.

The amount and variety of the special features is a little disappointing compared to the prior releases. There were 4 audio commentaries on the third season release, but we only get 1 on this set by CSI franchise creator Anthony E. Zuiker. There are four featurettes that are spread out on discs 2, 5 and 6. Discs 1, 3 and 4 feature only the episodes. Here is the breakdown by disc:

Disc 2
Audio Commentary on "Down the Rabbit Hole" by CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker - He talks about the origin and inspiration for this episode that deals with the Second Life virtual world. This is a pretty good commentary, but it could have benefited by having some of the people that created that the animation on it. Some of the information he discusses overlaps with the featurette.

Art Imitates Second Life (15:25) - This featurette includes interviews with Anthony E. Zuiker, Hill Harper, Writer Sam Humphrey, Carmine Giovinazzo, Frank Dellario - Director of Machinima Production - Electric Sheep-IllClan, A.J. Buckley, Gary Sinise, Anna Belknap, Eddie Cahill, Executive Producer/Writer Peter M. Lenkov, Sunny Cerchie - Lead Creative - Electric Sheep, Matt Dominianni - Machinima Director - Electric Sheep-IllClan, Jason Cerchie - Art Director - Electric Sheep, Kerria Seabrooke - Machinima Director - Electric Sheep-IllClan. It focuses on the "Down the Rabbit Hole" episode, which dealt with the CSI team entering a virtual world called Second Life to solve a real case. It's interesting that most of the cast had no idea about Second Life or virtual worlds. They give a good summary about the basic premise and how they do the avatars and animation. A huge amount of people signed up for the CSI virtual world after this episode aired. I'm not an online gamer, but I can see the appeal for others.

Dante's Infernal Episode (10:05) - This featurette includes interviews with Gary Sinise, Melina Kanakaredes, Executive Producer/Writer Peter M. Lenkov, Writer Daniele Nathanson, Director Joe Dante, Anna Belknap, and Department Head Make-Up Perri Sorel. It focuses on the episode "Boo." This was really their first Halloween/zombie episode. It aired on Halloween night. They talk about the A and B storylines, working with Director Joe Dante, casting the zombies and doing the make-up. It was nice to see Joe Dante again. I'm a big fan of his movies like Gremlins and The 'Burbs.

Disc 5
Art Attack (4:12) - This featurette includes interviews with Production Designer Vaughan Edwards, Executive Producer Pam Veasey and Artist Clemente Bornacelli. The artwork was seen in the episode "Right Next Door." They talk a little bit why the paintings were chosen and how they picked the style and colors. Unfortunately, the paintings were barely seen in the actual episode, but you can get a closer look here.

Disc 6
Cutting To The Core: Season 4 In The Big Apple (13:33) - This featurette includes interviews with Gary Sinise, Anna Belknap, Executive Producer Peter L. Lenkov, Hill Harper, Eddie Cahill, Executive Producer Pam Veasey, Production Designer Vaughan Edwards, Carmine Giovinazzo, Melina Kanakaredes and Eddie Cahill. This provides a good summary of some of the highlights of the fourth season. They discuss the opening of the season at the Statue of Liberty and how they built the sets for it. They talk about the character's personal lives this season and Mac Taylor's 333 storyline. Stella's relationships, Danny and Lindsay's developing relationship, Danny's guilt over Ruben's death, Danny and Sheldon's friendship, and Det. Flack and Det. Angel's blooming relationship are also discussed. Finally, they talk a little about the taxicab/serial killer storyline and some of the other story arcs.

Previews - Over 5 minutes worth of previews for other CBS DVD releases are found on disc 1.

Another very good season of CSI: NY. Some memorable episodes this season included Can You Hear Me Now?, One Wedding and a Funeral, The Thing About Heroes, Child's Play, Admissions, and Personal Foul. I like how they followed the lead of the original CSI with some story arcs that stretched out over multiple episodes. This isn't strictly a procedural show. It has dropped in the total amount of viewers since the first couple of seasons, but it's still a dependable hit and wins its timeslot easily.

It's a little disappointing that the amount of special features and audio commentaries continue to drop from release to release. They weren't affected by the writers' strike as some of the other dramas, so they produced around the same amount of episodes as they usually do every year. Hopefully we will see some more multiple episode story arcs this season. It will be interesting to see how they delve further into the character's personal lives and their relationships in upcoming episodes.

-- Reviewed by Todd
(4/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
CBS.com Website
CSI: NY TV.com Page
CSI: NY IMDB.com Page

Tune in tomorrow as we conclude our CSI franchise review odyssey with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eighth Season. We'll also have our regular weekly ratings analysis.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, March 29

The Conners - "Stuck in the Middle and Stuck in the Past" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Darlene and Ben get into a fight and ignore Becky’s boundaries in the house. Elsewhere, Dan accuses Jackie of losing all of their home videos.

The Conners - "New Pipes and Old Secrets" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Darlene has issues with Dan’s plumbing work in her new house. Elsewhere, Jackie tries to find a caregiver for Bev.

Abbott Elementary - "Fundraiser" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Barbara organizes a candy-selling fundraiser to raise money for a school field trip to the science museum. When sales don’t go as planned, Ava steps in to teach the students new, unconventional selling tactics. Elsewhere, Mr. Johnson and Jacob butt heads about how to take care of a cat found in the janitor’s closet.

Not Dead Yet - "Not a Tiger Yet" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
As Nell tries to settle into her new job, she gets increasingly annoyed by her latest ghost. Meanwhile, Edward works on a project that sparks Nell’s journalistic curiosity.

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - "Just Payne Trippin" (BET, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The family has trouble adjusting to Jazmine's new found independence. Miranda gets an offer that Calvin would like for her to refuse.

Tyler Perry's Assisted Living - "Houston, We Have a Karen" (BET, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When an old white woman moves into Pleasant Days, her Karen behavior throws everyone for a loop; Reginald fears an escaped convict he put in prison has plans to take revenge.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 27)

Wednesday, March 29

  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/George and Leo/Chicago Sons/Simon/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move/Silver Spoons) - Watch Jason on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ali Wong (Big Mouth/American Housewife/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Ali appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. He talks about taking his impressions to the next level in the new film Spinning Gold on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Adam Scott (Party Down/Ghosted/Parks and Recreation) - Adam will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever/Final Space) - Fred sits-in with the 8G Band on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • John Leguizamo (The Brothers Garcia) - John guest hosts Comedy Central's The Daily Show at 11pm.
  • Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso) - Brendan is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Ali Wentworth (Nightcap) - Ali guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Juliette Lewis (Camping/I Married Dora) - Juliette appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Dwayne Johnson (Young Rock) - Dwayne is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Fields (The Upshaws/Living Single/The Facts of Life/Baby, I'm Back) - Kim chats about the new season of the hit comedy The Upshaws on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Judy Gold (All-American Girl) and BD Wong (All-American Girl) - Judy and BD discuss their new play Yes, I Can Say That! on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Zach Braff (Scrubs/Alex, Inc.) - Zach Braff is telling Drew about the real-life inspiration behind his new film, working on it with Florence Pugh and why he got his pilot's license on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jason Ritter (Another Period/The Class) - Jason will be on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Reba McEntire (Reba/Malibu Country) - Reba is a guest on The Jennifer Hudson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Alex Borstein (Family Guy/Getting On/The Cleveland Show), Tony Shalhoub (We Are Men/Wings) and Marin Hinkle (Two and a Half Men/Speechless) - Alex, Tony and Marin talk about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on CBS Mornings sometime between 7-9am.
  • Lena Waithe (Master on None) - Lena talks about A Thousand and One on CBS Mornings sometime between 7-9am and on Sherri, so check your local listings.
  • Paula Newsome (Barry/Conrad Bloom) - Paula chats about CSI: Vegas on Sherri, so check your local listings.
  • Nancy Travis (Last Man Standing/The Bill Engvall Show/Work with Me/Almost Perfect) - Nancy talks about Hallmark Channel's Ride on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Gabriel Basso (The Big C) - Gabriel talks about Netflix's The Night Agent on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Kyra Sedgwick (Call Your Mother) - Kyra talks about Space Oddity on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
  • Peyton Elizabeth Lee (Andi Mack) - Peyton will be on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 9:40am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November-March)

Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Ghosts - Season One Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Ten Growing Pains - The Complete Series

11/08 - Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/08 - Young Rock - Season Two (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/15 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Seven / The Complete Season Eight
11/22 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/29 - Ghosts - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
12/06 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Christmas Collection
12/13 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season
12/13 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/03 - Andy Richter Controls the Universe - The Complete Series (2023 Release)
01/27 - Master of None - Season Three / The Complete Series
02/21 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Nine / The Complete Season Ten
02/28 - Growing Pains - The Complete Series
03/28 - Rick and Morty - Season 8 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
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