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C.S.I.
The Seventh Season

review by Zach B.

 

 

Running Time: 1044 minutes

Starring: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, Louise Lombard, Paul Guilfoyle 

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $89.99

Features: Audio Commentaries, Inside "Built to Kill", Miniature Murders, Who Are You? Inside "Living Legend", Las Vegas: The Real Crime Solvers, The Evolution of C.S.I. Season 7, Smoke & Mirrors: Directing Feature Television

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, Episode Selection, Chapter Stops (6 per episode), Seven-Disc Set

Released: November 20th, 2007

 

 

All the seventh season episodes of "C.S.I." are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen.  The show's highly filtered look comes across quite well on DVD, with bold and vibrant color saturation that really stands out, and doesn't smear (check out the season opener, featuring Cirque du Solei). Fleshtones are accurate, and detail is excellent too. Edge halos and noise are apparent, but aren't too bard nor are they distracting. However, some of the show's more darkly lit scenes can appear a bit muted and even a bit washed out. In all though, these are great transfers that capture the show's stylized visual look. 

 

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are good too, with fine dynamic range and fidelity. Subwoofer use isn't extensive, but does get some use here and there through this season. Sound effects seem to use the front channels more than the rears, but there are still some decent surround effects - particuarly with some of the gruesome murders, and action that goes along with the investigations. The surrounds aren't terribly discrete, but your speakers sure will pop. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear, while the show's musical selections are mixed through the channels well, but with not as much fanfare as I expected. In all though, these are mixes that fit well with what's on screen. 

Spanish Dolby Surround tracks are available on the episodes too, and English closed captions are available through your TV set.

 

Spread across the first six disc are seven Audio Commentaries: "Built To Kill, Part 1" featuring Naren Shankar and Ken Fink; "Fannysmackin'" featuring Richard Lewis and Dustin Lee Abraham; "Living Legend" featuring Martha Coolidge and Matthew Mungle; "Sweet Jane" featuring Naren Shankar and Ken Fink; "Law Of Gravity" featuring Carol Mendelsohn, Richard Catalani and Richard Lewis; and "Lab Rats (aka While The Cat's Away)" featuring Brad Tanenbaum, Sara Goldfinger, Wallace Langham, Jon Wellner, Liz Vassey, Sherri Rappaport and Archie Kao. 

I only listened to snippets of some of these commentaries, and based on what I heard, they're pretty decent. The directors, producers and writers offer production anecdotes and how they went about shooting the episodes they discussed (I didn't realize how much green screen this show uses). These commentaries seem to be a bit on the dry side, as things are pretty technical and straightforward. But casual fans of the series should enjoy them, and I'm sure die-hard fans of "C.S.I." will eat these up.

Disc 7 has all the video-based supplements. First up, running an even 9 minutes is Inside "Built To Kill". This focuses on the two-part season opener, which involved the talents of the Cirque du Solei production of "Ka." Cast and crew from the TV show and stage show give their thoughts on this unique partnership. It is very interesting how the two productions worked together, and if anything, it's a good plug to see "Ka" if you go to Vegas. 

Lasting nearly 14 minutes is Miniature Murders, giving some light onto the seventh season plot thread concerning the Miniature Killer. Cast and crew talk about the appeal of miniatures, but most of this piece focuses on the creation of the actual miniature models made for the show (as used by the Miniature Killer). It's a pretty time-cosuming process to make these models, let alone all the planning and details that need to go into them. Judging by the final results though, it was a job well done. This is well-produced, and a must watch for fans of the series. 

Who Are You? Inside "Living Legend" lasts about 15 minutes, and goes in-depth into the making of another of the series' unique episodes, and the varied and intense make-up jobs involved to bring this episode to life. It is is pretty fascinating. Running a bit over 18 minutes is Las Vegas: The Real Crime Solvers, where we get to meet the actual C.S.I. of Las Vegas, at the Clark County crime lab. Those who love to hear the inspiration behind a concept, as well as how much of it stacks up to what's on screen will thoroughly enjoy this. Here up close, with tour guide Robert David Hall, we meet various people at the lab and they give heavy examples of what they do on a daily basis. Well-edited and informative, this is not only entertaining, but quite educational too.

Evolution of C.S.I. Season 7 is a 26 minute run-through of key episodes of the season, as explained by the cast and crew - and how these episodes put the series, as well as its characters, in more bold (and better developed) directions. Last but not least is is the 16-and-a-half minute Smoke & Mirrors: Directing Feature Television. Here, the show's various directors explain how they've really polished the show's look over the past few years, and how its visual qualities do rival that of feature films. Also discussed is the technical challenges of shooting episodic television, particuarly time constraints and tricky lighting. It's clear everyone here is passionate about their work and they all work very hard, but when talking about certain shooting styles, I have to say some of these comments were a bit obvious. Still, I'd say it is worth a gander.

Also included inside the box is a demo of the PC game based on the show.

 

Fans of "C.S.I." will most definitely want to pick up this seventh season set: not just for the famed plotlines and a big-name guest star (Liev Schrieber!), but for the quality supplements, and fine presentations of the episodes. This is a worthy investment of pop entertainment, so get those gloves on and enjoy.