TV Roundup: Night One

Those of you without television, or without an addiction to it, won’t know that it’s TV premiere week. For the rest of is it’s time to clear out the evening appointment book, stock up on Kit Kats and Feeling drinks, and assume the position on the couch.

Monday night is traditionally not a barn-burner of a TV night for me. I was never an Ally McBeal fan (well, there were the Robert Downey Junior years, but that was an exception), I don’t watch football, and I’ve never found anything else compelling to watch on Monday nights. So I wasn’t as glued to the TV last night as I will be tonight.

That said, the new CSI: Miami was very good, and I’ll certainly tune in again. The program is a spin-off, or perhaps better a spin-over from the mothership CSI program that debuted last year on Thursday nights and took the TV world by unexpected storm.

While not quite as entirely plot-driven as the Law & Order collection, the CSI’s are certainly on that side of the fence: we don’t go home at night with the characters, and although they have the usual sort of weaknesses (dead husband, work friction, fear of alligators, etc.) these are more spice than substance. The true star of the CSI’s is the case, and the science surrounding its investigation.

While I’m not enough of a scientist to be able to say how realistic the CSI forensic science actually is, I’m willing to hazard a guess that it’s at least mostly so, and I can say without hesitation that there is more scientific equipment on display in these series, and more exploration of applied scientific concepts, than any dramatic show on television. That such a show is popular seems to have amazed some critics — I take it simply as proof that there is more popular interest in science than conventional wisdom would suggest.

Although the characters are secondary to the plot in CSI: Miami, there are some good actors on display. I’ve always liked <a href=”http://us.imdb.com/Name?Caruso,%20David”“>David Caruso, even if he did leave NYPD in a huff looking to start a movie career that never happened: he’s the Big Boss on the show, and he plays it well; better, I think, than his equivalent on the mother show, William Petersen.

Kim Delaney is second in command, and is playing to type: she’s the better detective with a distraught personal life (in this case her husband has died, cause unknown so far; in Philly, her now-cancelled series from last year, she was divorced from her successful husband, and we all know what happened in NYPD Blue). My jury is out on whether she’ll be good for this role.

Emily Procter is the only other name actor in the series, and this is the only weak point. I thought she was fantastic in her role on The West Wing, although she didn’t appear consistently enough on that series to make her a regular part of the show, and this is apparently why she left. While The West Wing role made the best use of her considerable talents, on CSI: Miami, at least from the debut episode, she is playing a generic role with nothing to distinguish it. This may change as the series matures. Let’s hope so.

Tonight’s schedule: the Inside NYPD Blue special at 10 on ABC, followed by the season premiere of that show. There’s also Presidio Med on CBS, but that will have to fall to commercial click-over status given my fondness for the Blue. Man your clickers.

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Andrew's picture
Andrew on September 25, 2002 - 14:11

HBOs new show ‘The Wire’ started last night. I think it was the first of the show anyways. But what I seen it was really good. Kinda like the cop shows on TV now but with cursing.

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