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I watched a couple of episodes of CSI over the weekend. Wow. Now, that’s what I call a cop show for the new millenium.

It’s really one of the most overinflated things I’ve ever seen on television. Every single image is saturated with color, usually blues; the cast is shot so as to be both gritty and polished at the same time. It is, in fact, a pretty good embodiment of Vegas. The show doesn’t take place on the strip, but the design ethos is still very Vegasesque.

The dialogue, likewise, is as stylized as it comes. “There is no room for subjectivity in this department.” “We’re just a bunch of kids that are getting paid to work on puzzles. Sometimes there’s a piece that’s missing; sometimes, we solve it in one night.” “People leave us clues, Nick. They speak to us clues in thousands of different ways. It’s our job to make sure we’ve heard everything they’ve said.” All utterly deadpan. These guys talk in Capital Letters, cause they do a Very Important Job.

The terrifying thing is, I kind of liked it. Kind of. I mean, it’s a total Bruckheimer production in all ways, but if you just pretend that it takes place in a hyperreal Morrisonian world it’s pretty entertaining. The science is OK, even though no police department in the country has as much gear as these guys, and the mysteries are generally cute.

Come to think of it, it’s almost the television equivalent of those old Gardener Fox Flash stories. The ones with the science facts in every issue. Not altogether surprising, since Barry Allen was after all a police scientist. Going with the Morrison theme, one might well remember that those Flash facts were one of the things Morrison loved about Flash, and were in fact one of the reasons he did a 12 issue run on the book. So there you have it: Flash, the very first CSI.

One Comment

  1. I can only say that I love the show for all that it is. Warren Ellis describes it as Genius Police Robots That Will Get You or something very similar. In a way, the show is a sort of science fiction (for all their alleged failings, the characters are shockingly perfect, particularly in their singleminded pursuit of justice etc etc,) so I guess I’m saying I agree with Ellis, and I like it.

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