Monday, October 13, 2008

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eighth Season

Written by Senora Bicho

The bar for the Eighth Season of CSI was set very high as, in my opinion, Season Seven was its best to date. While I can’t say it was as good, it delivered some great episodes and certainly was enough to keep me as an avid viewer. Two million other viewers didn’t agree, however, and stopped watching.

The premiere of Season Seven introduced us to the Miniature Killer, a serial killer storyline that continued throughout the season. Season Eight starts off with her finally in custody as the team desperately tries to locate Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox). In an act of revenge aimed at Dr. Gil Grissom (William Petersen), the killer has pinned Sidle under a car. The team eventually finds her, but the whole ordeal proves to be the last straw for Sidle and she packs up and leaves town midseason. Before the start of Season Five, Fox was the source of some controversy and was actually fired from the show along with her co-star George Eads who plays Nick Stokes. Both were looking for more money but in the end they were both hired back for no additional money while their other co-stars received raises. This time it is said that Fox’s leaving was at her request as she no longer wanted to be committed to a weekly series. I was not sorry to see her go. I was never particularly fond of her and the show managed for the rest of the season just fine without her.

Season Eight offered a crossover with Without A Trace and that series’ episode is included in the DVD collection. The scenes with Petersen and Anthony LaPaglia, who plays FBI Agent Jack Malone on Without A Trace, are the best part of the episodes and I wish there would have been more. They both provide the foundations for their respective shows and excel in their roles. These characters are very different with vastly different jobs and watching these contrasts brings a new dimension to each show.

In addition to the 18 episodes, the DVD collection offers many special features. Season Seven introduced an episode focused on the lab techs; it was very successful so they did it again this season with “You Kill Me” “While the Cast’s Away the Rats Will Play” is a featurette about that episode. A commentary track with the writer and the lab techs is also included.

William Friedkin directed the episode “Cockroaches” and he is joined by the writer and Peterson for an audio commentary. Peterson and Friedkin worked together previously on the film Live and Die in L.A. and play off of each other nicely as they each give interesting insights. There is also a featurette on the episode entitled “William Fredkin: A Different Take”. This episode not only offers a feature film director but it is also the beginning of the downfall of Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan), which concludes in dramatic fashion in the season finale.

“So Long, Sara Sidle” pays tribute to the actress and her character and includes interviews about her departure. “What Happened in Vegas” provides a synopsis of the season. “Shot in the Dark” focuses on the unique look of the show. “TOD: A Bug’s Life” illustrates the important role that entomology plays in the show.

All of the signature elements that make CSI stand out are present in Season Eight: a unique look, feel, and sound along with strong writing and acting. As the series continues, the characters get better developed. This season had a lot to offer and while it wasn’t as strong as Season Seven it was still much better than any other traditional crime drama on television.


Written by Pollo Misterioso

There was a bittersweet farewell in 2004. It was a tough goodbye, with tears shed—partly for the departure of friends, partly because we were slightly buzzed from a pink cocktail. It needed to happen and yet we weren’t ready to see off our best girlfriends. But leave it to Hollywood to bring back our girls one more time. Sex and the City - The Movie has come to DVD and (hopefully) is the final installment to the much-loved series from HBO.

A film had always been in the works for this show. After wrapping up the series, the film was put on hold and four years later, they are back and now they are in their forties (well, all except Samantha). Sex and the City - The Movie brings back every beloved character from the show and even introduces new ones. The film, running well over two hours, is filled with drama, but stays true to the heart of the show—friendship.

We pick up right where we left off. The opening credits reveal where the girls have ended up, but also where they came from, referencing some of the more funny moments from the show. Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) is happily living with her newly adopted daughter, Lily, and husband in Manhattan. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Steve are with their son Brady in Brooklyn. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) has moved to Los Angeles to help Smith Jarred with his television career. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is living happily with John Preston or better known as Mr. Big and when they decide to find an apartment together, they also decide to get married.

This begins the whirlwind of events that leaves Carrie alone and back in her old apartment, left to start again. Although we never get the feeling that she is back to living the single life, being left one more time by Big hits her the same way that it hits us—one blow too many. But being characteristic of Mr. Big, the real surprises in the film come from what the other characters must go through, how they handle life’s obstacles. In fact, although Carrie’s story leads the film, her friends are the ones that shine as they figure out what it means to be a woman that is happy with herself.

The smart humor is still there, along with the fashion and fantasy that the show embodied. The writers have still managed to play with the fine line between tragedy and humor. Watch as you choke up as Charlotte passionately stands up to Mr. Big but leaves you laughing when she prances into her car. It’s genius.

The film is funny, but it relies on its fans, the audience, to really take joy in seeing the girls on the big screen. In theaters, women and gay men cheered when Samantha first appeared and wept when Charlotte announced that she was pregnant. There is something so pleasing about watching something familiar, as if we have always been a part of it. The love that the fans had for this show is what made it possible for a film.

The show ended perfectly in 2004 as Carrie Bradshaw walked away into the city crowd
and disappeared. Sex and the City - The Movie ends with the women—right where it began. With that said, one of the first shows to really make HBO a channel of well-written and well-directed programs, Sex and the City was a show for women, about women that spoke honestly about sex, love, and friendship. The movie, like the show, is a tribute to the deepest love shared between friends. The film is a perfect addition to the collection, which means the perfect excuse to order another cosmopolitan.

Sex and the City - The Movie is available as a single-disc DVD, a two-disc Special Edition DVD featuring an extended cut, and an extended cut on Blu-ray. Commentary by director Michael Patrick King is available on all versions and the extended cuts include a "Conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick King."