What is it with the CSI type shows and their dominance?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by 63dot, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    I kind of liked NCIS for awhile, and watched one of the CSI spinoffs, and while better than average television, it doesn't hold up, imho, to more interesting tv shows.

    I like stuff like Ghost Whisperer, The Unit, Fringe (not typical cop show), Lie to Me (not typical way of catching perps), Kings, Parks and Recreation, and Dollhouse, for instance. Kings got bumped to the summer and I am not sure about Dollhouse and its future.

    How many cop shows can one endure?
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    i like bones

    i cant stand lie to me or fringe lol
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    My personal theory on CSI and in particular the Las Vegas one is actually on the generous side and not the cynical side (but then I thought NCIS was tripe :p ). I think people like CSI because, even if its an overly commercialized and dramatized version of such, CSI makes the scientific method and hypothesis driven investigation accessible to normal people. How science is actually done hardly ever enters into science fiction, or most crime shows, or any other kind of drama. It happens on non-fiction TV (mythbusters, etc), but they have a much smaller draw than primetime drama does.

    So that I think is good. It's good to have something out there that makes why science is interesting to people who do science accessible to the public. Even if it's excessively dramatic.

    As far as crime shows go, anyway, I like Law and Order SVU (and if bored will also enjoy the original L&O), and I watch CSI sometimes (mostly LV).

    I really actually thought Kings looked good, but to be honest, I have not watched any of it yet. That's on my to-do list.
  4. adrianblaine macrumors 65816


    Oct 12, 2006
    Pasadena, CA
    For awhile now I've been watching just about all these kinds of shows except CSI Miami (I really don't like that one for some reason). Even though I like crime oriented dramas, they are not my favorite. I think my favorite show this last season was Damages, followed by Battlestar Gallactica and Breaking Bad. I also used to like Monk, but not so much anymore.
  5. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
    When CSI first premiered, it was the "not your average cop show." Prior police procedurals were all about detectives knocking on doors, dragging suspects into "the box," catching them in lies, entertaining us with the art of interrogation and so forth. "The Lab" was either fully offscreen in the form of a "state crime lab" you sent stuff off to, or represented by a nebbishy pseudo-cop who appeared only long enough to spirit away fingerprint evidence for processing behind the scenes. The essential conceit of CSI, that cases are really solved by the geeks who chase physical evidence, and who (initially) were not even permitted guns or badges, was at the time revolutionary.

    Over time, a synthesis has emerged. The assorted CSIs have adopted most of the conventions of older police procedurals. The original still occasionally nods to the idea that their characters are not actual police, though it much more frequently overlooks that in favor of the drama of having a main character charge into a dangerous situation with gun drawn. The follow-on shows just gave up on that idea altogether and made their main characters real police, and their jobs a completely impractical hybrid of lab technician and traditional homicide cop, to the extent that the pure homicide cop supporting characters in those shows often seem superfluous.

    At the same time, newer cop shows have liberally appropriated the tropes of CSI. It was as if writers "knew" how police procedurals worked because we've all seen Dragnet, but it took a show like CSI to make them sit up and notice that the procedure itself has changed in the last forty years. Even though CSI itself is largely science fiction, forensic evidence is now understood as a major part of how crimes are solved, not a supporting plot device to be dropped at the end of an act break just to give the stalwart hero detectives the next door to knock on.

    So in the end, cop shows are just as formulaic as ever, but CSI at least deserves some credit for bringing a much needed update to the formula. Now we'll just be stuck with this formula for another forty years until somebody notices that the real heroes are the brave artificial intelligences that correlate collected trace evidence with deep mining of suspects' Internet traffic.
  6. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Other than that CSI and its ilk are utter tripe and geared most assuredly to the lowest common denominator, they have singlehandedly brought even more chaos and inefficiency to the legal system, not to mention lowered beyond the current deplorable levels the average understanding of the capabilities of science and technology.

    One weeps at the lack of support and interest in legitimate scientific programming. Even the Discovery and History channels are rife with sensationalist pablum and conspiracist propaganda masquerading as science.

    The only network shows I can stomach are the ones that don't even pretend to be serious about themselves (such as Fringe or Chuck) or complete fantasies (like Heros). They are all pleasant escapism, but I certainly would never project what I see on any of them to a Real World expectation.
  7. Marble macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2003
    Tucson, AZ
    I have nothing against crime drama procedurals, but their preponderance is a detriment to other genre television. Sci-fi for example is as much a black sheep as ever (even though fantasy is accepted by any other name in much modern programming); it's the homogeny that irritates me. Nonetheless, the procedural is an understandable shell to wrap drama around - the conventions are so well established by now that they've become transparent, letting people either a) concentrate more clearly on the drama or b) think less... depending on your view of human nature!
  8. RITZFit macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2007
    In my Corner
    I like the "first 48" but I can't stand the CSI drama shows tho...
  9. Creative One macrumors 6502

    Creative One

    Apr 25, 2009
    Well think of people killing someone then figuring out who done it, as the seinfeld of the 2000's. People have gotten very sick.
  10. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    And what annoys me is that we all know that 99% of crime labs don't have all the technology and large labs like they show!
  11. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Fixed that for you. ;)
  12. jecapaga macrumors 601


    Jul 1, 2007
    Southern California
    Fringe is the absolute worst. No words to really describe how lame the story and acting is on that show.
  13. Leareth macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2004
    Well they have the tech

    just not the time and people to do all of those tests ;)

    there are cool forensic tools that CSI hasnt touched yet.
  14. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    CSI was good for a while but it just started getting old. It more the ton of spin off that are just going over board.

    I like NCIS because it is different from the rest. It is not about all the geeky lab stuff like the others and well has more comedy and things that make me laugh in it.

    I enjoy bones because the story of the chars seems to be the driving force and they spend more time on those stories than the crime.

    The Unit I just got into but it enjoyable. I just have a sad feeling that it is going to not get renewed for season 5.
  15. Brien macrumors 68030


    Aug 11, 2008
    Monk is still on? :p

    I think CSI (Vegas) is the best one, Miami and NY... not so much. I also enjoy 24, and was watching Heroes for awhile until it started going downhill.
  16. MacVixen macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2009
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I was a huge CSI: Vegas fan for a number of years, but then it started to lose it's appeal to me. I liked it because I was fascinated by the scientific parts of crime-solving.

    These days I rarely if ever watch network television, but I am absolutely hooked on true crime shows. Forensic Files, First 48, etc - love that stuff. I find I'm most interested in the how to of a solving a crime and the true crime show deliver for me.
  17. stonyc macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2005
    I have an extensive background in bench research, and when I watch CSI... I almost always cringe at the piss-poor technique. Holding pipets incorrectly, running unbalanced centrifuges (that's literally a mistake that can costs thousands of dollars), poor pipetting technique... ugh.

    My wife is like that with any medical shows... she'll sit there and say "No, they don't do that..." or "That's not right at all."

    It's funny, I rather enjoy those medical shows (Scrubs especially) and can't stand the CSI-type shows... she's the opposite. :)
  18. yojitani macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2005
    An octopus's garden
    If I have to watch TV, I'd rather the Dog Whisperer :D
  19. dommeister macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2009
    When I first seen CSI I was interested for the first few series as it showed you all the geeky technical aspect of policing much different to what was shown in The Bill (aired in the UK/Ireland) which was "all about detectives knocking on doors, dragging suspects into "the box," catching them in lies, entertaining us with the art of interrogation and so forth - to quote Gelfin.
  20. Kardashian macrumors 68020


    Sep 4, 2005
    Stopped downloading Dollhouse after its fourth ep. I might give it another shot as its had good reviews.

    I'm thinking of getting into Fringe, not sure.

    As for the CSI's.. when they started to branch off in every direction I couldn't follow them and I just lost track. I can still sit down and watch a single ep and not miss any plot, though.

    One of my favourite shows of all time though, Damages.

  21. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    I go nuts when I watch TV judges who misquote law and use the term guilty instead of liable on a civil case.

    The same thing happens on TV law drama shows where attorneys break down the elements of a crime with the first being "motive" and use that term instead of "intent".

    Whenever a fictional TV civil case come up, liable - the correct term, just doesn't have the same punch as guilty, which is only used in criminal trials.

    My law dean said, "99% percent of what you see on tv on law will get you disbarred." But anyway, real jurisprudence would make people fall asleep. No real episodes out there on Sec. 90 P.E. alternate theories of recovery ? :)
  22. india349 macrumors member


    Oct 19, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    I think the popularity has a lot to do with the episodic nature. Crime dramas like CSI, (and I would count "Medium") are inherently individualistic as each episode deals with a case which unravels itself and is solved in the duration of the episode.

    I doubt anyone is watching CSI or NCIS or [insert anagram here] for a continuing story. They hook you in the first couple minutes with a crime scene or action of some sort ("Medium" almost ALWAYS begins with a disturbing dream that keeps you sticking around after the title card). Suddenly, you find the five minutes you decided you would spend to check what was on TV has turned into an hour-long, detailed mystery unraveling.


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