28 October 2003 | eamon-hennedy
Not as good as original, but still worth watching.
Spin-off shows are very strange television projects. In some cases they work, like Angel which has become a show of its own. On the other hand the Star Trek spin-offs (more so the later ones) have becoming mere clones of the show they have spawned from. It is difficult to make it work. You can try and be different and the fan base from the originating show could hate you. Be too similar and the counter effect it that many will call it nothing but a clone. While CSI:Miami is more or less the same show as CSI:Crime Scene Investigation it is still a series that is well worth watching and most of it is down to the reasons that the originating series was worth watching. Fantastic writing, feature film production values and a good cast. While in Crime Scene Investigation the casting is first class here were are merely in good territory. The cast here don't seem to share the same chemistry as Grissom and friends, although whether or not this is deliberate I'm not sure.
With regards to casting what they do have in common is a superb central male lead. David Caruso is a fine actor, was so in the first season of NYPD Blue. Here he is incredible. Unlike Grissom, Horatio Crane (the best name ever for the main character in a television show) is more speculative, he will be more open to hunches than just considering the evidence. The manner in which is delivers his dialog is controlled mannered. If Grissom is the Fox Mulder of CSI, then Crane is undoubtedly the Frank Black. The supporting actors themselves are very good. Kim Delaney was watchable if a little too glossy while former West Wing actress Emily Procter once again brings a wealth of quirky charm that she likewise did with Ainsley in the White House drama.
Of course the biggest change here is the location. Instead of the bright lights of Las Vegas we have the sun shine of Miami. Ironically whereas Crime Scene Investigation would be predominantly set during night time, Miami is set more in the day light hours and with it comes a higher level of violence. In Ireland the channel that broadcasts the show frequently put out a warning before hand, something that never befalls the originating series. What we get here are episodes involving body parts falling of out dead sharks, scenes of autopsies that are more graphic and stories that are slightly more darker (the show itself is broadcast at 10pm in America).
While the show is no Angel it isn't Star Trek:Voyager either. It is hugely entertaining and the stories are frequently entertaining and well produced. What it lacks though is the warmness of the Las Vegas team. Horatio, in the same way as Frank Black, is less emotional and more controlled over his thoughts, whereas the Las Vegas equivalent would be putting heart and soul into the cases they were fighting for. In saying that the show is still worth watching and is perhaps the first step in what is looking like a growing franchise.