CS…Why?

Yes, I have categorized this one as both happy and surly. It’s happy because I used to love CSI. I started watching reruns on SpikeTV almost 6 years ago. I’ve seen all the episodes since then, purchased several seasons on DVD, and continue to watch new episodes today.

The surliness comes from the noticeable deterioration of the show. What made me love it was the plot focus. It reminded me in so many ways of the “Freak of the Week” formula used with such success by early seasons of The X-Files. Each week we got to watch the team solve a different case, learning a little about them along the way as the opportunities arose to reveal such information.

Now, it’s all about the characters…or, more precisely, character drama, which I find so very boring. Yet I continue to watch the show. It’s kind of like how I continue to read post-Nemesis TNG novels, even though they only serve to irritate and disappoint me. I’m too much a creature of habit in this regard. But I did like CSI once, and I guess I’m holding out hope that I’ll like it again.

So far, it’s not happening that way with Season 10. I find this truth even more disappointing based on the absolutely awesome way the 10th season started. The pre-credits teaser for this episode was one of the most spectacular I think they have ever done for this show. Check it out:

Pretty spiffy for regular television, eh? I liked it so much that I watched it twice that night…and several times since. I laughed when I saw Laurence Fishburne doing his Matrix shtick with the Agent Smith-looking character, complete with Matrix bullet effects around him. I also dug how the sequence ends with two characters in frame, one of whom is the surprise guest return of Sara Sidle. So, cool opening and pleasant surprise ending. Left me feeling quite hopeful about what was to come.

Too bad the rest of the show in no way lived up to that opening. Petty bickering, bruised egos, the disappearance of a regular character from the previous season explained away by the revelation of even more discord. Plus, the story was meh. The stories from early CSI were never meh.

Same thing for last night’s new episode. Sara Sidle is still with the team, which makes me happy…but what didn’t make me happy was the dredging up of a storyline they started way back in the very first episode as one of the stupidest red herrings I think they’ve ever pulled. Also, it seems that they might be launching another serial killer story arc. Because the Miniature Killer was SO awesome.

Disappointed.

So, should I just stop watching? Give up and abandon ship before it sinks beneath the weight of its increasing mediocrity? Or should I continue to hold out hope that they’ll find that miracle fix that will get the show back on track to awesomeness? Is that even possible?

I’ll probably keep checking in, especially since our cable company makes it so easy to catch up on missed episodes through their On Demand feature. What can I say? I really am a hopeless optimist. How else can I explain the fact that I still watch a show that stopped being great at least three seasons ago…or why I recently ordered the follow-up to a TNG book that I rated only 1.5 out of 5?

Hopeless.