Critics Bemoan 'Average' DVD Release

By Caillan
March 28, 2003 - 10:16 AM

 'CSI' Season One DVD Set - courtesy, copyright Paramount Home EntertainmentThe release of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's first season on DVD has provoked mixed reactions from reviewers — while all agree the series is fantastic, the set itself is said to be distinctly mediocre.

Here's a roundup of the most recent reviews posted online:

  • Gord Lacey at, a fan of CSI since "day one", said the show could have benefited from a better DVD release. "For such a popular show, I was expecting something more from this release," he wrote. "This is the type of show that could have some killer commentary tracks from technical advisors and the cast and crew. There could have been a great featurette on the science of the show, but instead we get a promotional featurette. Maybe CBS Video thought the show would sell itself, and they're probably right. Maybe we'll get more when the second season is released."

    Although Lacey was disappointed with the extra features, which he awarded a score of 3 out of 10, the video and audio quality fared better. Rating the video a 7, he said the major problem with the image quality was grain, while the audio was said to be "much better than I remember from TV" and scored a 8. The complete analysis can be found here.

  • Over at DVD File, Mike Restaino lamented the lack of an anamorphic widescreen release for the series. Here's an excerpt from his review:

    Alas, in their infinite (lack of) wisdom, CBS has elected to release CSI in 4:3 full screen only on DVD, i.e., it isn't Paramount's fault that this isn't in widescreen. The show is broadcast weekly on CBS in gorgeous 1.78:1 HD, and is probably the best-looking series ever to grace a television screen. It's that good. Unfortunately, this DVD set doesn't do it justice.

    Restaino only gave the set 2.5 out of 5 for overall value, criticising the lack of real effort put into the release of CSI on DVD. "A truly great show gets an average DVD release: While this First Season set of CSI does contain over 17 hours of great TV, it still leaves much to be desired," he wrote. "The 4:3 transfers are a disappointment, the audio just average and the supplements truly lacking. At least with television this good I the lack of supplemental materials doesn't ruin the party, but for $80 bucks, I hope Season Two gets it right." The full review is available at DVD File.

  • "It's addictive from the first episode, and as the season goes on, episodes such as 'Blood Drops' and 'Unfriendly Skies', both of which were hailed by critics after their initial air dates, tighten the noose, making good and certain that the audience is left begging for more," wrote Joe Atkinson at MyInky.

    Atkinson also noticed the dearth of extra features included in the set, but felt the quality of the CSI episodes themselves made up for the absence of further bells and whistles. "There are more than 17 hours of action, assuring that even the most dedicated viewer can get his CSI fix, even when the current season is in reruns." Read more from Atkinson at this page.

To order the Region 1 DVD set and support CSI Files, head over to, where the package can be purchased for $67.49, 25% off the recommended retail price. Canadian fans can buy the set from for CDN $88.14, 30% off the list price.

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