Crime TV

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Fun | Posted on 01-06-2008

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I’ve been on a video spree over the last month or so, get­ting caught up with all three C.S.I. shows. We also fin­ished watch­ing sea­son 2 of Torch­wood, and real­ized that some of it would­n’t make sense unless we get caught up on Dr. Who.

Annoy­ing­ly, all three C.S.I.s end­ed on cliffhang­ers. I do hate that. I would keep watch­ing next sea­son any­way, so why the tease? They’re all very well estab­lished. And one episode of C.S.I. Mia­mi had a “spe­cial scene” that was only avail­able on the offi­cial website–and it isn’t there any more! What are all the view­ers who did­n’t view it in real time sup­posed to do? I found a descrip­tion of the scene, but it was­n’t as good as actu­al­ly watch­ing it.

Sam is always amazed that I can watch that stuff. Hon­est­ly, the vio­lence and blood do both­er me, espe­cial­ly when there are ran­dom crimes. For some rea­son, it does­n’t both­er as much as some oth­er things, maybe because I take off my head­phones so that I don’t have to hear some sounds, and I gen­er­al­ly avoid look­ing at the bod­ies too much.

The part I like is the puz­zle, fig­ur­ing out how a crime was com­mit­ted and who did it. I know the shows are incred­i­bly unre­al­is­tic in many ways, from the fact that real crime scene inves­ti­ga­tors almost cer­tain­ly do not go run­ning around with guns to arrest crim­i­nals to the real­i­ty that nobody can be pro­fi­cient in every sin­gle type of foren­sic analy­sis that needs to be done. Actu­al foren­sic labs are almost always under­fund­ed, so get­ting evi­dence gath­ered, processed, and ana­lyzed in hours (as the shows often depict) is pure fan­ta­sy. Real foren­sic labs don’t usu­al­ly get the equip­ment they need reg­u­lar­ly, and they cer­tain­ly don’t have the lat­est and great­est toys of every sort in handy forms that every sin­gle tech can car­ry in his kit “just in case” he ever needs it at a scene.

I can sus­pend my dis­be­lief that much. And I can almost ignore the non­sense of “trac­ing an IP address to an email address” to get a crim­i­nal’s iden­ti­ty in sec­onds. It’s Hol­ly­wood.

I watched the first episode of The Clos­er tonight, since I’ll have to wait until fall for more C.S.I. I don’t like cop shows as much as foren­sics shows, but I was intrigued by Kyra Sedg­wick­’s per­for­mance in some pro­mos I saw a few years ago. Her “Atlanta accent” is atro­cious, but the char­ac­ter is inter­est­ing. I don’t know why the “big plot twist” that was obvi­ous to me in the first few min­utes of the show would take a bunch of pro­fes­sion­als days (appar­ent­ly) to fig­ure out, though. Maybe they’re too gen­der-bound? Who knows.

I sup­pose that if we had cable and I hap­pened to run across The Clos­er, I would watch it again. I think I’ll find anoth­er foren­sics show the next time I’m bored enough to go look­ing for view­ing mat­ter, though.

Review: New Amsterdam

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 16-02-2008

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I’m all infat­u­at­ed with yet anoth­er author, my friends, so I must warn you that you’ll be read­ing much more about Eliz­a­beth Bear here in com­ing weeks.

Cover of New Amsterdam by Elizabeth BearNew Ams­ter­dam is an anthol­o­gy of con­nect­ed sto­ries twined around two main char­ac­ters. “The Great Detec­tive” is vam­pire Sebastien de Ulloa. Lady Abi­gail Irene Gar­rett is a foren­sic sor­ceror, Detec­tive Crown Inves­ti­ga­tor in His Majesty’s Ser­vice in the colony of New Ams­ter­dam. At the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry, North Amer­i­ca is still a patch­work of Euro­pean colonies, with all the atten­dant polit­i­cal intrigue and mil­i­tary ten­sion.