Oskar Und Leni (Original Soundtrack) - Penguin Cafe Orchestra

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Oskar Und Leni (Original Soundtrack) - Penguin Cafe Orchestra

Beneath the neon lights of Las Vegas, the Clark County CSI night shift is hard at work, ridding the city of its criminal elements. With cutting-edge t...

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Review of "Oskar Und Leni (Original Soundtrack) - Penguin Cafe Orchestra"

published 16/10/2009 | MI9to5
Member since : 08/02/2008
Reviews : 285
Members who trust : 44
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Excellent
Pro Superb characters and scripts
Cons Too dark for some and humour a little black
exceptional

"Evidence First, Investigation Second"

All concerned for Jim

All concerned for Jim

CSI hit our TV screens in 2000 and became a massive hit from the very first show. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and is now into well into its tenth series. CSI has also spawned two similar crime investigative series: CSI New York and CSI Miami and the merchandise market for the series’ together include video games, board games, clothing and figurines. The original and therefore longest running series, the original CSI, sometimes referred to as CSI: Las Vegas is however mine, and I think it’s safe to say most peoples, favourite.

Each CSI series can be purchased in one complete box-set but it is more common to find them sold in the split two DVD box-sets. This review is for the box-set series 6.2 and therefore contains, over three discs the final twelve episodes of the 24 episode long sixth series.

What is CSI all about?

Beaneath the neon lights and the money of Las Vegas lies the chaos of crime and the night shift team team of crime scene investigators that must clear up the mess that others leave behind. Their job is one of the toughest in the county as they attempt to locate those illusive missing pieces that will enable them to piece together the truth amd vindicate the victims that cannot speak for themselves. The trail of the truth however is a complex one as buried clues must be unearthed and hidden motives discovered. The truth itself is that people lie. The evidence however never does.

Most of the episodes therefore are jam-packed full of investigative techniques that range from fingerprinting and large evidence collection, to analysing blood spatter and small items of trace material. The episodes document the entire process from the crimes committal to the CSI’s arriving on the scene, their first impressions and ultimately how they deal with trying to unpick what they find in front of them and separate what is probative from what is not.

The very nature of the programme and the crimes that are depicted within it does mean that there are a lot of dark themes running through it. In turn this definitely means that the series warrants its 15 certificate as the bloody violence and gory forensic images aren’t for the young or the faint hearted.

Hard Crime Cameraman: You were a CSI right?
Sophia Curtis: Yeah.
Hard Crime Cameraman: But now you're a detective, so which side of the fence do you prefer?
Sophia Curtis: It's the same side.

The Characters and Actors who play them

It is my considered opinion that no matter how good the premise for a television series is, it will not work unless the devised characters are ones that resonate with the audience and the only way that this can happen is if they are all allowed to develop like people in reality and if the actors that portray them do so with and sense of conviction yet a presence of ease. Personally I think that CSI as a show works so well and is so popular because of its characters and of course the actors who play them.

All of the characters within the show grow as the episodes and series’ progress and all of them have a history before even the first episode aired and this means that we are able to learn new information about them just a little bit at a time without it seeming like the character focus is simply a way for the writers to create a new episode. Because of the way that the characters have been written they interactive with each other in an extremely believable way in I feel that they are possibly the most rounded television characters and therefore cast that I have seen.

It is worth noting that in the previous series the graveyard shift team was split by new director Conrad Ecklie. Catherine was promoted to Swing Shift supervisor and allocated Nick and Warrick whilst Gil was allowed to keep Sara and Greg and allocated Sofia ex-Swing Shift Acting Supervisor. This first half of this series however saw the team back together again and much happier than before and this half builds upon this security.

Below I have written small character brief for each of the characters and tried to explain how the episodes in this box-set effect them, cause them change etc. I have done so because of the fact that I think by understanding the characters within the show you understand the show so much better. I know that not everyone wants to read this in a review and if you are one of these people then simple skip ahead to the next section, which is titled ‘This Box-Set’.
Gil Grissom

Gil Grissom (William Peterson) is a quirky forensic entomologist and also the graveyard shifts supervisor. Unfortunately however Grissom has a rather laid back attitude when it comes to bureaucracy, which doesn’t always endear him towards those outside of the team as well as those within. Gil also generally has difficulty expressing his emotions towards people and doesn’t always communicate well on a social level. This half of the series however sees him start to progress along this social communication walkway and make progress with his ability to express emotion. Peterson gives Grissom a lot of credibility as both a scientist and as a boss and friend, which in many ways is all that Grissom is about.
Catherine Willows

Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) is the graveyard shifts Assistant Supervisor and an excellent blood spatter analyst. Of all the CSI’s Catherine is probably the most competent in all aspects. She has proven her ability to control a team, allocate duties and complete paperwork as well as continuing to excel in all the cases she is given. Catherine however does have an impulsive character and can be extremely fiery especially if things don’t seem to be going her way. She does though have strong friendships with all the other CSI’s and in my opinion it is this aspect of her character that Helgenberger portrays the best in this half of the series.

[At a crime scene]
Catherine Willows: Which of the seven deadly sins aren't represented here?

Nick Stokes

Nick (George Eads) is a high and fibre analyst and the most laid back and empathetic CSI in the team but the trauma of being buried alive in the last season has definitely taken its toll. The tower of strength that he has been in previous series therefore doesn’t quite seem as stable and Nick is definitely less confident within himself than he has been before. . He remains a clean-cut, honest and loyal guy but his appearance frequently changes throughout the series hinting at the under the surface turmoil that he has and is suffering. Because of the trauma of the last season I think Eads needs to be commended for his portrayal of Nick, as his character is the only one to be given a big personal ordeal to deal with so far.
Warrick Brown

Warrick (Gary Dourdan) is an audio-visual analyst who has just recently (in the break between series’) married his girlfriend. Warrick is one of the teams most confident CSI’s and his previous gambling problem means that he is well aware of the truth of the city - the only one who wins is the house. His confidence however does sometimes come across as cockiness but I must admit that for the most part of this box set he appears to the audience as a very genuine guy. His screen presence though is always imposing and therefore Dourdan needs to be congratulated, as he makes certain that you’re always aware of Warrick when he’s on the screen without taking screen control when it isn’t necessary.
Sara Sidle

Sara (Jorja Fox) is the team’s materials and elements analyst. She was brought up in a foster home and was once a student of Grissom’s. The pair has a strong personal relationship although it is never quite clear to the audience or the rest of the team what this relationship is. Sara excels at processing vehicles and mechanical items and is a more than competent investigator but her need to be patted on the back and her quick temper doesn’t always endear her towards the audience. Fox puts in some wonderful screen time in this series and continues to build her profile from the powerful performances of the previous series.
Greg Sanders

Greg (Eric Szmanda) was once the teams DNA Technician but made the transfer to full-blown CSI in the previous series. Greg continues to put in the time and effort in his investigator position and is well liked and respected by the rest of the team. He often finds himself the brunt of jokes but takes them on the chin the way they were intended. In many respects Greg is a humorous character with an optimistic outlook and friendly personality but at the same time Szmanda who has had the largest character changes to cope with gives him great credibility.

Greg Sanders: Nobody throws away porn! They're like heirlooms passed down the family line!
Al Robbins

Al (Robert David Hall) is the Chief Medical Examiner for the CSI unit and works closely with them. Al handles all of the autopsy and medical examinations that the team can throw at him and is always willing to lend a hand as and when he can. He is well aware of the tasks that the team face and therefore is able to have great rapport with the CSI’s. The very nature of his character could have made Al rather dull to watch but with clever scripting and some great acting on the part of Robert David Hall, Al has become a loveable and memorable character and one that I personally really enjoy watching.
David Phillips

David (David Berman) is Al Robbins’ assistant and his role in the series has seriously grown since the beginning. David works very closely with the CSI team and provides them with their first medical ideas about the victim, as it is he, rather than Al, that certifies death at the scene and prepares the body for transport to the morgue. David is also an extremely witty person and it is this that has grown throughout the series’. He now seems more than comfortable to throw comments back at the CSI’s and this is really refreshing to watch.
David Hodges and Archie Johnson

Both Hodges (Wallace Langham) and Archie (Archie Kao) have seen their positions in relation to the main CSI’s grow as the series’ have continued and now they both feature highly in episodes. Hodges is the team trace technician and Archie the team video and audio expert. The characters of the pair are however extremely different to one another, as Archie is loveable and endears himself towards the other characters whereas Hodges is rather cocky and likes to think that he is a lot more important than he is. Both actors do though give tremendous performance and forge something more out of the characters they have been given, turning them into memorable parts of this epic programme.
Jim Brass

Captain Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) is a homicide detective who used to run the CSI lab and is therefore well aware of the job of the CSI’s he works closely with. Jim is an integral member of the team and becomes more so as the series’ progress. He has an exceptionally dry sense of humour and is frequently seen having a laugh and a joke with the CSI. He can however sometimes come across as relatively hard nosed but is ultimately just good at his job. In a strange way he has an element of warmth about him that the others lack and his position in the Police Department adds a different perspective to events as they unfold. In my opinion Guilfoyle plays a superb part as Jim Brass and really adds depth and dimension to the show.
Sofia Curtis

In the previous series Sofia (Louise Lombard) was allocated to Grissom as another Graveyard Shift investigator but after being the Acting Swing Shift Supervisor for so long she felt as if she was being under-cut and throughout the course of the series decided to make the move and become a Police Officer instead. Having being an investigator though, she like Brass is well aware of the CSI’s job and does everything she can to help. This at time causes contempt amongst the others but she seems to grow on them as well as the audience as this series progresses.

Sara Sidle: I need your hands.
Nick Stokes: I thought you'd never ask.

This Box Set

This box set contains the final twelve episodes from CSI’s sixth season. Each of these twelve episodes contains within it at least one case, and usually two or more, that the CSI team must investigate. Although it isn’t imperative that you watch CSI series’ in order or even episodes within a series in the broadcast order I do think that for this series in particular you would be best to do that. I say this because although each episode does have its own case to be solves within it a lot of the episodes also make references to cases in previous series’. I personally really like this because I think it gives long time fans the chance to get something else out of the episodes that they are watching. On top of this the references to previous events also in my opinion give the whole series a greater sense of continuity and make the team work and appear much more realistic.

This box-set, covering the second half of series six, sees the team faced with a multitude of different cases that each have a different effect on them, their working environment and subsequently the audience watching everything unfold. Like with the first half of this series I did find myself feeling a little uncomfortable on a couple of occasions yet this ease of discomfort is actually something that I think is good for the show because it highlights how it is grounded in reality and therefore plays upon the ideas and fears of those that are watching. The notion of being uncomfortable with what we see also helps the audience to greater empathise with the characters and their situations.

All of the cases within this box set have once again being expertly constructed and the details that the producers have taken notice of are really apparent. The superb computer graphics help back up some of the more complex ideas and also allow us deeper into the minds of the CSI’s. The cases entering the CSI’s permute this time round include some strange killings reminiscent of the Third Reich, a charred body in a fireplace, a murdered psychic and the deaths of three unidentified teenagers. On top of this they must also deal with a woman found dead in her own apartment and the prospect of an injured team member.

My favourite episode from this series was however ‘The Unusual Suspect’ which sees the sister of a teenage boy accused of murder fiercely protect her sibling in court by admitting to the crime herself. Everyone associated with the case must do all they can to ensure that the correct person is convicted.

Sara Sidle: Hannah, you are smart.
Hannah West: So I've been told.
Sara Sidle: But you are not smart enough to get away with murder.
Hannah West: I think I am. A lot of people are smart enough to get away with murder. You probably are too. But you have to be really smart to make people think things happened... that never did.

Dark Vs Light

Although I have mentioned that the tremendous computer graphics make the cases so engrossing they also make them exceptionally visual and therefore we as an audience get to see a lot of the gruesome points of the crime in great detail. This coupled with the crime flashbacks as the CSI’s piece ideas together can provide some rather horrendous and slightly uncomfortable scenes and for this the programme has been criticised. Personally though, although I will admit that the programme can be quite dark at times, I think that this merely adds to its appeal. The inclusion of these images and scenes makes us feel closer to the CSI team as well as the victims and suspects. In this way we feel like a greater part of the programme rather than simply a spectator of the unfolding events.

Furthermore I have to say that I think all of the issues tackled within the programme are dealt with in a way that shows delicacy yet doesn’t shy away from the truth. On top of this the programme’s darker moments are interspersed and sometime coincide with some much lighter ones that lift the mood. These lighter moments are often found in the comments, facial expressions and sometimes actions of the CSI team and those around them. These humorous snippets lift the dark mood that can sometimes set in and bring us closer to the team and the case. Some however will find this humour rather crude whereas others like myself realise that the jokes cracked by the team are simply there way of coping with what they see and providing a suitable working environment.

Gil Grissom: [Archie stands up and shakes his legs] What are you doing?
Archie: I've been watching movies for three days straight... my butt fell asleep.

Music

Personally I think that music is an integral part to any series and that in this series it is probably one of the most important factors. A lot of times throughout the episodes there is no or very little dialogue due to the screen being filled with evidence collection or processing. At these points the music that is utilised is the quite possibly the only thing that tells us exactly how we should be feeling about what is on the screen and how we should react.

The most iconic piece of music from the series however is the programmes title track; ‘Who Are You?’ by The Who. This truly is a memorable theme tune and one that I think fits the programme perfectly. The tempo and general pace is quick and quirky rather like the cases and character and the lyrics in many ways sum up some of the things the CSI’s must think on a day-to-day basis.

DVD Extras

As well as the twelve episodes, the box set also contains some special features. To be brutally honest though I don’t personally buy a box set for the special features they contain but for the actual programme and could therefore never mark a box-set down for the features it does or doesn’t provide.

The special features for this box set include a selection of episode commentaries, which unfortunately I cannot comment on due to my severe dislike of commentaries in general. As well as these commentaries there is also a feature called ‘Gadgets and Gizmos’ and one entitled Coroner Reports. Both of these features were extremely interesting to watch as once again they allow you to delve deeper into the world of the CSI and help you to understand how much research is done for the show. Watching both of these helped me appreciate all of the behind the scenes work that is done and also explained a couple of things I had always wondered.

The general box-set features seem to be improving as each box set passes by. From top quality ones in the first couple of series’ the features fell to a dismal standard but the previous box set and this one highlight that things are moving in a positive direction and I look forward to seeing what features are included on the series 7.1 DVD.

Overall Opinion

I adore CSI and have absolutely loved every single box set that I have purchased and subsequently watched. This box-set is no exception as once again it is full of fantastic cases that are handled exceptionally well and provide for riveting viewing. On top of this the characters continue to develop and seem to becoming more and more realistic as the series’ progress. Previous events play a greater part in this box set than before and therefore the feeling of continuity is far greater. In my opinion the quality of CSI just keeps on improving and this box set is a definite treat for all CSI fans

[Nick is looking for a victim's severed head]
''Gil Grissom: Hey Nick!'''
'''Nick Stokes: Yeah?'''
'''Gil Grissom: I think I found a toupee. Our vic may be bald.'''
'''Nick Stokes: Thanks. That will help me distinguish it from the other severed heads I find out here.'''

Facts

The complete run time for the episodes is 502 minutes.

The box set has a 15 rating, which I think it honestly deserves due to the nature of the case content.

The DVD box-set can be purchased from most good DVD stores as well as online but ranges greatly in price. I bought my copy for around £7 but it can cost anywhere up to £40, so keep an eye out.

Community evaluation

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Comments on this review

  • wantaratgirl published 26/10/2009
    Fantastic review! Loads of details and well written. Ratty :¬) xx
  • M.Newcastle published 25/10/2009
    Really good review. Very detailed and informative. I like CSI, but prefer the one with Stella (Miami?) x
  • paulpry118 published 20/10/2009
    Love all the CSI's
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Product Information : Oskar Und Leni (Original Soundtrack) - Penguin Cafe Orchestra

Manufacturer's product description

Beneath the neon lights of Las Vegas, the Clark County CSI night shift is hard at work, ridding the city of its criminal elements. With cutting-edge technology at its disposal, the forensic team tackles the often grisly crimes of a glamorous city whose constant influx of visitors has turned it into a criminal playground. Episodes 6.13-6.24 of the critically-acclaimed show are presented here.

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EAN: 4012116501612

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