March 07, 2006

TV Matchup: 24 vs. CSI Miami

Monday is a big day for the Tivo in our house, usually running with its red recording light on from 9 through 11:30, picking up 24, CSI Miami and wrapping up with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. Usually, we don't get through all the shows on the same night, and cherry-pick the episodes as available through the week, but with both my wife and I home and not moving around (but somehow getting work done with the TV on in the background), we took in a special 2-hour episode of 24, followed by CSI Miami - in what should be three gripping hours of television drama, but instead only exposed CSI Miami for the half-baked, poorly written, half-acting tripe it is.

After a double feature of the non-stop intensity of 24, which has scene after scene of action, surprise, and intrigue, the laidback, wait-around, ridiculous attitude of CSI Miami is simply nauseating. While 24 can at times be less than credible (somehow the bad guys never kill Jack Bauer?), David Caruso's transparent, shallow pandering to the camera is flat-out ridiculous, and each time we suffer through it, I swear it will be the last time, and that this time, we'll take it off our Season Pass once and for all. Watching 24 and CSI Miami back to back just makes the choice that much more clear.

When David Caruso was on NYPD Blue, his character was very good, and he rivaled Dennis Franz for our attention. But we all know how that ended - with his being written out of the show and forced into what was long considered the most dramatic example of career suicide known in the TV acting business. That he got a second chance with CSI Miami was fine, but the man is a disaster, and his colleagues aren't that much better. In fact, the show is so formulaic and foolish, there are drinking games set to the characters' odd behaviors. It's one thing to try and support the CSI franchise. CSI: Las Vegas is still pretty good. But Miami and New York leave much to be desired. Jack could probably take them all out in one action-packed episode... of 24.