“The most eagerly anticipated CSI franchise to ever hit the boob tube since the pilot telecast of CSI: Turtle Island last Wednesday.”
- 1 Background and Historical and/or Social Relevance (if any)
- 2 Official Logo
- 3 Official Theme Song
- 4 Characters
- 5 Complete List of Celebrity Guests
- 6 Season 1: Summary
- 7 Season 2: Musings
- 8 See also
Background and Historical and/or Social Relevance (if any)
Set sometime in the 1950s, the show's foundation rests on an elite team of crime scene investigators, mostly residents of the fictional town of Pleasantville. They are skilled in the fields of biology, chemistry, forensics, ballistics, medicine and basic paperwork management. Every week, the team tackles a myriad of complex cases, ranging from murders to heists that plague the town. In addition to solving crimes, the investigators are beset with their own personal tragedies to add an element of melodrama in each episode.
Penny Marshall, a respected actress and director, of Big and Awakenings fame tells in a shrill and nasal voice the element that sets CSI: Pleasantville apart from the other CSI shows:
- "As the director and co-producer of CSI: Pleasantville, I wanted it to be different but not weird. As we all know, the show will be shot in a specially constructed vintage studio set in glorious black and white blah blah blah (incoherent portion). I would like to make it appear like they're in an old TV sitcom, but there should be less humor. The focus of the show is about solving crimes but of course I want to add drama for effect, you know, all those juicy personal conflicts and stuff. It's just like the 50's version of General Hospital, only the protagonists here are into forensics or something. Oh, and also the characters here are more politically correct. Instead of using vulgar words like vagina or cunt, they just say canal-like part of a woman's reproductive system." (italics supplied).
The proposed logo was scrapped and is replaced by a new one that clearly embodies the main theme of the show.
Official Theme Song
Considering the score of The Who unsuitable for the show's 50s-style setting, the producers decided that any song by the once famous group, The Lettermen would do.
Despite the breakthrough in the concept for the CSI franchise, the makers thereof decided to stick to stereotypes in choosing the characters for the show. According to executive producer Gary Marshall, the reason for such is "purely commercial."
The more or less notable character stereotypes in the show are as follows:
The middle-aged know-it-all team leader played by a once popular actor who has done a couple or two movies. The team leader should be a bit quirky like William Petersen, who is into insects and somewhat business-like and mysterious similar to David Caruso or Gary Sinise. This character is played by washed-up action star Steven Seagal, who has a peculiar fondness for mammals and doesn't talk much.
The strong, independent and capable investigator who is not necessarily a popular actress. She is somehow emotionally involved with Michael Thompson. This part is played by wrestling star Chyna. She later discovers that Thompson is her estranged brother whom she never met. Thompson settled in Pleasantville after fighting in The Korean War. It was during the war where he had a temporary amnesia. He became an accomplished forensic pathologist thereafter. Thompson and Michaels-Smith fell in love with each other as part of the personal conflicts espoused in the series.
The law enforcer who is a friend of Thompson. He doesn't know anything about forensic science as he is a bit foppish and faints at the sight of blood. Hugh Grant plays the part quite convincingly.
Antawn Rashad, M.D.
The African American who either performs autopsy or does field work. He plays a rather minor role, providing a bit of comic relief from time to time. The character does not have a disclosed love life. This part is played by Chris Tucker, although some people doubt if he could stand to be in the minority for long. In the latter episodes, he is promoted to provide more comic relief.
The second woman investigator who is arguably prettier, sexier, younger, and smarter than the first, but for some reason is never promoted. She is romantically involved with James Roberts. Inexplicably however, she is secretly attracted to Thompson. Poor girl. This part is played by Claire Danes.
The handsome, blond, and sexy investigator whom the female audience will fantasize. This part is played by Leonardo DiCaprio. In Episode ????, he discovers that Thompson is his father, though the internal conflict contemplated here is still too dodgy to discuss.
Robert "Bobby" Lee
The Asian who does the paperwork and occasional examinations under the microscope. His presence is highly unnoticeable, having no character depth whatsoever. This part is played by Bobby Lee of Mad TV. In Episode 2: Money, Money, Money, he also discovers that he's a homosexual.
The Harvard graduate whom everyone makes fun of. In the latter episode, the investigators find out that he is a "serial killer" with a tortured childhood. A smooth operator and extremely cunning, he leaves clues which our protagonists are able to solve using their skills on crime scene investigation. The actor who plays the part is uncredited.
The town coroner, a bunch of paperwork people, the receptionist, the town's notary public, the town's sanitation officer, Mrs. Parker, Barney, Benji, Lassie, the town priest, the town mayor, the town slut, the town scumbag, the town's casino owner and oil tycoon, the nurse, the town's fitness instructor, the Pleasantville High School basketball coach, the bartender, Farmer Bill, etc. Wow, a huge number of uncredited extras!
Complete List of Celebrity Guests
- Julian Casablancas of The Strokes as a cadaver on Episode 3: Triple Murder Mystery
- Randy Jackson of American Idol as a cadaver on Episode 3: Triple Murder Mystery
- Penny Marshall as a cadaver on Episode 4: A Question of Jurisdiction
- Chuck Norris as the sheriff of the adjacent town Greenville who is involved in some jurisdictional dispute with Sheriff Townsend on Episode 4: A Question of Jurisdiction.
- Marilyn Manson, obviously as a cadaver on Episode 3: Triple Murder Mystery.
Season 1: Summary
Episode 1: Daisy
Farmer Bill discovers that his domesticated bovine, Daisy was mercilessly butchered at the pasture. The team investigates. Meanwhile, Michael Thompson has some recurring flashes of his unknown past life, could it be possible at this point that his memory is coming back?
Episode 2: Money, Money, Money
The team investigates a heist at Pleasantville Bank. Could it be an inside job? A fingerprint left at the crime scene will solve this challenging case. Meanwhile Robert "Bobby" Lee discovers that he's a homosexual.
Episode 3: Triple Murder Mystery
Three celebrity guests who were into "group intercourse" were found dead inside Pleasantville Motel. The CSI nerd did them because he has his own undisclosed personal tragedies. Meanwhile, Katherine Davies and James Roberts contemplate on their scheduled date later that night.
Episode 4: A Question of Jurisdiction
The body of Penny Marshall was found at the boundary of Pleasantville and Greenville. The sheriffs discuss pertinent "state jurisdictional laws". Meanwhile, Felicity Michaels-Smith is falling for her brother Michael Thompson.
Episode 5: Antawn Is Kidnapped!!!
Antawn Rashad, M.D. is kidnapped on his way to Pleasantville Coffee Shop. Julio Pacheco felt guilty for asking Rashad to buy him coffee and he uses this internal conflict to track his co-worker's whereabouts. Meanwhile, Michael Thompson's memory has come back...
...to be continued...
Season 2: Musings
Season 2 will definitely provide an excuse to finally settle all the personal tragedies among the characters and tie them up in one neat package. Expect more explosive and crafty episodes in the coming weeks.