Friday, March 28, 2008

CSI-Miami’s David Caruso Speaks About The State of Serialized TV

The Daily Yomiuri, from Osaka, Japan, has an article about David Caruso (CSI-Miami) and his comments about the show, and the demise of serialized TV. One scary comment he made was that the show “Baywatch” was “pretty good.” Maybe he was watching the show with rose-colored sunglasses?

Caruso sees demise of serialized TV

Cristoph Mark / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

"I think there's a general move away from [serialization]," David Caruso, star of the massively popular TV series CSI: Miami, tells The Daily Yomiuri during a trip to Japan to promote the DVD release of his show's third and fourth seasons.

The insight in many ways defies commonly held beliefs--shows such as Heroes, Lost, 24 and Battlestar Galactica have found large and loyal audiences around the world despite plotlines that must be closely followed. The change, from Caruso's standpoint, has come about because of syndication.

"The people I talk to on a regular basis watch the CSI: Miami marathons and so on, and [the episodes are] all mixed together," he says. "And people are watching CSI: Miami in a somewhat general way, meaning they're watching episodes from a mix of seasons. It's really changed as a format and heading in the direction in which everything [else] is going, which is more of an on-demand thing. What's significant about that change is that the network airing is not the cornerstone of the relationship anymore.

"I'm sure CBS will be happy to hear that," he says with a laugh, referring to the network channel that premiers new episodes.

Caruso got his start on U.S. television in 1981 on a poorly rated made-for-TV movie called Crazy Times. Soon after, however--and following one of his more successful forays into film, which included minor roles in An Officer and a Gentleman and First Blood--he made his debut in a police drama, the ever-popular CHiPs. Something seems to have caught his interest at this point, because he later appeared in a number of police dramas, including T.J. Hooker, Hill Street Blues, Crime Story and NYPD Blue, which he notoriously quit just before the show hit big in order to pursue what he thought would be a lucrative film career.

Though that success never materialized, his move back to television in the form of Horatio Caine on the CSI franchise has placed him square in the limelight. So much so, in fact, on a February 2007 episode of The Late Show with David Letterman, comedian Jim Carrey poked fun at Caine's habit of dramatically putting on his sunglasses mid-one-liner.

"I think that what happens to you is that once it [your character] becomes part of the culture, there's the discovery part and then there's the part where they have to have fun with it," Caruso ponders. "And that's cool. And that's also part of its arrival. When Jim Carrey did the impression of the character on David Letterman, he had fun with it. But there's also the part where it's a real affirmation going on there. And that's Jim Carrey doing an impression--regardless of what he does, that's not a bad thing. If he's going to take two minutes on Letterman to do Horatio Caine, that means that the character's arrived."

He and the show have not only arrived in the United States, but in Japan and much of the rest of the world. "CSI: Miami is the No. 1 show in the world, and it has understood embracing that," he says.

Here in Japan, it has run daily on TV Tokyo affiliates (currently, the channel is showing CSI: NY) and on the satellite channel AXN, where it is broadcast several times a week. And this month marks the DVD release of the series' fourth season.

In Europe, according to an October 2005 article on, "That popularity may have something to do with the Baywatch and Miami Vice effect in that Euro audiences tend to have a predilection for watching beautiful (American) people--especially when the characters hang out near beaches."

"I don't know," Caruso says in response to a comparison between his show and the classic David Hasselhoff series that featured well-endowed women running down the beach in slow motion. "Baywatch is pretty good."

"Well, we have some pretty attractive people on our show, so I think that we're covered where that component is concerned. But at the end of the day, it's a law enforcement show, it's in a tropical setting, but there are some impactful things that take place."

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