Thursday, September 29, 2005

TV (Drama): CSI

I'm not going to cover TV much on this site because I don't actually watch that much TV (DVDs are another matter), but since I'm just starting this up, I figured I'd toss this out.

About the only non-cartoon TV I watch is the three CSI shows. The first is still my favourite, and I really enjoy the character of Gil Grissom -- a good unapologetically eccentric (yet competent) scientist character. But one thing about the show really bugs me -- the "enhancement" bits.

It doesn't happen every show, but there will often be a scene in which the team takes a photo, or video tape, or webcam still, and "enhances" it to reveal a vital clue. And almost invariably, they manage to do something like take extract a license plate number from a single pixel. In tonight's episode, they took casino security video and retrieve a name and phone number from a mailing list form on a shop counter. The whole form could not have been more than half-a-dozen scan lines high.

While there's a lot you can get out of hidden information in a photo if you know what you're doing, it's simply not possible to get details of letters 5mm high out of a security scan that covers a six metre viewing area. The information isn't just hidden -- it isn't there to be extracted. The whole thing is just a lazy way of getting necessary clues in front of the team so they can grab the next suspect.

Maybe sometime I'll do my rant about the mess they made of Japanese military history a couple of seasons ago, too...

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