Monday, June 27, 2005

JG Ballard on CSI

Author JG Ballard thought TV was an "ageing theme park, which we visit out of habit rather than in hope of finding anything fresh and original" until he discovered C.S.I: Crime Scene Investigation. In The Guardian, he examines the shows appeal.
Given that there are no interesting characters, no car chases or shoot-outs, no violently stirred emotions and no dramatic action, why is the C.S.I. series so riveting? What is it that grips us to the end of the episode, which is scarcely more than an elaborate crossword puzzle with human tissues in the place of clues? My guess is that the answer lies in the inner sanctum at the heart of all three series - the autopsy room. Here the victims surrender all that is left of their unique identities, revealing the wounds and medical anomalies that led to their demise. Once they have been dissected - their ribcages opened like suitcases, brains lifted from their craniums, tissues analysed into their basic components - they have nothing left, not even the faintest claim on existence.

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