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CSI:NY – The Sela Years*

August 23, 2013


With limited mobility because my foot is in a big plastic boot, plus a dead laptop, I’ve been unable to contribute to the internet in a meaningful way for the past 10 days. Luckily I’ve been able to wrangle my sanity with the help of Sela Ward by marathoning CSI:NY.

When the New York branch of the TV franchise first opened in 2004, I gave it a chance but faded away after season two – they killed off one of the more dynamic characters (Aiden/Vanessa Ferlito) and the story arc involving Stella Bonasera and her creepy boyfriend that she had to kill that ended in her sobbing over it during an awkward scene set to a Regina Spektor song left a bad taste in my mouth. Most characters on the show were ok individually, but the ensemble in general just seemed so dour.

I'm pretty sure this is the scene where she's accidentally pulling a gun on her teenage daughter.

I’m pretty sure this is the scene where she’s accidentally pulling a gun on her teenage daughter.

Fast-forward to season 7, after a contract dispute with Melina Kanakaredes they wrote her character Stella off (I suppose a promotion to New Orleans is better than death…and hey, why not lay some groundwork for a possible new franchise!), the show needed a new second-in-command for Gary Sinise’s Mac Taylor and in walks Sela Ward as Jo Danville.  Now, I’ve been a big fan of Ward’s since Sisters in the 90s, and while I was glad she had work, I was suspicious of her joining the mediocre show. But curiosity got the best of me and soon I was catching an episode here or there while it aired and I really loved the energy she brought – her character is just so much fun, her lightness and sass bring out the best of all the ensemble. Even hardcore fans of the show who were attached to Stella would end up admitting falling for Jo’s character. Her breezy acting style was exactly what they needed to help distract us from the lackluster writing (sorry, but as Snarky and I discussed recently, did they really need $10,000 in tech to discover a double stab wound came from a pair of scissors?!)  I particularly love whenever the show covers “trends” in New York and pop culture, everything from chatroulette to burlesque clubs to parties on tractor trailers.

Mama, can you hear me?

Mama, can you hear me?

While shippers looooooove making Danville and Taylor a couple, I don’t really see it beyond great friend chemistry. I’d much rather ship her with dorky beardo lab tech Adam or hunky homicide detective Flack, but that’s probably so I can project all my younger-man/older-woman fantasies into the work.

As of today, all three seasons of the Sela Years are currently available on Netflix Instant (i.e. season 7-9), as well as the preceding years if you find yourself getting really into it. CBS cancelled the show in May, before they could reach the 200th episode, which isn’t necessarily something to weep about, but I’m a little bummed I can’t get a weekly Sela fix. Here’s hoping some smart TV producer will pick up Ward to save their currently flagging show.

* Source: “With what I hope is @raymondj‘s blessing, I’m skipping ahead to CSI:NY: The Sela Years.” -@snarkysmachine

I don't mind a good crossover.

I don’t mind a good crossover.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 28, 2013 10:17 am

    Sela brings a pop and elegance to the proceedings that was absence in previous seasons I watched. I am so glad I jumped ahead. There’s an playful ease to her approach to Jo, which reminds of S. Epatha’s Van Buren. The sense of urgency, which seems to inform all lady cops on TV is not there. Replaced with a simmer which speaks to years of navigating the boy’s club in a way I find more engaging.

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