'CSI' goes frakkin' 'BSG' on us

I always enjoy the few CSI episodes every season that feature the supporting players, the “lab rats” — in this week’s case, Wallace Langham’s Hodges and Liz Vassey’s Wendy. The premise of a murder committed at a sci-fi convention wasn’t original, nor was the idea that Hodges and Wendy, as cerebral hard-workers, would be geek fans of a 1960s Star Trek-like show called here Astro Quest.

What was clever was the way the plot mirrored the history of Battlestar Galactica: on CSI, a producer was taking the campy old version of Astro Quest and turning it into a new, grungy, “realistic” Astro Quest. And sure enough, the teleplay was written by two former writers for BSG, David Weddle and Bradley Thompson. In the CSI story, someone kills the producer; the CSI crew assumes it’s a fan outraged at the perceived desecration of a “classic” old show.

Guest stars included one of BSG‘s big-bads: Kate Vernon, who played Cylon Ellen Tigh. CSI added another layer of cleverness by making Vernon’s character here an academic who quotes the deconstructionist philosopher Jacques Derrida and says things like, “Killed by one of the signifiers he sought to subvert!” Ha!

The interplay between Hodges and Wendy was dandy, as well as subject-appropriate-sexist: as an adult fanboy, Hodges had daydreams in which we see Wendy in various skimpy futuristic costumes. (These also stirred memories of Liz Vassey’s superbly witty and sexy performance as Captain Liberty in the 2001 sitcom The Tick.)

I also liked seeing, as one of the suspects, a distinctly non-sci-fi presence: Liza Weil — Paris on Gilmore Girls, always a welcome TV sighting.

But I’m not a super-knowledgeable science-fiction fan, so I’m sure some of you out there will tell me who else appeared on CSI last night from the sci-fi world: I thought I spotted Grace Park (BSG‘s Boomer) in the crowd. Were there other luminaries at that convention I missed?

And in general, did you think this was a strong CSI episode?


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  • jcarla

    You forgot the best cameo. After showing the scene for the new show, the first person to say ‘You Suck!” was Ron Moore himself!. When I realized that applied BSG to a Star Trek like show I wondered if the BSG producers were having a flashback watching this. Evidently, they were in on it.

  • Mark F

    Ron Moore, the BSG showrunner was also in the crowd.

  • Lala

    Jamie Ray Newman (Stargate Atlantis)
    -Grace Park (BSG)
    – Ron D. Moore (BSG)
    – Kate Vernon (BSG)
    Were also in the episode

  • NoToGokey

    i thought Grace Park will have a big part tonight, anyways good to see her, i like her!

  • James L Howlett

    This was great. Ronald Moore’s “You suck” line was classic.

  • Megg

    Rekha Sharma was in the background in one shot.
    I liked this episode. CSI needs episodes like this to shake things up everyone once in a while.
    RDM’s line was perfect.

  • Adam
  • Dubage

    I enjoyed this episode alot, with the subtle/not-so-subtle lampooning! Good to see the show keep it fresh and let some of the “proven understudies” take center stage once in awhile and both Liz Vassey and Wallace Langham knocked it out of the park! And I think that most of the BSG folk that I saw were already mentioned…. Good job!

  • Jason

    I was just finishing watching the show when my roomie got home. “Is it alright?” she asked. “It’s, actually, awesome. No leads to be too cool for school.” was my anwser. Learn a leason CSI.

  • Fish

    Ron Moore has said in interviews that he received a very hostile reception when he first showed the revamped version of Battlestar Galactica at a scifi convention. If I’m not mistaken, someone even told him he sucked, so his cameo was an ironic mirroring of history.

  • Kristy Tru

    This is one of the best CSI episodes I have ever seen. I really really enjoyed it. Keep it up writers. I like Hodges and Wendy interplay.

  • Theresa

    It was absolutely, dead-on, hilarious. From “He’s dead, Jim” to all the cheesy space sets, skimpy costumes and torn Captain’s shirts, it was a wonderful homage to Star Trek (with a hint of Galaxy Quest tossed in). I wasn’t a fan of the new BSG, but appreciated the references to that show as well. Loved seeing Hodges lighten up a bit. Yes, the best CSI episode post-Grissom.

  • Adam

    Wendy looked pretty hot too in those outfits.

    http://tvdonewright.com/2009/04/17/tv-tonight-friday-april-17th-2009/

  • J. Norman

    Just about every episode that focuses on the lab rats is a good one. Hodges and Wendy have a surprisingly good chemistry that makes you root for them. Hodges has a ways to go on the social interface path, but he’ll get there. Wendy is a geek at heart, but you wouldn’t know it just looking at her. They are quite an odd couple, but do seem to be made for each other.

  • Arlene Germain

    it stunk big time–whatever happened to the original writers’ great storylines? the show has run its course, and fishburne can’t act worth beans. give marg her own show–she outgrew this crap ages ago.

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