To its credit, CSI Cyber does try to mix up the formula of the show. As the name implies CSI: Cyber chooses to focus on cyber crime. At first, this would seem like a rather limited area to focus on. Thankfully this isn't true. Across the thirteen episodes that make up Season One, the cast manages to deal with an impressive variety of cyber related crimes. One episode may deal with kidnapping while the next might deal with arson. The key is that each one of these crimes was caused by hacking in some way.
The downside to focusing on cyber crime is that generally speaking, the perpetrators do not know the victims. This changes a dynamic that was crucial to the original CSI. In CSI, the story unfolds as the main cast spend time investigating the scene and the people who knew the victim. This means that we get to know characters that only show up for one episode. In particular, this attention benefits the perpetrator of the crime in terms of storytelling. Meanwhile, the cast of CSI: Cyber spend relatively little time talking to the victims and they have no real need to go to the scene of the crime. All of this combines to make the crimes committed in individual episodes feel less focussed on the people involved.
As a failing, this is made up for by the quality of the cast. The actors all play their plays well and they have a natural chemistry with one another. We get some glimpses into the lives of these characters and what drives them. These revelations fuel a few of the episodes, both in terms of quieter moments and the main plot. Between them, the cast do a good job in making up for the weaknesses in the structure of the show. They are able to inject real tension into scenes that may have lacked it.
CSI: Cyber is a fun show, and in its own right it might have seen another season. The problem is that it comes off the back of CSI and was expected to carry what was once a massive franchise. Ultimately, CSI: Cyber may be judged by the expectations of its predecessor when people look back on it. If you can go into it without preconceptions though you might still have a good time.
Extras: CSI episode 1421 "Kitty"/ Iit can happen to you: Season 1 of CSI: Cyber/ Welcome to CTOC: Encoding CSI: Cyber/ CGI-Cyber; Tech Tools of the trade/ Gag Reel: A bug in the system/ Deleted scenes/ Audio commentary on select episodes/ Launch promosCSI: CYBER - COMPLETE SEASON ONE / CERT: 15 / STARRING: PATRICIA ARQUETTE, TED DANSON, JAMES VAN DER BEEK, SHAD MOSS, PETER MACNICOL / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 27TH