Sadly, Season 15 was a shortened season, and at this point there's no news on a renewal for Season 16 . . . and that got me thinking. I started thinking aloud last night, telling my wife the idea, but it kept growing as I slept, and I think it's really quite good. :)
If CBS is a little shy about another season, then I'd take the 24: Live Another Day route and do a shorted 'event' type of season that can run for consecutive weeks without interruption. I'm thinking around 8 episodes would be perfect to maintain the momentum and still provide the fans with a pay-off. As for how you make it event, well let me share my thoughts:
- Bring back Gil Grissom. It's what the fans have been clamoring for, and it's what would bring back the most viewers. I'm not just talking a cameo, but give him a starring role. Keep D.B. Russell around (I think Ted Danson has done an amazing job of rejuvenating the series), but find a way for the two to work together on solving case.
- Season-long serial killer arc. CSI has always been good at dragging out a 'big' storyline, but it gets so watered down by filler episodes that you often forget the details. No filler, no side stories, and no interruptions. Come up with a solid storyline, something dark and daring that will really challenge network television, and let it be the focus of every episode.
- Crossovers. CSI has a long television pedigree, with 2 spin-offs that lasted between 9 and 10 seasons. Perhaps the serial killer has been at it for decades, crossing state lines and avoiding too much notice in any one jurisdiction. Have Gil and D.B. start connecting the dots, then have them visit Miami and New York for an episode each, and even pay a visit to Nick in San Diego for one of the final episodes. Make it a franchise event. Assuming Cyber makes it through a first season (which I doubt), then have them involved as well.
- Cameos. Obviously, you can't bring back every character, or else the show becomes more about the people than the story. Having said that, give us a scene with Gil, Sara, and Lady Heather; another with Hodges and Wendy; one with Nick and Catherine; and another with Captain Brass and Conrad Ecklie; and I think a lot of fans will walk away happy.
- Nobody dies. Don't cheat the fans, and don't go for the easy out in creating a little dramatic tension. Yes, there needs to be a certain amount of peril to maintain suspense, but don't kill off, maim, or otherwise remove (i.e. the ever-lame coma) any of the main characters from the storyline. Let them all be there at the end.
- The inside-out visuals. Part of what made CSI so cool in the early episodes was all of the visual from inside the body. We saw bullets impacting bone, blood flowing, and organs rotting. For a police procedural, it was heavy on the effects, and that made it unique. It's something we haven't seen as much of in the last few seasons, but I really think it would help reconnect with those first few seasons.
It may never happen, and Nick's goodbye may very well be the series goodbye, but after 15 seasons of dedicated watching I really do think we deserve one big, final, kick-ass season that pays homage to all that's come before.