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It All Adds Up
on June 2, 2006
Yes, this is a great TV show--and I don't say this lightly. I'm not much of a TV watcher generally speaking, but "Numb3rs" has really impressed me as a quality show from the get-go. My spouse and I always make it a point to be home Friday night to catch the latest episode, so we were both pretty excited that season one has been released on DVD. Since we don't have cable, and surrounding high-rise buildings hinder antenna reception (ah, yes, life in the big city), it has been especially nice to see the episodes again, only this time in clear and crisp digital.
So what makes this show so good? Lots of things, I suppose. I particularly like the combination of Charlie and Don as a crime-fighting team, their skills and personalities complimenting each other. With Charlie you get the latest incarnation of the classic figure of the detective who uses reason and logic to solve the crime (going all the way back to Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin in "The Purloined Letter" not to mention Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes), and with Don you of course get the cop with a badge and a gun who saves the day (a mainstay of American TV for decades). That said, both actors flesh these archetypes out really well into individual characters, and their brotherly interaction (with a dash of sibling rivalry) creates just the right dynamic.
The math angle is handled extremely well, too. My spouse the mathematician assures me that the higher math Charlie spouts is for real (even if it can't quite catch the bad guys quite so efficiently--cue temporary suspension of disbelief here), and yet for a humanities type like me who knows just enough math to unbalance the checkbook the show's writers and producers do a fine job of translating such mathematics into terms that make sense to the non-expert, often using visual asides to illustrate the principles involved in clever, creative ways. In general, too, the atmosphere and character of academia (with Charlie's physicist friend and all) is portrayed pretty accurately and authentically, which is extremely rare for TV shows...and movies, for that matter.
Finally, on the more basic level, there is just the good old-fashioned pure enjoyment of watching the good guys catch the bad guys.
To make a long story short (I know, too late), this is a fine TV show that is well worth having in one's collection of DVDs.