There's a new obsession 'round the household: CSI.
We got hooked a while back and were really thankful that NBC moved the office to 8:30 instead of 9:00 because The Girl somehow wrangled the remote away starting at 9:00 every Thursday night so she (and me since we've only got one tv in the household) could watch CSI. After getting thoroughly engrossed in season whatever we're up to now (I think it's seven), we've headed back into the archives via PLCH and are up to season 2, episode 15.
I have been amazingly impressed with the writing on the show as they allow characterization of the leads to dribble out so achingly slowly over time while keeping each week's focus firmly on the case at hand. This makes for a show that can be very much self-contained, allowing anyone to drop in for an eopisode or two without feeling as though they're coming in on the middle of something (the polar opposite of the feeling I get that has kept me from seeing Lost, Jericho, or Heroes, for example). The drips and drabs, however, make for a much richer tapestry when the series if viewd as a whole - something we've been able to do thanks to the amazing DVD collection at PLCH.
I know that at least one of my regular readers has an issue with the science portrayed on the show, and I agree that things certainly move along at the speed of plot rather than at a realistic rate for most of the tests. That doesn't bother me, however, as the science is (to the best of my understanding) pretty good - it just wouldn't happen that quickly most of the time. I also understand that seeing main characters poop, pee, and stop by to pick up dry cleaning wouldn't be interesting but would certainly make things a little more realistic. Such is the nature of fiction.
It's also in the nature that the characters are perhaps more successful than they might be in real life and do a little more (in terms of polic work rather than CSI work) than their real-life counterparts would), but again, it doesn't bother me.
In the end, though, it's not a show about science or police procedures; it's a show about the main characters, and those characters are written well enough to carry the show. The actors also make sure that the characterizations hold true as they do a lot of off-camera acting, letting those who are paying attention see little things in the background and in minor moments - things that really add to the whole picture of the series.
One of my favorite episodes was this past season's "Lab Rats" as the minor character lab techs got center stage for nearly a full episode with the main characters dropping in and out of the labs to get tests run and make entertaining, non-important case revelations. The little guys got a shot at the big time, and the season's ongoing storyline of the miniature killer (warning: link contains spoliers).
I'd certainly recommend anybody hop on with the CSI train whenever they can and head back into the old episode DVDs at their leisure. For me, CSI ranks right there with The Office and Earl to make Thursday the only night of television to which I pay regular attention.
And don't go for the substitute of CSI: Miami as that's pretty much a one-note show.