Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Math Geek. I’m closer to the opposite of that. And I’m not fond of cop shows either. What I do like though, are mysteries. And puzzles. Hence, I’m a big fan of the show Numb3rs, which is about an FBI Agent who has a genius brother who uses Math to help him solve crimes. Yes, it’s almost just like CSI, except instead of science, they use Math. And it’s not the police (or the scientists who work for the police, as is the case with CSI) who does the math, but a handful of professors in the local university.
I don’t actually know much about CSI to be able to give an accurate comparison, but from what I’ve seen of the shows, I think the reason I don’t like CSI (BTW, I’m only talking about CSI Las Vegas and not NY or Miami) is because the criminals they deal with are too, er… Sick. What I mean is, they’re too difficult to understand, and the things that happen are too unlikely, so it’s very hard to predict who’s the real killer, or how the victim died. I guess this is where its strength lies. Unpredictability is of course, what’s good about a mystery. Personally though, I don’t really like it when something is too unpredictable, because that also makes it very unlikely to happen. And I don’t know, even if it’s fiction, I guess I like the “What If” situations to have answers that will really make you think of what you’d do if you were in that situation, because it could actually really happen to you.
In Numb3rs, because the focus is more on how Math functions as an aid to help the police find their suspects or be one step ahead of the criminals, then the stories aren’t all that sick and twisted. It’s even kind of funny sometimes, because it gets real predictable, but it’s entertaining to watch still, because of how they use computations and the laws of science and all that, to explain how a certain person died, or which bank the robbers will hit next.
Of course, if you watch the episodes consecutively, you get tired of all the cerebral mathematics stuff, all the explanations, the analogies and the sound of gunshots, but I think what really keeps me entertained, and the main reason I like it better than CSI, is because of the cool characters they have.
Although Don (Rob Morrow) and Charlie (David Krumholtz) are brothers, they have very different personalities, and it’s interesting to see their sort of power play against each other. It’s Brains and Brawn working together, but then there’s also times when they’re working against each other. Because Charlie is a child prodigy Math genius, he’s been given more attention by their parents as a kid, so Don feels neglected. However, because Don is good at sports, charming, and has more friends (or at least, had more friends, when they were in high school), Charlie still wants to prove his worth, despite his already being a genius.
The rest of the cast is just as fun to watch. Because Don and Charlie come from two different worlds, Don the FBI, and Charlie, the Academe, it’s great to see how their friends, who are also very different from each other, interact with one another. And their dad (played by Judd Hirsch), who is a civil engineer (and therefore is good at the mental as well as the physical stuff) is the one to bridge the gap between them.
Season 3 is so far the best season for me (I haven’t seen 4 yet), mostly because it has more of the human drama in it. In the previous 2 seasons, the focus of the episodes were more on the cases they handled, and the story between the brothers and their friends were mostly just fillers, however in the 3rd season, there was more character development, and we get to see more sides of the cast than has been shown before.
You don’t have to take my word for it, of course. I’m sure CSI is more dynamic and they have more ideas, and their characters and plots are more flexible. But I like it when things aren’t all that complex, and Numb3rs, having its interesting Math equations, psycho killers and sibling rivalry, is just the right mix of elements for a good murder mystery/mind puzzle for me.
(L-R) Don (Rob Morrow) and Charlie (David Krumholtz) Eppes
P.S. I actually can’t decide who I like better– Don or Charlie. I’m normally partial to geeks (so that means Charlie), but Rob Morrow is really cute (especially when he’s smiling, it’s like he’s a competely different person). I’m not saying David Krumholtz isn’t cute, I guess I just don’t like curly hair that much. Hahaha.