I've been watching the TV show Numb3rs lately and I enjoy it immensely. But me being a math geek and this show being obviously meant to appeal to such I'd like to explain why I like it.

But let me first give a brief review of Numb3rs. Numb3rs is a crime show about an FBI agent solving cases. To his aid he has a mathematician who tries to explore various patterns in the crimes and can help solve the cases. Hence the name Numb3rs.

I started watching the show mid-season and watched about two episodes when I sort of decided that I didn't quite like the show. I thought the math part was pretty dull and this whole thing with the mathematician trying to explain the mathematics pedagogically was pretty lame. But then I thought I should give the show a second chance and started to watch it from the beginning. And all of a sudden I was hooked.

I had the wrong expectations on the show when I started watching it. I hoped the math part would be really savvy but I was greatly disappointed. The real strength in this show is the characters and how they develop. As it turns out the FBI agent and the mathematician is not only colleagues, they're also brothers with the FBI agent being the older brother. This in itself makes for a very interesting relationship between them. Add to this couple their father who's another important character in the show. He has seldom anything to do with the cases, he's just there as a part of the brothers lives. On top of this we have two other FBI agent working together with our main character and a rather eccentric physicist who is a friend of the mathematician. All of this makes for a very good mix of characters and the show is really about the lives of the two brothers who happens to be colleagues. The focus being of course on their work together. So I think that the thing I like about the show is this very well-balanced mix of character development and crime solving. The math part is just a bit of extra spice which makes it even better.

So what about comparing this show to, say, CSI? I think it is difficult because they are rather different. Numb3rs is better on the character development and gets interesting because one cares about the lives of the characters. CSI is better on the crime solving part and excels in the juicy details about the crime. I like the atmosphere in Numb3rs better but I also really like the really slick production of CSI. So I'm not going to pick a winner between these two.

Well. All in all I can very much recommend Numb3rs. Even to non-geeks.


logovo said...

Hmmm, this made me think I should explain my squees about the show to potential viewers. I have to point out it isn't the math that is interesting but the relationships.

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