I have quite a collection of crime dramas DVDs, but if I had to vote, Waking the Dead would surely be somewhere at the top of the list. So there's the apple:
What I really like about British TV dramas (among other things) is that an episode lasts way more than 40 minutes, and 40 minutes is surely not enough to solve a crime properly. What I really like about DVDs (among other things) is that you can watch the whole episode at one go. It would be torture to wait 24 hours or even a week for the second half. Also, the discs are packed in a convenient manner, and subtitles are available. Waking the Dead has everything, that is necessary for a good drama, and even more forensics that CSI (I AM a fan of CSI Vegas). The plots are really interesting, and what's even better, different from each other. And the characters are not some "crime solving functions", but living and breathing human beings. Would you ever think of Trevor Eve doing things according to the script, when you see Boyd's totally natural and human reactions?
All said is valid for the first five episodes, also for the seasons 1-4. Sadly, there is a worm. The last episode "Cold Fusion". It's like an episode from some different series! OK, I admit, the plot is good, it keeps you like this: this one is the killer, no, that one is the killer, no, I was right at the beginning, no, I admit I was wrong... But then trouble starts. The episode has way too much "action", as if following some American examples, not necessarily the best ones. Worse, there's some stupid blabbering about the issues as serious as morality. And the worst thing is some totally stupid American-style sentimentality. Don't get me wrong, I'm not really against getting emotional, the issue is HOW and WHY you get emotional (and then, some real life tragedies DO NOT look even believable in a film). Just remember the very same Boyd in Anger Management: him, suffering, sitting petrified, silent for... well, long enough for me to think that my DVD player has stopped working. That was really moving, but NOT some stupid tearful and sentimental explanations of some stupid girl (who was far from being stupid just an episode ago), who made some stupid mistake.
That left me baffled a bit, now I'll have to watch again some other episode in order to improve impression, before I start waiting for season 6 on DVD, as I have seen none of it on TV. Let's hope that one failure is just one failure. I dare not take a star away because of this, as most of the other episodes (including seasons 1-4) are worth way more than five.