The Original, aka :Las Vegas or :Crime Scene Investigators, has always been my fave, and I think contains consistently the strongest writing and best acting.
I also like how the franchise flagship continues to develop the characters and their relationships, but never in the kind of forced way New York does it or with the almost soap-opera approach of Miami.
Unlike the Law & Orders, these shows have really separate philosophies, more than just the different city settings. Law & Order sticks a lot closer to the formula and tone across the different incarnations, but each CSI is very obviously its own beast.
I've always like the characters in the Vegas version; the women are strong but real; the guys are talented but they have their own issues.
In an early season, the writers played with a gambling addiction for Gary Dourdan's Warrick Brown, and an alcohol problem for Jorja Fox's troubled Sara Sidle.
But I think they realized that the strength of the show would be more in smaller points of human weakness, and they've continued to up the ante with some very realistic interactions.
They've also continued to keep some of the quirks that made the character set unique. Gil Grissom (William Peterson) may have lost a few of his edges - he hardly ever talks about bugs anymore - but Wallace Langham's Hodges continues as one of the most entertaining and odd characters on TV.
As for the premiere itself, the show really outdid itself with sparse dialogue and some really beautiful long shots. I appreciated it probably more esthetically and emotionally than anything else. It was not an action-packed fast mover, but it really got under my skin.
There was some very good acting, and I think they've tipped their hand also to some of the complications to be introduced this season. Sara's kidnapper has got away, and Grissom is facing up to his own feelings for his injured co-worker.