Apparently I do still find the occasional anime series interesting past half an episode*. Death Note is the first series I've seen in some time that has caught my attention and leaves me waiting for the next disk from Netflix. There are fantastical elements, but they are kept bound and the focus of the story is squarely on character development and psychoanalysis. It's a fairly dark series: the per-episode body count is generally in the scores, but isn't unnecessarily graphic or violent. There are (so far) no mecha, obnoxious women, gratuitous anthropomorphized sidekicks, or romantic plots. People are killed whom you don't expect to die, and the two main characters are both very smart, which leads to plot twists that are very entertaining to try and predict. As a bonus, the writer of the series works under a pen name and his true identity is unknown.
Apart from the lack of mind-grabbing soundtrack, this reminds me of Noir, another series with a high body count, few annoying characters, and (generally) well written plot.
* While I did make it through an entire episode of Rin, I think that had much less to do with the story quality and more to do with being immobilized by plaster.