Starting with the Panny you've been renting... That particular model has been around a few years - and while *only* standard definition, is definitely on the "professional grade" track. Low compression video (DV format onto miniDV tape), LARGE lens, LARGE 3-CCD imaging chip array, all the requisite manual controls easy to get to on the outside of the camcorder. The large lens and 3-chip system are keys to better low-light behavior (your "drama" work). The comedy stuff can work with LOTS of light, so not too much of a concern.
As we look through your requirements, your budget puts us in the high end of consumer camcorders - not pro grade. In this area, the lenses and imaging chip (most times single chip; even the 3-chip systems in consumer cams) will be much smaller. Expect reduced low-light behavior (the result will be grainy video being captured). As well, the XLR audio-in connectors are replaced by a single, stereo, 1/8" (3.5mm) audio-in jack. This can be adapted for use with XLR connectors using a XLR adapter - but is something you need to know about (see juicedLink and BeachTek).
Going with a dSLR is one way to go. You have noticed the "artifact issue" with high compression video - this is not isolated to dSLRs, but pretty much any camcorder that captures high compression video. It has to do with the way the frames and the compression deal with the video data. These "artifacts" are less when the video format uses less compression. DV/HDV, DVCPRO/DVCPRO HD, HDCAM/XDCAM, and a few others are the more common low-compression formats...
The "sleep timer" on the dSLRs can be dealt with. This just means the cam sleeps when not in use. Camcorders do this, too. When recording - obviously - it is working so it will not go to sleep. Maybe I don't understand why this is an "issue". In my opinion, another potential issue is the video file size limitation many flash memory or hard disc drive camcorders (and flash memory cameras) have - this is a camcorder "operating system" (in conjunction with some computer operating systems) item and can segment the video files. Video data is not lost in the process, but something of which you should at least be aware.
I sincerely appreciate the dSLR's ability to take great stills - that is what they were designed to do. In my opinion, video capture is a "convenience feature" that some are capitalizing on - but if you want good video, my recommendation would be to use the devices designed for video (which happen to take not-so great stills)... As well, and as with camcorders, the dSLRs that can capture video may or may not have a (1/8" - 3.5mm stereo) mic jack. And as far as I can tell, only those at the higher end have any manual audio gain control.
Since you are using a MacBook Pro, it does not really matter that the Panny HDC TM700 "is hardly compatible with any editing software in the market"... As long as it can be used with your MacBook Pro and the versions of Final Cut or iMovie you use, that is all you need.
The Sanyo CG-10 is a pocket camcorder. Under good lighting conditions, it should provide fine video - but we don't necessarily capture video under ideal lighting conditions. No manual focus and extremely limited depth of field control. No audio inputs and no manual audio control mean external audio capture and syncing - not a bad thing but an additional editing step. Personally, if you are comparing the DVX100 to the CG-10, I strongly suggest you continue your investigation and get a better understanding of your real requirements. All the sample video I can find for the CG10 is brightly/well lit. If you truly believe a $200 "toy" will meet your needs, great - after using the DVX100, I *think* you'll be setting yourself up for failure/disappointment. But that is just my opinion.
Standalone or camcorder mounted? LEDs are good. Dot Line has an inexpensive camera-mount LED array. Lite Panel makes good AC-powered standalone lights (but they can be expensive).
There is no single "best" mic. A decent shotgun from Sennheiser or Audio Technica is preferred - they use XLR connectors. A boom-pole and shockmount is strongly suggested. Wireless lavalieres are VERY handy. I use Sennheisers. Audio Techinca makes good ones. Whether you need/want portable base stations (recommended) is up to you - otherwise, the rack-mountable (or desktop), AC powered base stations (with XLR connectors) work fine.
bhphotovideo and adorama are good, reputable sites... there are a few others.
We can go down the "hard drive storage" path...
Have you ever had a hard drive fail?
Do you know how much room video needs?
Is your expectation that 5, 10 or 15 years down the road that the archived digital video will be available?
Do you know what RAID1 means?
If you had a computer 5 years ago, did it have an external drive? What happened to that drive?