Thursday, February 14, 2008


I have discovered the joys of Netflix; so much so that I have a full queue. I know! I cannot add more until I delete some. Or maybe I should increase from two at a time....

Anyway; I am almost done watching the first season of Dexter, as originally shown on Showtime. CBS will be showing season one starting Sunday February 17 at 10 p.m.

The Plot: Dexter is a blood splatter expert for the Miami Police Department. He is also a serial killer.

The Good: I adore Dexter; both the show and the character study.

Dexter's adoptive parent, Harry, was a cop who recognized that young Dexter was showing all the signs of a sociopath (or is it psychopath? or both?). Anyway, long story short, instead of locking young Dexter up, Harry tries to teach Dexter to, well, be more human; to fake the emotions he does not feel; and to not kill people. As Harry realizes that young Dexter and later teenage Dexter cannot be stopped, Harry instructs Dexter to channel his impulses for the greater good: to kill only those criminals that the law cannot convict. Flashback theatre, starring a brilliant James Remar as Harry, is featured in each episode.

So that is what grown up Dexter does. The child-killing pedophile? Dexter gets him. The drug dealer who escapes conviction again and again? Does not escape Dexter.

So you cheer Dexter -- but only up to a point. Because Dexter is a killer; and the questions that haunt the show include, whether Dexter will "break" and kill outside of Harry's rules; or whether Dexter will make a mistake and kill an innocent; or whether Dexter will be caught. And the show graphically reminds you that Dexter kills. Again and again.

I think part of the fascination, for me at least (and others) is the whole idea of guilt and innocence, good and evil, as well as whether a killer can indeed by "redeemed" the way Dexter appears to be. Are serial killers born, or made? Can a serial killer be "cured"? If Dexter is so cut off from his emotions, how to explain the attachment to and respect for his adoptive father, Harry -- to the point where years after Harry's death, Dexter still follows his father's rules of killing?

Plus, hey, crime show and I love my crime shows. Even if the hero is a bit, er, unconventional.

Oh, and for the record? No way in Hell would I want Dexter as a TV boyfriend. But you know whose boyfriend he is? Darla!

Also, this is based on a series of books by Jeff Lindsay.

Switch from Showtime to CBS: I imagine that some of the murders (both the ones that Dexter commits as well as the ones he investigates) will be toned down for TV. Also, the language can be a bit much; Dex's sister, especially, is given to spouting the f word every third sentence. (I think she thinks it makes her look tough; actually, I found her rather annoying.) But that can be dubbed.


carterbham said...

This is one of my favorite shows on TV. I have mixed feelings on it going to CBS. On the one hand, I'm glad to see it get more viewers. However, as you hinted at, there's lots of rough language and some pretty violent scenes, so I'm a bit worried the censors will gut some of the grittiness from the show. Just so long as Showtime continues with the new episodes.

Renee said...

I've heard great things about Dexter and have been wanting to get it on Netflix, now that I've heard you're more in depth description of it I realllllyyy want to start watching it :)

Anonymous said...

Deb is like that in the book, too -- so adaptation-wise, it's right, but she's annoying in both versions.

The second season is also fantastic, and it's COMPLETELY different from the books. (Which, in my opinion, is a good thing -- I HATED the third book with a fiery passion.)

Anonymous said...

Michael C. Hall. The only famous alum to come out of my Earlham College.