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Agent Richard07 September 18 2011 05:14 PM

When I first heard about Dexter in 2006, the premise really got my attention. A show about a serial killer starring Six Feet Under's Michael C. Hall? Interesting. I wanted to see it, but never did. I would then spend the next five years listening to others talk about the show and how good it was. This kept my interest alive and even raised my excitement over the years. Well, in July, I finally took the plunge. I have now caught up on Dexter and here's what I have to say about it...

Season 1

I put in that first DVD with great anticipation that I was going to be watching something great, given half a decade of hype and word of mouth. So, now I'm watching and I'm unimpressed. I wasn't enjoying the show and wondered how I was going to get through the next few seasons. I even considered giving up, but I slogged on. Dexter Morgan was fascinating enough. For a serial killer, he was a well developed and convincing protagonist and I enjoyed the bits of insight into how his mind worked, but I wasn't blown away. The show was mearly "watchable". Then the Ice Truck Killer arc really kicked into high gear and I found myself enjoying things a bit more. I figured out that the doctor guy was the killer early on, maybe by his second appearance, but I still found it fun to watch everything come together for the characters. In the end, as predicted, we got our Dexter/Ice Truck Killer showdown, ending with Dex taking him down. OK, now I've seen the first season. It wasn't riveting television, but at least I've had my taste of Dexter.

More on season 1...

- I had high expectations, really high expectations and I'll admit that this contributed to my disappointment. Five years of anticipation can do that.

- The show had a somewhat quirky feel, almost like a dark comedy, something I didn't know going in.

- I really liked Doakes and the way he was onto Dexter. He was one of my favorite characters and came off like a bit of comic relief.

- The show can be quite predictable. Not only did I figure out who the Ice Truck Killer was, I knew Angel was going to get attacked for getting too close to the truth.

- Rita was more meek and mild than I expected and I didn't know she had kids. I should also mention that I was spoiled on the fact that she gets killed at the end of season 4 thanks to it being revealed in a thread title in this forum.

- James Remar is a nice addition to the show and I liked the glimpses into Dexter's past via flashback.

- Dexter's mom looks like Rita. I thought there might be something to this.

- Dexter's breakfast of ham and eggs in the opening credits, and his love for steak got me to prepare a similar breakfast and eat a steak dinner one day. Yum.

Season 2

I took a few weeks to get to season 2. Having been unimpressed by the first season, I was in no rush to go on. All I have to say is that this season made me a fan. It was relentless. I'd finish one disc and couldn't get the next one into the DVD player fast enough. I even watched six episodes in one sitting, only stopping because I had to go to bed. Fantastic arc with Dexter's handiwork under investigation and Dexter under pressure to keep everything from unravelling. As expected, it ended with Dexter winning the day, but the journey was fun to watch. I didn't know how they'd top this season, it was so good.

A few observations...

- I thought that Dexter finally got Doakes off his back when Doakes walked in on the drug meeting.

- I liked seeing a season's worth of Jaime Murray. I liked her on Hustle and thought her character Lila was pretty sexy in that free spirit sort of way. I also liked the reveal that she was in fact a pyromaniac and using a drug addiction as a cover just like Dexter was.

- Speaking of sex, it looks like Dexter's hangup was just dropped with no real explanation or transition.

- When Doakes was back on Dexter's trail, I knew he was getting too close and would figure out what Dexter does. I also figured that Dexter would have to bring him in on his secret life as a killer and make him an ally of some sort. I never figured that Doakes would get killed off. I thought he was too untouchable a character for that that to happen.

- I wondered... Why didn't the cameras catch him in the marina before.

- Seeing Keith Caradine, I thought he would have made a good Trek captain. Then I remembered that he was.

- The characters are left believing that Doakes was the Bay Harbor Killer. Pretty heavy stuff for a TV show to leave hanging there. And Poor Doakes. I was rooting for Dexter, but I still felt bad for Doakes, his mother and sisters, and the rest of the police force.

- I liked that Dexter's boat was called "Slice of Life". Haha

Season 3

After having seen season 2, I couldn't wait to get to season 3, and as usual, I went in knowing absolutely nothing. Oh, look! There's Jimmy Smits! He looked like he'd be a formidable adversary for Dexter if that's the way the season was going to go. Imagine my surprise when his character slowly became the crazy friend and killing buddy. The whole thing made the show feel even more like a dark comedy in the vein of Eating Raoul. I was just as riveted watching this season as I was the last.

- I knew that Miguel's first kill would give Dexter the excuse he needed to put him down in the end. Predictable, but I didn't mind.

- I preferred the flashbacks with Harry that we got in seasons 1 and 2. It was a good concept and I felt that there was still a lot to be explored there. We never did learn much about Dexter's adoptive mother for example.

- The new baby didn't surprise me. The season 4 DVD cover spoiled me on that a while back.

- My favorite scene: Dexter spazzing out after findind out that Miguel betrayed him. I mean wow! I didn't know it was a mind sequence at first. I was wondering how he'd explain that outburst. Wish I could find a YouTube clip.

- I was concerned for Dexter when he was captured and thrown into the trunk. Then I laughed when he jumped out to punch the perpetrator and it was Musaka. For a split second, I thought they had cut to another scene when I saw him being punched. :rommie:

- I was really starting to warm up to and like the supporting characters. Except Quinn. I didn't like him at all from the start. Too cocky and passive agressive.

- Watching this season was the first time I noticed that Dexter doesn't wear an undershirt, yet they have him putting one on as an integral part of the opening credits.

Season 4

Now I was up to season 4 and all I knew going in was that Rita dies at the end. The girl at the video store said this was her favorite season when I was at the checkout. So, I'm watching and I see yet another serial killer that Dex would have to take down, but again, it was fun to watch and John Lithgow was fantastic in the role. There was also more of Dexter trying to keep his double life from unravelling, which somehow doesn't get old and keeps things interesting. Then in the end, the moment I was anticipating (or dreading) happened... Rita was found dead. At first, I wasn't even sure that Arthur had done it since he didn't mention it when he was facing his own death on the table, but I figured... yeah, I guess it was him. That was it. I was wondering how the show would go into a fifth season without Rita. And what about the kids?

- I liked the side story about the officer who killed her family because they became too much of a burden.

- Batista's relationship with Barbara was just dropped and so was the issue of Rita's first marriage. At this point, I realized that the show has a bad habbit of dropping things.

- I don't know why Dexter felt that he had to go to two Thanksgiving dinners. The whole thing made little sense and felt a bit contrived.

- Dexter moved into a house, yet the apartment is still in the opening credits. Made me think that they'd have to find a way to keep the apartment in the show and sure enough, they did. :rommie:

Season 5

I was happy to see that season 5 picked up right where season 4 left off. I was afraid they'd jump ahead. I wanted to see the fallout from Rita's death, and especially how it affected the kids and Dexter's relationship with them. I was told that this season wasn't very good, and a few other comments I've seen here and there suggested the same, but I found it to be a mostly solid and enjoyable season. Maybe low expectations and some caution played a role this time. It was also the first time I couldn't see the outcome a mile away. I didn't know what would ultimately happen to Lumen and I didn't know how Dexter would deal with Liddy being onto him. Anyway, I finished the season a few days ago. I am now caught up with Dexter and can start reading all sorts of press that I had to avoid all these years.

Despite my liking this season, there were several problems...

- Where was Rita's mother? Her daughter just died.

- I like how Dexter manages to have good luck with things working out in his favor. Luck like that does happen and it's believable, but this time around, having Quinn get suspicious then deciding to back off didn't totally ring true. Then it got worse when Liddy was onto Dex and didn't tell Quinn what he found, all just to serve the plot. Then the luck angle went even further off the rails when Deb meets "Bonnie & Clyde" face-to-tarp and decides not to make the arrest.

- Another issue I had was why didn't Quinn just confess to knowing Liddy? He didn't kill him and he wasn't doing anything illegal, so why not just confess to the nature of their relationship and what they were up to?

- HeadHarry was there, but at this point, it's clear that they don't really have a use for him.

- Liddy was killed in the heat of the moment in self defense. It was effective, but I was expecting something more clever that didn't violate Harry's code.

- I said that I didn't know what would become of Lumen, but partway through the final episode, I knew that she'd have to leave and that we'd get some sort of excuse for it.

There was also some good stuff too...

- Going into the season, I didn't know what role Rita's kids would play, but they handled most of it quite well. They were sent away in a believable fashion, then Astor was brought back for a pretty good storyline, and finally, the healing process in the end was done nicely. The only part that was contrived was when the grandparents and the kids showed up and the kids weren't disappointed or even phased when Dexter had to leave yet again.

- Speaking of the grandparents, I take it they were Paul's parents? The deal with them was pretty much glossed over.

The Verdict

In the end, I love the show and despite it's few issues, I'm firmly onboard as a fan. It's got a compelling and convincing protagonist played by the right actor, and it's both fun to watch and insightful. It gives us a good and sympathetic look into the mind of someone who's basically disconnected and who struggles with social norms and conventions, something I'm sure most people can relate to at times. It can't be easy to make something as extreme as a serial killer look sympathetic, but this show does it with good writing and the right tone. Harry's Code helps too. I have to mention that. I'm looking forward to season 6.

What do you think of the show?

P.S. I didn't know the show was shot in L.A. I found this out after having watched five seasons. I thought they shot on location in Miami. They did a pretty good job of making me think it was Miami.

P.P.S. I wasn't overly impressed with the theme song the first time I heard it, but it grew on me and started playing in my head. The montage is also pretty nice, the way it plays with murderous imagery turning out to be Dexter's innocent morning routine.

RoJoHen September 18 2011 07:23 PM

Re: Dexter
I found the first season to be incredibly boring and predictable. I stopped watching about 8 episodes in. I tell people that, and they can't wrap their heads around it because they all love it. Maybe it gets better, but I was so underwhelmed with what I had seen that I don't care enough to find out.

auntiehill September 18 2011 07:52 PM

Re: Dexter
I love Dexter. I knew very little about it going in, and that's probably what hooked me. I love Michael C. Hall's portrayal, and the voice-over narration he provides. I find it fascinating to watch him playing "public" Dexter, while we hear the true "inner" Dexter speak to us. I like how the audience can see things about Dexter that perhaps the character himself doesn't want to admit about himself.

There are three levels to the character that are constantly in play, and Hall handles it beautifully. I enjoy the gruesome humor, the office politics, and the fact that a serial killer is also a "vigilante hero" of sorts.

The show certainly isn't perfect. Too much time is spent with characters like LaGuerta and Quinn, and I don't think they add much to the show. The "ghost" of Harry should have been phased out much sooner. But, I'm looking forward to seeing where the show goes next. Is the nanny going to be a major player? Who is the Colin Hanks character?

I think this show only had a one season left in it....two at the most. It should probably wrap up soon. I'm not sure how they could possibly end this and have it feel satisfactory...but I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Temis the Vorta September 18 2011 09:50 PM

Re: Dexter
Welcome to the club! :evil:

Michael C. Hall makes the show. Whether or not you like it will probably hinge on whether you find him personally riveting.

I loved S1, despite being thoroughly spoiled on everything. I think there's a vibe to S1 that they didn't successfully continue in subsequent seasons, mainly the notion that Dexter is a truly scary and dangerous person, who could be seduced to become a "bad" sort of serial killer. Instead, the show has been flirting with the notion that Dexter could in theory be reformed, which I think would be a betrayal of the show's premise. Also this season had more effective black humor. S2 also had some, but I've noticed it getting less and less, which is a shame.

S2 is my favorite of the series. Lila was a stupid character (she was obviously a plot contrivance more than a character, I hate seeing that) but the season-long conflict between Dexter and Doakes was great stuff, especially the scenes in the cabin.

S3 was the season when I realized Dexter isn't always going to be awesome. :( The notion of contrasting Dex with a killer who masquerades as an upstanding citizen was good, but the execution was off.

S4 was back to fine form. I wasn't spoiled on Rita's death, so that was a shocking scene. (I'd heard that the finale had a "big" death, and I was actually worried it could be Deb, or worse, one of the kids.) I thought Rita's death was a setup for a season when Dex really goes off the rails, something I still want to see. Of course when they take that step, there's no going back, so they'd need to be prepared to end the series within one or two seasons.

S5 - eh, didn't care for it. Dexter in full meltdown would have been far more gripping. Lumen was too much of a victim for this show. It might have worked if she'd become more of a psycho because of her experiences, perhaps even a danger to Dexter. Having Dexter be hunted by someone who he thinks is an ally, or possibly is falling in love with, would be an interesting plotline. The ending, with Lumen being "all better," was just bullshit. That's way too much of an easy out for a show like this. I'm really concerned that the writers are losing their nerve and pulling their punches.

S6 - I've decided that this show is no longer worth shelling out for Showtime, so it's back to Netflix DVDs for me. Maybe if S6 turns out to be back to form, I'll relent and start subscribing again, but they have to win me back. No more pulling punches. I also hope they aren't going to try to drag this story out so long that it loses its oomph and turns into a procedural.

I also was amazed to learn they shoot the show in LA. Much of the housing (and of course the beaches) looks very similar in both cities, but I had no idea there were wetlands/swampy areas around LA that could sub for Florida.

RoJoHen September 18 2011 09:51 PM

Re: Dexter

Temis the Vorta wrote: (Post 5233082)
Michael C. Hall makes the show. Whether or not you like it will probably hinge on whether you find him personally riveting.

This must have been my problem, because I thought he was so boring. His "I'm a scary serial killer" voiceovers made me roll my eyes every single time.

Temis the Vorta September 18 2011 09:53 PM

Re: Dexter
Yeah - if the lead was some actor I didn't care for, I wouldn't be watching this show either. There are plenty of shows people rave about that I bail on for just that reason, like Fringe. If you don't care for the actors, then it's all over.

RoJoHen September 18 2011 09:57 PM

Re: Dexter
Really, the only character that I liked was Rita, but that might just be because I have a hardcore Joss Whedon crush on Julie Benz. :lol:

I pretty much couldn't stand any of the other characters.

auntiehill September 18 2011 09:57 PM

Re: Dexter

I also was amazed to learn they shoot the show in LA. Much of the housing (and of course the beaches) looks very similar in both cities, but I had no idea there were wetlands/swampy areas around LA that could sub for Florida.
^Yeah, there are some obvious location shots in Miami (like the causeway), but apparently most of the show is shot in Long Beach. I was pretty surprised to learn that.

timothy September 18 2011 10:07 PM

Re: Dexter
I don't know how many here have tried the books but there awesome.

Temis the Vorta September 18 2011 10:17 PM

Re: Dexter
I've read the books, and it's a strange experience since that Dexter Morgan is a distinctly different person than the Dexter of TV. The book Dexter is more sinister, sardonic and self-controlled.

You don't get the sense that Michael C. Hall brings that a) there's a really good person under the psycho layer and b) he could really go off the rails someday. There's much more tension in the TV Dexter, which makes him more compelling to me.

Also, the book plotlines go in wildly different directions from the TV show, not necessarily good ones. :D

timothy September 19 2011 12:32 AM

Re: Dexter
I know and the kids get really screwed up in the book series as well.


LitmusDragon September 19 2011 02:42 AM

Re: Dexter
I think the genius of the show is that they've made the Dexter character so sympathetic. I never expected to be rooting for a serial killer. :lol:

Technobuilder September 19 2011 06:49 AM

Re: Dexter

I never expected to be pondering a rationalization for why a serial killer that kills serial killers (and other general baddies) could be in his own odd way a good and in fact decent person.

I think my favorite episode is still when Dex spotted the child predator scoping Astor at the grocery store and decides to take care of it.

Mr. Laser Beam September 19 2011 11:36 AM

Re: Dexter

Technobuilder wrote: (Post 5233909)
I never expected to be pondering a rationalization for why a serial killer that kills serial killers (and other general baddies) could be in his own odd way a good and in fact decent person.

Does Dexter ever make mistakes? Has he ever killed an innocent person?

spinnerlys September 19 2011 12:26 PM

Re: Dexter

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: (Post 5234084)

Technobuilder wrote: (Post 5233909)
I never expected to be pondering a rationalization for why a serial killer that kills serial killers (and other general baddies) could be in his own odd way a good and in fact decent person.

Does Dexter ever make mistakes? Has he ever killed an innocent person?

Yes, he killed at least two innocent persons, one in series 3 and one in series 5.
The first one was an accident, and the second one was out of misguided rage.

I will watch the sixth series, but I guess Dexter and Deborah will still not find each other this time. At least they offer some good guest actors (EJO and Mos and some others).
We'll see, and probably be still somewhat disappointed by the end of the sixth series, as always.

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