Horray! New season of Dexter! Oh wait, I don’t care anymore…

My personal fav is Jeffrey Dahmer... BUT DEXTER IS A CLOSE SECOND

5 or 6 years ago, I was super into Dexter.  Dexter was the Breaking Bad of Showtime.  It was fresh, smart and entertaining.  I waited with baited breath for the next episode, and I was dying for the next season.  Dexter though, has just entered its sixth season and is totally showing its age.  For you know nothings out there, Dexter is a series on Showtime that follows the character Dexter Morgan, who is a serial killer that works for the Miami police as a blood spatter specialist.  His father, who was also a cop, knew that there was something off about Dexter at an early age.  Rather than repress Dexter’s murderous feelings, he teaches him to channel them through a strict code that, not only allows him to keep from being caught, but also teaches to only kill people that “deserve to die”.  Usually these are people that somehow escape the law.  Each season has Dexter hunting a main target (aside from the small fries along the way), and each season has only a few loose ends so you are pretty satisfied with what you are given, yet have something to look forward to in the next season.

Now, the first two seasons were SPECTACULAR.  I was on the edge of my seat with each episode.   All the characters on the show only added to the main drama.  Some of them were as important to the story as Dexter himself.  I have a feeling that these two seasons were so great because they were actually based off books from which the series came from.  The major difference between the two is, Dexter in the books is unable to feel anything and is essentially a static, unchanging character.  Dexter in the series, although mostly robotic and awkward in his interactions with people, has a twinge of humanity left in him, which ends up confusing him and allows his character to develop slightly. Fans of the books have expressed their dislike of this, however I think that this allows for more interesting television.  TV is not the same as reading.  Things are conveyed differently, expectations are different, the way you engage with the characters is different as well.  So making Dexter slightly more human, I believe, was necessary.   So do yourself a favor, if you haven’t already, get the dvds of the first two season of Dexter and watch the hell out of them.  I’d also recommend the forth season, which was also excellent.   The third season was a bit weak and is skippable, although you might want to read a summary of it so you can be caught up for the forth.

Unfortunately, Dexter suffers from American TV syndrome.  Unlike the UK, American TV shows love to stay on until they suck, rather than quit while they are ahead.  Every season, the writers of Dexter have more and more trouble keeping the show from becoming repetitive.  Focus slowly veers off of Dexter and his “night life”, and focuses more on office drama involving his boss and his coworkers.   Let me just say, I have ALWAYS hated his boss, Leguerta, but in the first seasons, she was meant to be hated because she was a bitch.  Now I hate her because not only is she still a bitch, which at least made her a fun character to hate in the past, but she is a boring character, and her story line is entirely inconsequential to Dexter’s story and takes up way too much screen time.  Why on Earth, should anyone watching the show care about her power struggles at work?  They almost NEVER get in Dexter’s way, so why should we care?  And her romances?  Same deal.  We watch the show to see a murderer sneak around, killing other murderers.  We DO NOT watch the show, to see some crazy lady act like a retard and have office romances.

I’d be able to overlook this, and have, if Dexter’s story was actually interesting, but it isn’t.  Last season really started dragging, and the writers have basically exacerbated any and all of their ideas for which way to take Dexter’s character.  He just isn’t growing anymore.  He has become stagnant.  Oh sure, he still has social quandaries to confront (what are beliefs? Why do people have them?  Why are they normal?), but I just don’t care anymore.  I remember  watching British shows like Spaced, and thinking, “Man I wish there were more seasons.  I wonder where the characters are going to go next?”  That always irritated me, to have to feel that way.  But now I understand why stories sometimes finish open ended.  It is sometimes better to leave the final chapters of a character up to the viewer, (or the reader) because that can actually be more entertaining than actually being given the answers.  So if you do start to watch Dexter, do yourselves a favor.  Watch up through season 4, then use your imagination after that.

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7 thoughts on “Horray! New season of Dexter! Oh wait, I don’t care anymore…

  1. scottodactyl says:

    I still like Dexter, but it has definitely gotten knocked down a peg in terms of quality. Definitely stems from like 45% of the show being about his sister (awful character) and his boss Laguerta (the worst character on television for the past few years). But I still like the 55% about Dexter. Even if it’s not as good as it was in his peak. The villains in season 6 seem kind of bad ass actually. Recreating the 4 horsemen with corpse parts? Kinda sweet.

    YOU CAN’T COMPARE EVERYTHING TO BREAKING BAD. That’d be like comparing every mafia movie to Goodfellas, you will always be let down in comparison, enjoy more things!

  2. travelerms says:

    I feel this way about How I Met Your Mother. That show was pretty good in the first few seasons, there was real drama at the thought that Ted (who may be the worst character of all time) may, in fact, meet the mother; there was a certain level of tension in Marshall and Lilly’s relationship and Barney was still charming as a gay Doogie Howser who liked to bang chicks. But now they are dragging it out and I know that there is no chance that anything meaningful will happen episode to episode.

    I hate to jump on the bandwagon of “UK shows are better than US ones” but it really does seem to be true. Criticize Seinfeld as much as you will the show purposefully did not live long enough to see itself become terrible.

  3. shelley says:

    the show sucks now. last season was really bad, all over the place, I had hopes for this season since they got rid of the writer of last season. It has gotten bad because at the end of rita’s death, the executive creator/writer left the show.
    That changed everything. They got rid of his sudden replacement for this season, but honestly this season is bad. I don’t care about it, and I usually fall asleep during it.
    so sad

  4. John says:

    You’re spot on about the 1st and 2nd seasons being the best. I thought the 2nd season was the best of the lot.

    That season with John Lithgow was entertaining in parts, but it was showing its age as you suggest at that point. It’s a shame as what would have been a great couple of seasons have turned into something repetitive. I don’t care about it anymore.

  5. ZKafka says:

    Well first off, only the first season had anything at all relevant to the novels, after that they went their own way with the series.
    I think the show has aged a little bit but certainly isn’t bad by any stretch, and the fact that Deb now knows Dexter is a serial killer is a huge deal, definitely makes the show a lot more interesting, and a lot less about office romances…

  6. Vance Hiner says:

    It is very sad to see such a creative show become a parody of itself. The show has been uneven for a while now, but the last 5 episodes are just cringe worthy. The writing is so bad that even this incredible cast can’t salvage it. Now my wife and I are actually fast forwarding through sections….yawn. We’ve come so far, it’s only morbid curiosity that compels us to stick it out for the “grand” finale.

    It’s nice that at least the producers of shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men know how and when to finish something special.

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