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.