Ranking the Shows I Watch – 18: Dexter

29 Sep

Dexter is a show that more than any other show I watch is season-based.  What I mean is that, within each season, the show is entirely serial – watching episode 6 in any season out of context would be absolutely useless (although Dexter has the longest “previously on” catch ups of any show I’ve ever seen – maybe this is why), but you could more or less, with a short catch up, watching season 3 without having seen the first two.   Each season has a very distinct set up – Dexter, serial killer of other serial killers and police blood spatter expert, goes tet a tet with a major villain of the season, who causes Dexter to look inside and deal with who he is to successfully deal with the villain.  Each season also has a primary serial killer, which the entire police force is dealing with, which, depending on the season may or may not be Dexter’s villain.

This past season a lot of people were disappointed with the show, feeling either that it was a pale imitation of the internal battles for Dexter’s soul of earlier seasons and/or they didn’t buy this new relationship Dexter was developing, particularly with Julia Stiles.  Personally, I felt that the show was still good and compelling, but that it was definitely also the weakest season yet and it made me continue to wonder about the writers’ ability to keep coming up with new ideas.  Dexter’s internal battle was the weakest of the seasons and the season kind of felt more written by numbers.  That said, there were absolutely some good points.  Johnny Lee Miller was a definitely highlight of the season, as the sociopathic leader of a group of childhood friends who torture and kill attractive young woman, who also doubles as a hugely successful motivation speaker (Jordan Chase’s (Miller’s character) constant refrain of “Take it now!” was easily the most repeated line from Dexter amongst my friends).  Another was Peter Weller as the sleazebag suspicious detective Quinn hires to go after Dexter, but who goes rogue after Quinn attempts to fire him.  Weller was delightfully despicable, but the way they wrapped up his plotline was rather unsatisfying and felt too easy.

Of course, what always prevents Dexter from being quite as great as it could be is that when he’s not on screen, the show often takes a step down.  Particularly the boring, frustrating and pointless feeling relationship battles between Angel and Maria laGuerta, which cause my brother, when watching the show to literally just skip them, are just not up to par.

Why It’s This High:  Michael C Hall is fantastic, as is the Dexter character, and the show, based on its premise should be way more repetitive than it somehow manages to be

Why It’s Not Higher:  It’s hard to prevent it from getting at least a little bit repetitive, also Dexter is great, the rest of the characters are just okay

Best Episode of the Most Recent Season:  I wish I remembered the episodes a little bit better, but we’ll say “Take It” in which Dexter and Julia Stiles track one of her attackers at one of Jordan Chase’s seminars

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