TV Series Review: DEXTER – Season 1 (2006)
There have been countless attempts at getting a superhero TV series off the ground, some have been successful, others have not. More recently SMALLVILLE finished its run and showcased the younger years of legendary superhero Superman. However, the problem with superhero/vigilante fiction is that they always focus on bad guys who have powers or grandiose ambitions. Very rarely have we seen a character who is an everyday guy, isn’t a former spy/marine/etc, deal with the criminal underbelly of the world, and dishing out the appropriate punishment to them. This comes in form of the acclaimed HBO show, DEXTER.
DEXTER is awesome. Pure and simple. However it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, mostly due to the graphic nature and gore. With all the vigilante fiction out there, we rarely consider the mental repercussions of going out into evil everyday and dealing with murders. Everybody loves Batman, but very few get how fucked up he’s gotta be to do what he does. Sure, cops do it all the time, but in a controlled manner, complete with rules and procedures. I’m talking true vigilantism. An eye for an eye.
DEXTER is a show about a forensic technician, who, on his free time, kills serial killers. Not just kills, but carefully premeditates their murder, disposal of the pieces of the body and even keeps a trophy as keepsake. Sounds familiar? The lead character of Dexter, played by Micheal C. Hall is exactly what he rids the world of, a serial killer.
Adopted by a decorated police officer who finds a toddler Dexter at a crime scene, he has a murky past and a fucked up personality that enables him to have the cold and disconnected nature that allows him to kill other people, who truly deserve it.
The show works on many levels. A series about a good guy that kills bad guys, without remorse is refreshing as hell. Especially in a world where even anti-heroes are shown to have some sort of a moral compass that they struggle with, to the point of irritation. The heavy subject matter of the show is balanced with the uber funny moments where we see Dexter juggle his personal life, consisting of an emotionally damaged girlfriend and her cute as hell young kids… along with his night time adventures of killing people. Combine that with the fact that he’s a forensic expert working for the local Miami PD, just enhances tension about the fact that he’s going around blatantly murdering shit loads of people unchecked.
You would think that the novelty of a guy constantly killing people would wear off, however it doesn’t. At all. The reason behind it is the fact that Dexter has layers that go beyond just the gruesome deaths. With every kill there’s a lesson, a moral. Following the typical formula of each episode progressing the story forward in some way, DEXTER does that by having the cold lead character learn more about himself. His self reflection into his past, his origins, his core persona and why he is the way he is, goes deeper with each episode. He’s completely emotionless, to the point where he claims even smiling and making small talk with people takes extreme effort on his part, as he doesn’t understand majority of emotions of human beings.
DEXTER works are a great show that doesn’t hold anything back. Season 1 does a great job of introducing Dexter to the audience, and the main conflict of the season is also something that gives us further insight into Dexter… instead of just doing his origins for 12 episodes. Pure awesome, and now that it’s out of the way… Bring on more deaths…
Get Season 1 on Blu ray