Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tube Steak: Musings on a Dexter Review

Early this morning, Quint at Ain't It Cool News posted an oddly timed review of both seasons of "Dexter". I say this is oddly timed because the second season aired ages ago. The third season is about to begin airing, I guess, but that's still over a month away. I'd imagine that the second season is coming out on DVD tomorrow, or something (I just checked, and it is), but it's sold on the site like this is an early review, which I'd hardly say is true, since the season finale aired a year ago.

Slight misrepresentation aside, I would have to say I agree for the most part with his take on the series. I do disagree on his admiration of Jennifer Carpenter, the actress who plays Deb, Dexter's adoptive sister, who I find to be irritating and strange looking, but the attraction issue is obviously a matter of subjectivity that is anything but universal*. I also thought it a bit odd to force "The Shield"--a show that I am personally a fan of--into his review of "Dexter", solely because of the anti-hero aspects of each show, where the comparisons more or less end there. To pick a review apart any further is probably a little ridiculous, though, so I'll end this moronic exercise in critical nitpicking and get to my point.

This fact became increasingly clear to me when a good friend who shall remain nameless but seemed normal to me until this point confessed not two weeks ago to his first crush being Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl in Popeye.

Quint's take on the two seasons of "Dexter" is that they're both very good (agreed), but that the simplicity of the first season worked better for him, which is totally fine. I'm certainly not saying that he cannot have this opinion, or that his opinion is wrong in any way, shape, or form. What I am saying is that I thought the first season was merely pretty good television with some really great acting and some stellar episodic writing, but it was perhaps lacking a gripping nature to its season-long story arc.

Don't get me wrong, the first season was good. Hell, it was good enough to get me to keep watching for a second season.

The second season, however, was amazing. Honestly, I am hard-pressed to come up with a season of any show (other than "The Wire") in the past five years or so that was more addictively great than the second season of "Dexter". As soon as the vigilante serial killer, Dexter, has the cross-hairs trained on him, the show becomes an entirely new level of great with intrigue at every turn and lives hanging in the balance, especially our hero's. The tension engulfs every episode as the season builds to its fruitful climax, and any viewer cannot help but feel sated at completing the second season.

My only worry is that I truly cannot see how the show can go anywhere but down from where it is now, as it reached such great heights that it would seem impossible to continue producing a show at the level of excellence it achieved last season.

1 comment:

Little Brother said...

Agreed with the Deb take. She's not attractive (may be skewed by her role in Emily Rose), and I don't really think she's any good at acting. All her scenes are forced, and I don't really buy her excessive swearing as natural.

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