Dexter – The Best Show on TV

Two weeks ago, I was visiting the excellent horror film review site the Arrow In The Head and saw a round up of the newest horror, suspense, or just plain cool releases on DVD. One of the new releases caught my eye: the first season of the Showtime original series Dexter.  What about it caught my eye? Well, to start with the cover artwork surely did. But then I read about the premise and found myself instantly hooked. You see Dexter is a black comedy and crime drama that follows the life of one Dexter Morgan who works for the Miami-Dade police department as a blood spatter expert. He also happens to moonlight as a serial killer – one who only targets other serial killers.

From the product description on Amazon:

Dexter is based on the compelling novel “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay. Orphaned at the age of four and harboring a traumatic secret, Dexter Morgan (Dexter Morgan (Emmy®- and Golden Globe®- nominated actor Michael C. Hall from “Six Feet Under”) is adopted by a police officer who recognizes Dexter’s homicidal tendencies and guides his son to channel his gruesome passion for human vivisection in a constructive way – by killing those heinous perpetrators that are above the law or who have slipped through the cracks of justice. A respected member of the police force, a perfect gentleman and a man with a soft spot for children, it’s hard not to like Dexter. Although his drive to kill is unflinching, he struggles to emulate normal emotions he doesn’t feel, and to keep up his appearance as a caring, socially responsible human being.

I put Dexter on my Netflix list, but got impatient and so last Sunday, my wife and I rented the first disc from Blockbusters. My wife was worried at first because the show doesn’t flinch when it comes to showing the gruesome crime scenes left behind by serial killers; however, by the end of the second episode she too was hooked. Why? Because this show is truly a gem of TV. It is incredibly well-written. All the characters are very realistic and well-fleshed out with their own interesting story-arcs that mesh well together and with the season’s quite compelling overall story arc. The acting is top notch all around with a truly excellent ensemble cast. Special kudos go out to the incredible performances by Michael C. Hall as Dexter and Julie Benz as his girlfriend Rita – a damaged single mother of two kids.

The writers of the series have created a very cerebral and well-pieced together show that keeps you coming back for more. They make clever use of foreshadowing and metaphors to enrich the whole package while using the fascinating concept of the show to explore how people interact with one another and what masks we all wear to hide our true selves.

Speaking of which: it is truly fascinating and hilarious (in a dark and morbid way) to watch Dexter try to pretend to be a person with normal feelings and desires and to hear his inner monologues contrasted with his conversations with those around him.

My wife and I were so hooked by this show that we found that we couldn’t wait for Netflix to deliver each disc and instead wound up renting the last two discs from Blockbuster as well.

Now we’re doing the unthinkable (for people who have avoided premium cable for five years) and ordering Showtime – all so we can watch Dexter Season Two which starts on September 30!

Do yourself a favor and rent or buy Dexter Season One! It’s truly the best TV show I think I’ve had the pleasure of watching.

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