Kate (mskatej) wrote,

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New show: Dexter. (Thanks elsmoka!!)

I have many mixed feelings about this show. Some non spoilery commentary behind the cut.

There's no denying that this is well made television. It's witty, smart, unique, extremely well acted, quite well written (more on that later), fabulous to look at and with a creepily compelling premise. I've watched three episodes so far and I do plan to keep watching. Mostly because it stars Michael C Hall, who, since my Six Feet Under marathon earlier this year, has become one of my favourite actors. And he's as marvellous in this as he was in SFU. I'm delighted that he's found such a strikingly original show and is playing such a fascinating character.

However... Dexter is a character I could never love. I can love the character in an abstract way, in that I can appreciate that the character is FANTASTIC, but I could never *care about him*. Simply put, psycopathic anti-heroes ain't my stick.

And here is where the problem with the show lies for me: I have an innate aversion to its premise. The glamorisation of serial killers isn't something I care for, or find amusing (despite the fact that Dexter is often *very* amusing) and it's something that makes me uncomfortable. It certainly keeps me at an emotional distance. This show appeals to our basest, most voyeuristic natures - we're inside the head of a sociopath and we get to go along on the ride, experiencing his joy first hand at the violent slaughter of both guilty *and* innocent people. We get to feel that glee along with him, and I'm sure a lot of people will adore that about the show. But for me, it's why I'll never love it like I love shows like Friday Night Lights or Prison Break or Battlestar Galactica. Shows with *heart*.

Dexter is an ice cold show about a man who murders without compunction or conscience. It's a biting (yet still quite broad) satire, laughing at its audience for laughing at it. There's a contempt for humanity on display in Dexter. All of the characters in it are pathetic in some way; none of them are easy to love. Dexter is the most likable and he's a coldblooded killer!

One of the main weaknesses IMO, is the voiceover. I generally don't like voiceovers because it's a lazy method of storytelling and, as an intelligent audience member, I resent having everything explained to me. And the narration in Dexter is extremely heavyhanded. How many times does he have to tell us that he's a monster, he's empty inside, he doesn't feel, he's not human etc etc etc...? I get it already. In episode 3 we see Dexter at a funeral and he explains to the audience why he finds funerals difficult (because he doesn't understand grief and therefore can't fake it). This has the odd effect of connecting us to him (because we're inside his head) and alienating us from him (because we can't possibly understand what that's like). He's the one we're supposed to identify with yet he's impossible to identify with. I do think a scene like that would work better without the narration (a lot of them would), because then we would start asking questions. At the moment, we don't engage on an intellectual level with the show because it spells it all out for us, and really the show needs its audience to engage on an intellectual level, because we sure as hell can't engage on an emotional one.

Despite these reservations, I'm finding it extremely entertaining and I'm morbidly curious to see where they go with it.

On a shallow note, MCH is FIT. He's really been working out for this part and he looks super hot without a shirt on.

Who else is watching the show? What are your feelings on it?

Tags: tv: dexter
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