My first post of 2010 is about season 4 of Dexter, which seems wrong really, but don't worry it's mostly negative.
I'm not a particularly big fan of Dexter because the subject matter is too ghoulish for my tastes, so really, to end season 4 and Rita's life so repulsively, with a freaking baby sitting in an ocean of blood, means I'm pretty sure I'm not on board for next season. Not that I haven't tried to give up before, only to mainline entire seasons in a matter of days (the previous two thanks to my flatmate Suz, season 4 thanks to boredom), but I just cannot see myself getting past the baby thing. It wasn't shocking so much as gratuitous. The brutal murder of Rita wasn't shocking so much as disgusting. And I feel like I deserved it, because I chose to watch a show dedicated to glorifying serial killers so, you know, what the hell did I honestly expect?
My main complaint, though, is still the incessant, insulting voice-over, which distracts from the drama and precludes any kind of intellectual analysis, because why bother thinking about a character who insists on telling you absolutely everything going on in his head, as well as everything going on in his scenes? Sometimes Dexter even narrates out loud! Just in case we're not paying attention. Thanks show, but I can see for myself that Arthur locks his daughter in her room, because the camera just lingered on the padlock on her window and then on the lock on the outside of her door. Yet Dexter still tells us, in a hushed, horrified voice, "he locks his daughter in her room!" Well duh. That's not something a person would ever do, that's the writers, through the main character, explaining to the audience in small words the very thing they just showed us. Are Dexter fans, in general, a bunch of passive morons who enjoy being talked down to? I watch this show and it keeps me at a distance, because without the possibility of interpreting the drama I'm being shown onscreen *for myself*, I just sit there, numbly entertained, and I don't engage emotionally or intellectually. Granted, without Dexter constantly talking me through every single thing he does, I might just find the drama too suspenseful, because there's no denying that the visual storytelling in the show is superlative. But I tend to have one of the same two thoughts every time Dexter speaks to us: 'Yes I can see that' or 'I would love to have *wondered* what was going on in his head then'. Heck, Michael C Hall is such a good actor it's a damn shame his performance is being constantly explained to us; it would be much more powerful otherwise.
Consequently, the strongest, most emotionally resonant scenes in the series to date have been those between Deb (my favourite character) and Lundy. Imagine my disgust when they killed him off! Of course, it led to the best scene of the season: Deb breaking down in the car park, which was truly powerful, and a testament to what a wonderful, achingly vulnerable, actress Jennifer Carpenter is (she's one of those rare instinctive, generous actors, who has chemistry with everyone). But killing Lundy? Not cool.
I'm so over this show. Hopefully.
I also watched Jennifer's Body last night, which sucked. In an entertaining (but really bad, do not take that as a recommendation) way.