Why Dexter Is Must-See TV

Having watched the first series of excellent US drama Dexter on FX, I nearly fell off my chair when I heard that ITV1, of all channels, was going to be its terrestrial home. I couldn’t see ITV doing such a brilliantly quirky and original proposition justice. Not in the way that FX did. However, I’m pleased to say that on the whole, they did the right thing.

Based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, the second season of Dexter is now airing on FX and I implore you to drop everything you have planned and watch the premiere episodes on Sunday evenings (you can also catch-up during the week). Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under) is Dexter Morgan; an incredibly likeable forensics expert working for the Miami Metro Police Department. Did I mention that he also happens to be a serial killer?

What a premise! However, the twist is he only kills murderers who can’t otherwise be brought to justice. It’s his own moral immoral code, if ya get my drift. In season one, Dexter was the hunter. Among his ‘victims’, the last person you’d suspect (unless you were watching very closely). However in season two, he becomes the hunted. A whiff of suspicion is blowing his way as far as Sergeant Doakes (played by Erik King) is concerned; Doakes is convinced that Dexter is hiding something. He’s just not sure what…yet. 

The series has rightly attracted widespread critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. New York Magazine called it: "horrifying, intoxicating, seductive and thrilling, all at the same time." The Boston Globe said: "This fiendishly excellent…series turns blood splatter into a pop art form." Finally, our very own Times gushed: "glossy melodrama, bloody grand guignol for technophile postmoderns." Gotta love The Times.

So what makes it so good? What’s the secret? The answer sounds incredibly pat but I’m going to say it anyway; Dexter gets the basics right. Key elements required for superlative drama are executed to the highest degree: writing, plot, storyline, acting – all are absolutely sublime. And I haven’t even mentioned the cinematography, the mood, the atmosphere, the tension. No wonder my nails are in a disgusting state! Special praise must be bestowed upon Michael C. Hall who fits the lead role like a glove; he exudes a je ne sais quoi, a quality of otherness in spades. This enhances the moral ambiguity of Dexter the character and makes him utterly compelling. Crucially, it’s mirrored and reflected in the series itself; ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are cleverly subverted on all levels. As an audience, we find ourselves rooting for a killer and booing the police. And that’s the rub.
Dexter, Sundays at 10pm on FX

Get a flavour of the truly excellent import Dexter by watching the trailer.

Today I am mostly lovin’ – Dave repeats of the dark but brilliant ‘comedy’ The League Of Gentlemen. Dare you watch?

Today I am mostly hatin’ – The fact that superb sitcom Cheers rarely gets an airing these days. It was soooo good in the Sam/Diane years.

MSN Editor Coops
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37 Responses to Why Dexter Is Must-See TV

  1. Michael says:

    Dexter is an awful show. Well actually the part where he kidnaps and kills (bad) people is just plain appalling.
    No matter who it is, you can\’t just kidnap and chop bad people into parts! Especially a detective/cop! The right thing to do, is to find evidence lawfully, analyze it that PD\’s crime lab, arrest that person, and give him some bad sentence.
    What you DON\’T do is torture them into confessing, and then chain saw them into parts. That\’s morbid. You can\’t bring the law into your own hands. And the way he enjoys killing people makes me worried if there\’s a guy like him in real life.
    Sure, those guys he kills really did awful and bad things. But there\’s more humane ways of doing it, and the TV show obviously doesn\’t show that. Now a bunch of people think it\’s ok to kill people just because they think it\’s all right. Really sad. It\’d have been better without that.

  2. Marion says:

    Dexter is nothing short of superb, must see TV. It is dark and delicious…faultless in every aspect of its production, absolutely THE most unmissable show on, and for me at least so much more in every way possible than the \’delightfully\’ light and fluffy Pushing Up Daisies. That\’s probably preferable to teens and 20 somethings, but I\’ll take Dexter every time thank you very much. It truly is a modern masterpiece.

  3. Neil says:

    Michael you seem to be missing the whole point of the show Dexter, this is a show about a serial killer who happens to work for the police, he has managed to drive his murderous energies into killing the people that the law has for one reason or another missed.If he was\’nt channeling his energies into a kind of poetic justice.It is not a show showing how law and order should be maintained but a compelling drama with more than its fair share of black comedy.If you find the subject matter morbid and distastful then there\’s plenty of other shows out there for you.To suggest that this show would be better without the kidnapping,torture and murder of Dexter\’s murderer victims is quite absurd as this the main point of the show.
          For me Dexter is at its greatest with his constant struggle to kill only those truly deserving

  4. richard says:

    I actually like Dexter for the comedy elements more than anything else lol I know that doesn\’t make sense but Doakes has me in stitches every time I see him. His no nonsense straight down the line hard man character is just hilarious and the things he says to Dexter are just too funny. Mousaka (sp?) and Angel equally make me laugh and the female captain\’s come ons to Dexter where also hilarious in season one-its rare you see a female character making advances to a male nowadays and her blatantness kills me: Dexter: what can I do for you captain? captain: So many things. lmao

  5. Sandi says:

    I watched the first series on ITV and it was brilliant.
    I\’m sad that I can\’t watch the recent series of Dexter on FX.; I don\’t have Sky.
    I will have to wait until ITV screens the series on TV.

  6. Leah says:

    Dexter is one of the best shows on TV at the moment. I saw the advert on ITV and so decided to give it a go and recorded the pilto episode. From then on I was totally hooked, looking forward to my Saturday mornings so I could catch up. No one else I know seems to watch it, but that\’s because ITV put it on so late at night! It\’s brilliantly compelling and the character Dexter is brilliant, because you really souldn\’t love him but you do. I can\’t wait for the new series, I just wish it was on earlier!

  7. Coops - says:

    Sorry Lori – no external urls allowed so your message is slightly edited.

    Lori13 July 16:40

    I absolutely love this programme!! I don\’t have the FX channel. But i managed to find a website that lets u watch season 1 and 2 for free!! season 2 is FAB!!

  8. G says:

    Michael for heavens sake…get a grip. It\’s an excellent programme/book, don\’t spend so much time comparing it to real life and sit back and enjoy it.

  9. Unknown says:

    Well done on your review of "Why Dexter is a must see!" – you have removed ANY need for anyone to watch season one as you have given the plot away! 

  10. Udall says:

    Totally agree about L.O.G.

  11. Coops - says:

    CriticHater – I have amended the sentence in question slightly. On reflection, despite the fact that FX has already started season two and season one finished a while back on ITV1, latecomers should enjoy the twist too….  

  12. Barry says:

    Michael, as much as I respect your opinion, you obviously haven\’t watched much Dexter to truly understand the things that Dexter does. There\’s not one message of,"It\’s ok to kill bad people" in the series. The show focus\’s on Dexters childhood, his non-emotions and why he does the things he does. It\’s not about taking the law into your own hands, it\’s all about a code that Dexter has been taught, to channel his killing desires, and it is all explained brilliantly in the show.Don\’t forget, this isn\’t real. There is no message of go out and kill anyone, or become a vigilante. It\’s a really good story, with many twists and turns, and an insight into the mind of a clever serial killer…

  13. Rebecca says:

    Hey guys,
    just thought i would say that i do not yet watch the tv series dexter, but i have been reading the books before the tv series came out and i must say that jeff lindsay is an incredible author!
    I would really recommend reading his books \’Darkly Dreaming Dexter\’ , \’Dearly Devoted Dexter\’-seargent Doakes is introduced in this one and stalks dexter. The last book is \’Dexter in the Dark\’ which i have not read fully yet. But i intend to!
    Its a perfect set of books to just sit down and admire the clever and the mysteriousness of dexter and enjoy the work of a brilliant author! I really reccomend buying these books, after im finished im going to start watching the tv series to see if they give the work of Jeff Lindsay any credit 😀
    I bid you adieu and enjoy!!
    Becci x

  14. Carn says:

    I think the show itself is fine but not brilliant.  The lead actor just irks me in some way.  Hard to explain why.  I just don\’t find him at all convincing and I wish someone else was portraying the character.

  15. jo says:

    just wondering if anyone knows when itv will be showing season 2 of this fab show

  16. Copie says:

    I Have Just finished watching the full of Season 2. Yeah Thats right season 2. After watching a few episodes, I was hooked. I Found Dexter Amazing. The acting is so believable. I am now a Dexter addict. Dexter is a must see. Esp if you can watch it without any adverts, so much better.

  17. bort says:

    i have to agree with jack the lead actor is awfull and the whole premis is morally squewed. Hes a foppish sicko and the show seems to try to make the watcher think its A ok to slice up nasty people and ingnore the law. Oh and that police officers are stupid and its ok for dexter to get away with it because "apparantly" hes charming and good looking. funny would their be a fan base if he were unatractive o no that would make him unapealling and "ugly" just like real serial killers.

  18. Ronan says:

    Just appauling really, LOST is far better in everyway at least its believable.

  19. Coops - says:

    To (no name) who asked if there was any news about Dexter\’s season two broadcast on ITV – it\’s a case of \’wait and see\’. FX hold the broadcasting rights to the first run of Dexter in the UK.

  20. Daniel says:

    I must agree with Ronan. Lost is so believable it hurts. Polar Bears on tropical islands, anyone?But on a serious note, Dexter is quite possibly the best drama series to date. Certainly the best I\’ve ever seen. The second series matches the first in terms of quality. and both are great. Michael C. Hall portrays the title character extremely well, his voice and body language are spot-on.And Michael, as you\’d find out as you go through series two, support for such a killer would be greater than some would anticipate. I know for a start that if this were to occur in real life, I\’d be on the side of such a vigilante.I\’d recommend this series to anyone

  21. Chris says:

    Dexter best program on earth, plain and simple. Michael a sublime actor, so believeable and so funny. Top marks!!

  22. Kieran says:

    "the whole premis is morally squewed. Hes a foppish sicko and the show seems to try to make the watcher think its A ok to slice up nasty people and ingnore the law"

  23. Emily says:

    Firstly, i haven\’t seen Dexter yet but i definitely intend to due to Michael C Hall\’s acting ability in Six Feet Under [anyone who hasn\’t seen this, check it out, its awesome]
    however, i am quite irked by people\’s comments about this sort of programme being influential. Anyone who takes this sort of programme seriously, and uses it as a scapegoat for their own actions, must be morally inept in the first place!!!
    it\’s just entertainment people, stop being so uptight!!

  24. kirsty says:

    i have watched both series one and two online and i have to say that this is the best series to have been broadcast in a long while. watch it, you won\’t be disappointed.

  25. Jenni says:

    I struggle to understand why people feel that it acceptable to be rude and insulting about other people\’s opinions. 
    Dexter is a good show not flawless but I would challenge anyone to show me one that is! 
    For anyone who enjoys this series because it challenges you by making you sympathetic with a flawed (murderous) lead character all I am going to say is read Nabakov\’s Lolita it takes challenging to a whole new uncomfortable place. ( for those who dislike my opinion…I am really sorry but everyone is intitled to one.  I don\’t judge you so don\’t judge me!

  26. Jenni says:

    to get in there first before annoying spellcheckers – I know it\’s spelt entitled! 🙂

  27. julie says:

    Watched both series\’ earlier on this year on line and I thought it was awesome, as soon as it had finished I realised how long I have to wait until the new series starts again.  Certainly addictive watching back to back episodes, not sure how I am gonna cope watching it weekly when it starts!!

  28. Louise says:

    In reply to "JungleWolfClub" (26/7/08), if they were people like the character portrayed in Dexter, who took the law into their own hands, ridding the world of all the scum that has brought suffering to so many lives, society would be a better place. If the Justice System isn\’t going to do it…enough said, Cracking Show, not foppish at all, Dexter all time hero, taking outa the trash in his unique way    

  29. Raouf says:

    I think Dexter is an excellent show: pure and simple. I don\’t think there is a message there encouraging similar behaviour. Unless you are the type of viewer that felt the need to find 5 other friends and move to New York back in the 90s, or go to high school in Beverley Hills or wherever. It\’s only a show: it\’s not real. Live your own lives!! 🙂 

  30. H says:

    Sorry but are you serious there\’s another series of this drivel.
    Can\’t remember when I was so disappointed – amateurish, badly written, acting thats like watching paint dry.
    Check CSI for quality drama, well acted etc – only good thing is Dexter is eye candy.

  31. joel says:

    top tv show love it

  32. Lynn says:

    Dexter !!!!! Wow !!!!  But does anyone think he looks like Doug McClure ( Sorry if you are under 55) who played Trampus in a cowboy soap-type thing in the 60`s/70`s ? (Maybe The Virginian, dunno – something like that) Well the guy who plays Dexter is a dead ringer – a grandson maybe ???? Any ideas ? The suspense is killin` me !!!!!!

  33. Sara says:

    Expect some more interesting storylines, fantastic twists and and an even better acted conflicted and confused Dexter….Keep on watching to the end! I loved it.

  34. pauline says:

    Oh I wish they would take old biddies like myself in to account with screening times. I love the show but cant keep awake much after ten or I am too squiffy to understand whats going on!
    Please make it 9pm instead

  35. Lynne says:

    Have been watching Dexter since day 1 and got hooked straight away.    Love it Love it Love it, but can\’t help thinking our Boy is going to come to a sticky end !!!!!!    As for Lynn\’s comments of the 11 August – yes I agree he has the look of Doug McClure, but if there was a connection between the two men I\’m sure we would have heard of it by now.    

  36. Darrell says:

    Lost – great show. But believable??? Com on! Dexter is good fun to watch, if you take it too seriously probably best just not to watch it.

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