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.
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