I’ve been a big fan of Showtime’s Dexter since a friend recommended the series to me during the summer months. After getting hooked on the pilot episode, I quickly ate up seasons one, two and three, relishing every episode for its amazing cast, beautiful photography, and its, erm, killer script. I’m going to share with you some of my thoughts, covering a bit from each season, but I’ll leave out the specifics so as not to offer any spoilers if you haven’t watched all the seasons.
The first season does a great job of introducing the star of the show, the world he inhabits and the secret he keeps. The show uses a saga format, blending each episode into the next, giving the viewers a personal and engrossing experience throughout.
Parts of the first season that I enjoyed the most were often the little moments where Dexter tries to blend in as an ordinary, quiet forensic specialist amidst a group of overzealous cops trying to find killers who are just like him.
There’s also an abundance of comedic moments, which helps lighten the otherwise dark and grizzly nature of the show.
Season two starts with a bang that’s so loud you’re basically guaranteed to watch all 13 episodes after the opening scene!
In stark contrast to the first season, Dexter’s sophomore outing begins at a much faster pace. With the kid gloves off, the reserved careful plodding of the first season’s storyline is completely abandoned for a racetrack velocity that never slows down.
A host of new characters are swiftly introduced and many interesting interactions are allowed to happen between Dexter, his co-workers, and these new players.
Some people have remarked that season two loses some of Dexter purity. But others say the quicker pace is simply a natural progression, if you see both seasons as one continuous storyline.
With this in mind, I think the first season does a great job of setting things up for the second, allowing all the fireworks to launch only after a snowballing and tension gripped build up.
Opinions aside, season two is a wild ride with Dexter being attacked from all angles. Often, it feels like he’s juggling chainsaws while standing on a house of cards; you really begin to feel that at any moment his web of lies, cover ups and murders will come crashing down upon him. And it sort of does.
Season three has just completed, and I can say that they’ve returned the series to a style and pace more reminiscent of season one. Because of this, I initially felt that the writers had burnt themselves out, as initially, not much was happening and some segments were – dare I say – boring. But as the pieces were being set and the story began to unfold, I realized that they were simply focusing on a cleaner storyline with less subplots and characters to muddle things up. In doing so, they’ve created a highly polished product that I think is unparalleled on television today. The level of acting, directing, and script writing is nothing short of phenomenal.
In retrospect, season three seems to assume that you’re already a fan of the show; the writers don’t compromise their method of storytelling by forcing cheesy moments nor injecting meaningless action. The result is a deeper and more believable world that our star inhabits. Sometimes, I stop and think about how every character, relationship and situation is geared towards creating this believable, yet clearly preposterous reality. Eventually, if feels as if Dexter’s secret becomes your secret.
Since writing this, I’ve had the pleasure to watch season 4 and 5 of this great show. Although I feel that season 3 is the pinnacle of the series thus far, my friends insist that the show keeps getting better. Whatever the case, Dexter is still one of my favorite shows on cable TV today.