Posts filed under 'Dexter'

Holy crap: The Dexter season finale

DexterIf you saw Sunday’s season finale of Dexter, chances are you haven’t quite been able to get it out of your head yet.

Do I need to say spoiler alert?  I don’t think so.

The image of Rita’s lifeless body in the bathtub — the final victim of the now-deceased Trinity Killer — was jarring to say the least. Even for me (as someone who had been mildly spoiled via Facebook), I was pretty shocked that they would brutally and abruptly axe a character that they had cultivated for the show’s entire four seasons.

While Rita never earned the title of “beloved fan favorite,” what made her valuable to the viewer was her constant presence. In fact, her presence (if not her actual character) was critical in anchoring Dexter in society. Dexter may be a slightly withdrawn, mumbling, blood tech specialist, but at least he had a cute blonde girlfriend/wife. If he’s with her, he couldn’t be that bad, right?

Now that Rita’s out of the picture, Dexter’s left untethered from respectable society. I mean, I don’t know how they’re going to deal with kid/stepkids situation, but after all the social progress he’s made over the course of the show he’s dangling on the edge of a dark abyss. It appears that next season is going to be incredibly intense, as Dexter’s personal responsibilities will take a backseat to his bloodlust.

As disturbing as that final scene was, I really like Rita’s murder as a way to energize the series. Consider previous season finales. The first two finales essentially wrapped up the preceding season with a nice bow. Last season, the show ended with Dexter’s wedding (if you recall, I thought the whole finale was a bit of a snooze). Considering they had already offed the season’s main villain (Jimmy Smits), the season finale essentially served to tie up a few loose ends (of which there were plenty — it was an off season due to all of its wandering storylines) and marry Dexter off.

At the end of the third season, I really didn’t care what was in store for the fourth season. I wasn’t excited about the idea of seeing Dexter juggle married life with his extracurricular activities (I had visions of some sort of macabre, screwball version of a family sitcom). However, perhaps I owe that season finale a debt. Because the show has invested so much in his relationship with Rita (and exploring Dexter’s confusion over whether his family was a “cover” or if it was for real), Rita’s death means that much more.

What this all boils down to is this: “Well done, writers. Now you’ve got a hell of a task ahead of you.” Everyone’s talking about the finale (which scored record-high ratings for Showtime), so the fifth season premiere will present a variety of dark options for our hero. Rita’s ghost will loom large (as if Dexter needs another one of those following him around).

1 comment December 14th, 2009

The Best of Everything: Maggie’s List of Things

2008 was a little rough for the tube. I’m hoping for good things in 2009 — the return of many favorites, and maybe even some new shows to get behind!

My Favorite Thing of the Year, and Also The Only Good New Thing

The writers’ strike was a depressing time for everyone: no work for writers, no TV for us. And it had long-term repercussions, including the current dearth of high-quality new programming. But the writers’ strike did bring us one amazing thing: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. With Neil Patrick Harris as a geeky singing evil-do-er, Nathan Fillion as a smarmy strongman, Felicia Day charming us all, and the funniest script of the year, Joss Whedon & Family have made the internet work the way it’s supposed to.

Let’s do the math: The entire musical (42 minutes, the length of your average one-hour TV show) is available online for free. I watch it repeatedly (free for me, indeterminate ad revenue for them). I buy it on iTunes to carry around on my iPhone ($5.99). I (maybe someday) buy the soundtrack on iTunes ($9.99). I get the DVD — featuring a WHOLE NEW musical commentary track, Commentary! The Musical — for Christmas ($14.99). One day I hope to buy Commentary! The Musical on iTunes, in which case they’ll get another $9.99 out of me. Basically, they hooked me with their awesome free entertainment, and subsequently I will buy whatever they want me to. Creatively and business-wise, excellent job all-around.

Also thank you for NPH’s delivery of the line “Emails!” which is how I say that word now.

Best Episode That Everyone Else Likes, Too

There’s not a lot of “event” TV any more; we’re all off in our little corners, watching TV on our laptops and twittering about facebook videos or something. So it was a rare feeling, watching Lost’s “The Constant,” and knowing in your gut that lots of other people saw it and liked it all at the same time. (You can watch it via ABC’s extremely annoying propriety video player here.) I like Lost episodes that play with the form (I admit to being a fan of the Nikki and Paolo episode), and this one played it up while finding an emotionally resonant story that built tension in the best possible way. It’s the only time this year that I was literally on the edge of my seat.

Best TV Show to Help You Deal With Your Crazy Family

The BBC America import Gavin and Stacey follows the courtship and marriage of geographically diverse Gavin and Stacey, but it’s really about their bizarre collection of relatives and friends. There’s the sincere to the point of madness Uncle Brin, the sensitive and emotional best friend Smithy, the panicked mother Pam, the dry and shock-proof best friend Nessa — this is a group of people that should not get along. They have absolutely nothing in common. And yet, for the sake of Gav and Stace, they willingly place themselves in the same room over and over again. And they end up having a pretty good time.

Diamond in the Rough Award

I’ve already talked a lot about how under-appreciated Greek is, but it’s worth saying again. This year, it was a show that I never felt hesitant about switching on — it was always going to be a treat. I don’t know if their writers aren’t in the union (it is on ABC Family, after all) or if it’s a quirk of scheduling, but they managed to put out great shows in even this year’s darkest strike-dimmed months. Yes, it is an hour-long dramedy about the running of fraternities and sororities at a fake college. But it’s also surprisingly funny and sweet. This is a show about young people that doesn’t take itself too seriously (cough-GOSSIP GIRL!-cough) and so manages to make us actually care about what happens to the characters.

Runner up: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I don’t think we need to apologize for this show. But I’ll do it anyway: sure, it’s sometimes a little on the nose, and I wish there weren’t such a steady stream of time-travelers (otherwise why not just overwhelm us with them?), but overall it’s weird and dramatic and I like it. So there.

The Wish-for-More-Wishes Award: Five Amazing Performances

And five words to sum them up.

Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother: Scheming sleaze hides sensitive heart.

Kristin Chenowith in Pushing Daisies: Itty Bitty has big voice.

Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock: Every line delivery absolutely perfect.

Stephen Colbert in The Colbert Report: Crazy person bends truth, reality.

Jennifer Carpenter in Dexter: Duped foul-mouth best sister ever.

1 comment January 8th, 2009

Dexter season finale: Serial killing ain’t what it used to be

dexterweddingDexter capped off its third season Sunday night with a snoozer of an episode that was the culmination of an uneven season. Twas disappointing.

The season never really found its focus, floundering among multiple plotlines that never really converged in a compelling way. Last season achieved this feat in an astounding fashion — convincingly (if not realistically) allowing all of the disconnected elements of the season play off one another until they all resolved themselves in an explosive last few episodes.

No such luck this time around. There were indeed a variety of plotlines:

  • In Dexter’s personal life (the “play within the play” if you will allow me to be pretentious), he was dealing with Rita’s pregnancy and his impending marriage
  • There was the case of The Skinner and Deb’s romance with a key witness
  • Most notably, there was Miguel Prado and his friendship with the ‘real’ serial killing Dexter

Then, there was Angel’s romance with a fellow cop, Batista’s complicated friendship with Prado and on and on. There were no shortage of plotlines, but few of them really fully developed or meant anything by the end. The biggest example of this phenomenon was the introduction of the pretty useless (if quite hot) character Quinn. He had an interrupted flitation with Deb and an investigation going after him, but all roads led to dead ends.

The season finale ended without a lot of action. In fact, practically none considering the climax of the season occured on the penultimate episode with Dexter finally taking out Miguel Prado. The Skinner met his end in a hurried fashion and most of the episode seemingly revolved around Dexter’s navelgazing self-analysis — accompanied by hallucinations of his deceased father (who, frankly, is wearing out his welcome with his constant meddling from the beyond).

None of this would be tremendously upsetting if the second season hadn’t ended so spectacularly (killing Lila in gay Paris!). Perhaps next season will further some of the abandoned plotlines from this season, particularly the vague sense of mystery surrounding Quinn.

Any other thoughts?

UPDATE: Via John’s link to E! Kristin’s interview with Clyde Phillips. He basically defends the show from people like me who wanted explosions and mayhem.

Some of the blogs were disappointed [in the finale]. Not enough blood. They didn’t want any subtlety. We stand by what we did, and we did a good job. We didn’t want the ending to be the way it’s been the first two years, where the audience was expecting that whatever the problem in Dexter’s life would be dispatched in the last episode in some wonderful, high-energy resolution. We did that in the episode before the last episode. Then we allowed the audience to think, ‘Oh my god! (A) What is going on, because this isn’t the way Dexter is going to end, and (B) What the hell are they thinking of? What are they going to come up with?’ So it was a conscious decision to kill Miguel Prado in the second-to-last episode.

I get it — that ending every season with an orgy of blood and abnormal psychology might make the show a little less deep than it is. But I still stand by the idea that the overall rising action of the season never really materialized into a great payoff.

December 17th, 2008

Preview: The new season of Dexter

Like a breath of fresh air, here comes the teaser for the premiere of Dexter. Of course, it’s not exactly fresh air as it is air reeking of stagnant pools of blood and the tension of a tortured non-conscience.

Hooray for moral ambiguity!

The next season of Dexter promises more character development and more “how’s he going to make his way out of this one” misadventures.” However, the thing I like about Dexter is that it never feels monotonous. One would think the conceit of having a serial killer constantly try to hide his habit would grow one note — like a morose episode of Frasier (for some reason I feel like that show always relied on those elevator baby plotlines about trying to cover up unfortunate situations with elaborate lies). Actually, now that I think of it, I think it would be pretty funny if Niles had been a persnickety serial killer the entire time.  He was always talking about Maris — who was actually stuffed and kept propped up on a pile of babydoll heads.

Was that too much?

But I digress. This season stars Jimmy Smits, back on the market after the unfortunate demise of the middling drama of last season, Cane.

Take a look.

2 comments July 29th, 2008

Dexter: Guerilla advertising gone creepy

I like to think I have a high tolerance for the macabre.

I’ve always liked scary movies (in fact, a mutual love of horror films prolonged one of my doomed relationships for a good two or three weeks). I’m usually designated as the person who watches gruesome scenes to let the others know when they can open their eyes. I was known to watch those surgery shows that they aired in the late nineties where they’d just film the sucking-out of polyps.

That said, I really think that this new guerrilla marketing campaign for Dexter is a bit much. I present my case…

Exhibit A


Questionable taste in the celluloid is one matter. Traumatizing the unwitting citizens of Portugal with violent stabbings?  Maybe not.

Exhibit B[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

This is just disgusting.

I’m not necessarily grossed out by the idea of blood seeping through the plumbing — that old hat for haunted houses. I just think that the concept of blood and urine intermingling is pretty sick.

Coincidentally, I was actually just thinking the other day about how brilliant last season’s poster was. Way to make me feel weird about it, Showtime.

However, the new season does start Sept. 28 — which is much sooner than I was expecting.

1 comment June 26th, 2008

What should you be watching this summer?

It’s mid-June. Like seriously.

And while it’s been a few weeks without new network programming, we’ve barely started into the chasm of summer programming.  There’s going to be a lot of steaming crap out there, but it’s not all for naught. Or, as a TV blogger, I like to think that there’s something out there worth writing about.

As such, here’s a bit of a guide to things that you can watch this summer only feel moderate guilt.

minor_l.jpgIFC: You probably get IFC and don’t take advantage of it. However, there are a ton of movies on it that you’ve been meaning to watch forever. Plus, there are reruns of The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman (right, in bras), which is an incredible series (full post TK).

Bravo: What the hell were we doing with our lives before Bravo reinvented itself as the gay network?  Kathy Griffin’s My Life On the D-List and Project Runway both have new episodes this summer.

Lite reality TV on cable: We, here at TiFaux, are somewhat skeptical of reality TV. Me, admittedly, somewhat less so — but we all like to keep a safe distance from network offerings like Wife Swap or the celebrity-eats-itself shows like Living Lohan. However, there are some decent, watchable diversions available. There’s The Mole on NBC (get it before it’s gone, folks) as well as Bravo-esque competitive reality shows on HGTV and Food Network. Design Star and The Next Food Network Star are both very much “Hey, guys! Me too!” as far as unoriginal formats, but when you’ve got a winning formula, interesting cast members and high production values, it’s hard (at least for me) to not be somewhat charmed.

The Olympics: First up, two words: men’s gymnastics. Rowr. Something you have to look forward to this summer on TiFaux is posts where I e-catcall the athletes saying things like “ride that pommel horse, son” and “I’ll show you a floor routine.” It’ll be totally lecherous fun. But, more to the point, it can be quite fun to get caught up on the fervor. And, if you’re like me, you can get swept up in some uncharacteristic unabashed patriotism. Even if you aren’t necessarily into watching big gymnast arms, there are plenty of sports for everyone to enjoy.

The Daily Show coverage of the presidential election: Historically, The Daily Show’s election coverage has been some of its best material. Like all creative-types, they work best when they’ve got something to say and it’s hard to not have something to say all about the election tomfoolery going around.

Catch up on DVDs of TV shows: There’s a ton of shit you haven’t been watching, most likely because it’s on premium cable. Weeds. Dexter. Big Love. I can vouch for at least the first two — and you can totally burn through each of them within two weeks. Weeds has three seasons of about a dozen half hour episodes (less than that, if you count the theme, credits and the fact that they clock in at like 27 minutes). Dexter has two seasons of hour-long episodes (about 10-12 each). These shows are both coming back and deserve your attention. There’s also stuff like Damages, The Closer and Rescue Me — shows that I have never watched because they’re on weird networks, but have earned a substantial critical following.

5 comments June 13th, 2008

The More You Know: Unexpected charity edition

February 29th, 2008

The More You Know: Pauly Shore isn’t dead edition

1 comment February 22nd, 2008

My flat tone in this post doesn’t really reflect my enthusiasm for Dexter — which is real

What’re you doing over the long weekend?  I don’t know what I’m doing either.  I’ve seen most of the movies I want to see (Persepolis is so good, guys) and I can really only do one drunken bender per weekend.

If you’re similarly conflicted, why don’t you catch the premire of Dexter on CBS. It begins at 10:00 on Sunday — here’s a “never before seen” clip that a publicist sent us.[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

It’s dark stuff. They had one clip where he’s all hackin’ up the guy’s face so he can get his “souvenir” blood slide. So much fun.

Oh my god, I just looked up and Roz from Frasier is on one of the Law and Order shows. That is neither here nor there.

But you should watch Dexter — and then Netflix the second season when it comes out.

February 14th, 2008

The More You Know: Nancy O’Dell edition

Oh, Nancy.  Nancy, Nancy, Nancy…

2 comments January 14th, 2008

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