Dexter: Bah

by on Oct.19, 2009, under television

Back when Dexter first started to air, it was a flawed show made watchable by Michael C. Hall’s riveting enactment of a truly creepy main character. In order to appear normal without ever needing to have sex, Dexter had chosen a girlfriend who’d been a victim of repeated rape. He was truly fascinated with the Ice Truck Killer, who was in turn fascinated with him. You could read the bafflement on Hall’s face when Dexter was forced to deal with ordinary social problems, and veiled menace or murderous glee the rest of the time. Sure, most of the other actors stank and the dialogue was often clunky at best, but Hall was in almost every scene and he made up for it.

Now it feels like Hall is phoning it in, and I don’t blame him. His writers have turned his character from a sociopath into an otherwise normal suburban guy with a nasty hobby. In the first season Dexter was detached enough from human morality to hesitate genuinely over the question of whether or not to kill his adopted sister. Now he loves his boring-ass family and has no interest at all in the serial killer stalking his city (when he should be obsessed with the guy’s track record). They killed off the egregiously bad actor who played the brawny black sergeant guy but then replaced him with the equally bad actor who plays Deborah’s pot-bellied-yet-supposedly-hot partner. I don’t care about the one office romance. I don’t care about the other office romance. I don’t care about the third office romance. Frankly, I don’t think the writers care either. By far the most compelling actor on the show right now is John Lithgow, and it’s clear his character is the only one the writers are interested in. But he’s not in many scenes each episode.

Each of the last two seasons was a step down from the one before, and this one has now gone a step too far down for me to follow.

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