Since I’ve got these put together, I figure I’d keep the content coming for the new year – It sets a nice precedent, after all. This is a piece that is really part of a series of larger rants I have regarding the second season of the show in question, but I’ll forget my concerns for a moment and focus more on the series’ intriguing future. Check back for #3 tomorrow, and the Top Two will follow over the weekend.
There has been a lot of talk about Dexter’s second season, and due to time constraints and an unfortunate inability to be able to watch the series live I wasn’t able to review it as often as I would have liked. Oddly, I remain somewhat ambivalent towards the series, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I love Michael C. Hall’s performance, the concept of the series is as strong as ever, and there was a great deal of potential realized this season with a blistering series of episodes in the latter half of the season that were amongst the best on television this year.
And yet, every week I would watch Dexter on a strange schedule: I didn’t desperately watch it the second I had time, but would really only do so when I became bored. It sat unwatched for quite some time, and only when the action truly ratcheted up did I begin to actually anticipated what would happen next. I never stopped liking the series, but I can firmly say that I wasn’t loving what I was watching.
Despite these reservations, however, Dexter is most certainly on Cultural Learnings’ list of Series to (Hopefully) watch in 2008. Not only is it a potential strike replacement strategy for CBS, who plans to repurpose episodes by editing them for network audiences, but it is also at a creative crossroads heading into a third season with something to prove.
In terms of CBS’ potential decision to air the series, it’s a weird balance of outright fear at what neutering this series will do to it balanced by an understanding that it deserves more attention. As with most Showtime series, the swearing and the nudity and the violence are part of the series’ charm: Deb’s character is infinitely less interesting when she stops saying fuck, I’ll come right out and say it. I also worry that focusing too much on certain characters (See: Rita) could turn them into distractions as opposed to parts of a larger ensemble.
But, in the end, it boils down to this: Michael C. Hall needs to be nominated for an Emmy next year. With a limited field thanks to the Writers’ strike and a series of knockout performances yet again, Hall stands as a favourite to take a category now lacking in Tony Soprano. The added exposure of airing on CBS will only help Hall’s chances, and while I think the series will struggle to make the cut I believe that he will deservedly breakthrough at the one awards show yet to be conquered by Dexter Morgan.
Creatively speaking, I think the show has an interesting path ahead of it – Hall’s performance is versatile enough for the series to head in directions unforecast by Lindsay’s novels. I view Dexter, as a character, to be similar to Jack Bauer in that you could change his surroundings and it would probably remain compelling television. When the show returns for its third season (hopefully) later in the year, I’m hoping that they can continue to find interesting directions to take this character without falling into the rut 24 has. It might have avoided a sophomore slump, but its longevity is still in question.
Dexter’s third season could debut in the fall, if the writers’ strike comes to an end. In the meantime, CBS’ plans to air the series in an edited form could be announced in the near future.
YouTube – Dexter and the Dark Passenger