Produced By: Sarah Colleton
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter
So I became addicted to Dexter on blu-ray. I didn’t care for it the first time I tried it on television but on blu-ray I was hooked. It took seeing it in that format for me to connect with the style of the show, the mix of horror, comedy, and procedural cop drama.
Dexter is a blood splatter specialist for the Miami Police Department during the day and he’s a serial killer by night. These dual lives make him the best at both. As a killer he has a better understanding of the methods of killing than anyone else he works with at the police department. As a blood spatter specialist and employee of the police department he knows better than most other killers how to appropriately cover his tracks. The first season was a set up for this gimmick for the most part. That season also set up Dexter’s back story revealing through flashback how Dexter’s adopted father, a police detective, understood Dexter’s need to kill and taught him how to do it right and how to protect himself. The main story of that season was that of another serial killer that seemed to know too much about Dexter. The Ice Truck Killer continued killing all season and taunting Dexter the whole time.
Season two picks up soon after the Ice Truck Killer story arc completed. Dexter’s sister is still traumatized by her interactions with the killer. Everything seems to be settling down for Dexter until a couple of treasure hunters discover the area in the ocean where Dexter has been dumping his victims. After 18 bodies are recovered an FBI task force is brought in to investigate the Bay Harbor Butcher. Thus the main story for the season begins. There’s not a lot of evidence in these body parts but the small bits that do come up cause a whirlwind of problems for Dexter and he must work behind the scenes to foil the task force at every turn.
While Dexter is working to thwart the task force he’s also dealing with Sgt. Doakes, a detective that never trusted Dexter and now feels that Dexter may have more to do with these murders than anyone knows. Doakes was a character I hated in season one. He was just too campy and over the top in that season. Now though he’s a better focused character and he’s obsessed with Dexter, to his own detriment.
If all of this weren’t enough Dexter’s girlfriend Rita, his lifeline to humanity, believes that Dexter may be on drugs. In order to try and save his relationship and cover his late night activities he rolls with it and admits to being addicted to drugs. So, to satisfy Rita he attends AA meetings. These meetings are interesting because he finds himself trying to use them to deal with his true addiction, killing. At one point
Season two of Dexter is a huge step ahead for the series beyond the first season. The stories are tighter, there are more subplots that don’t just feel like filler and the execution of the episodes as far as pacing and cliffhanger endings are much improved this season. Dexter is sort of the MacGyver of serial killing. If there’s one complaint it’s that sometimes he’s just a little too clever. There are a few instances where he seems to know everything and he’s able to predict everyone’s next move. It doesn’t happen often but it does crop up once or twice throughout the season. Another issue that some might have is that Dexter is portrayed as the hero. It can be a little challenging to sit and be supportive of a murderer. When this show is doing its best work it makes you support Dexter and that’s an odd feeling.
This season is presented in full 1080p HD in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. When I tossed the first disc of season one into my blu-ray player I was blown away by it and season tow is the same. It can be a real shock to the system with some blu-rays when you flip right from a standard def TV show over to the HD disc because the detail level is so high. The brighter scenes feature fantastic detail and colors pop off the screen. This series on blu-ray for the most part is a visual delight. The only complaints I have are that a few of the darker scenes feature some grain and a scant few of the brighter scenes feel a little to blown out. Overall though, a fantastic HD presentation.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 presentation is good but not as impressive as the video. Yes this show is dialogue driven so said dialogue will be front and center but there could be more in the way of ambient sound to fatten the presentation. There are a few instances where some sound pops from the rear speakers but because the tool isn’t utilized consistently throughout the series these instances can feel a little gimmicky. Dialogue, score, and sound effects are clean and well mixed though and the levels are steady throughout the season. It’s a good TV mix but not as “HD” as you’d hope.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The 12 episode season comes on 3 blu-ray disc in a thin amaray case with a hinge for one of the discs. The cover art features a creepy headshot of Michael C. Hall as Dexter that honestly doesn’t sell the show enough to folks who haven’t seen the show before. The art does match that of the first season though.
This is a solid series for Showtime so why don’t they give us some good bonus features on this box set? First off all of the best extras must be viewed via BD Live so if you don’t have your blu-ray player networked you’re out of luck. If your player is networked you’ll be “treated” to some episodes of another Showtime series, some podcasts that feature Michael C Hall and a brief and shallow featurette. On the actual disc there’s just a trivia game. These extras are weak sauce for sure.
Season One of Dexter was much more entertaining than I initially expected and it’s probably because the pilot feels a bit uneven compared to the episodes that follow. Once the show found its pace, Season One was very entertaining and Season Two and Three must turn into a “must see” series.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10