Friday, September 29, 2006

He's a very neat monster

Two columns this morning, one of which hasn't been posted yet. The one that has is a review of "Dexter," which will go into the blog rotation this weekend. (The other column is on "Doctor Who," which I also intend to start reviewing her after catching up on the first season over the past few weeks). Anyway, "Dexter":

Dexter Morgan is a serial killer, but it's okay, because he's the good kind.

Dexter doesn't kill just anyone, you see. He only kills other serial killers. Real scum of the earth types -- rapists and pedophiles, to boot -- we're all better off without.

Moral relativism doesn't usually have a place on network TV, but it's worked well for cable outfits like HBO and FX. They've made money hand over fist by getting viewers to identify with mob bosses, dirty cops and their ilk by placing them in worlds where, no matter how bad their behavior is, someone else's is worse.

Showtime dipped a toe in these murky waters with "Weeds," but a suburban mom who deals pot to pay the bills barely even seems like an outlaw figure anymore. An ongoing drama with a serial killer for a hero, on the other hand... that's going to get noticed. And it should. Sick, twisted and darkly funny, "Dexter" is easily the best drama in Showtime history, and maybe the series that finally puts the 30-year-old channel on the map.

To read the rest, click here.

7 comments:

J said...

RE:Dr. Who. I was a fan when I was a kid and find those shows haven't aged well. But I recently rented the Series 1 DVDs and -- though the first few episodes are rough, and there are really shaky elements throughout -- was pretty impressed.

The whole series was worth it, I think, just for the episode "The Empty Child." That one's amazing sf, it's scary, funny, and full of ideas. Am looking forward to the second series coming out on DVD.

Eric said...

Did the Doctor Who column get printed? I haven't found it on the Star-Ledger website.

sm said...

Yes, it got printed, you can click on my name to get to it.

I liked these two episodes, but I'm not crazy about Tennant yet. Maybe he'll grow on me, but I think he's got mighty big shoes to fill - Eccleston was fantastic.

sm said...

Ack, that link didn't work. Here:

http://www.nj.com/columns/ledger/alltv/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/115954710713200.xml&coll=1

Eric said...

Tennant never quite reaches the brilliance of Eccelston for me, and in general I think Season "2" isn't quite as good as season "1". "School Ties" is the highlight of the season for me, giving the kind of emotionally resonant examination to the post-Doctor life of a companion that the show could never do before. (Though I think they wasted Anthony Stewart Head - they should have saved him for when they bring back the Master.)

I look forward to seeing your further thoughts on the series.

Ted said...

I wonder what they changed: your review makes it sound good, while when my girlfriend and I saw it as part of a focus group in Las Vegas in January, it was perhaps the worst thing I'd sat through for an hour in my life, with tremendously insipid dialogue.

dez said...

"Dexter" is a fantastic show, and scarier than anything in Sho's lame series, "Masters of Horror" (which I intend to torment myself with again when the second season starts, heh).