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The Screening Room
dexter season one
THE STUDIO GATE
"Dexter" is a graphic delight.

"Dexter: The First Season" is now available on Blu-ray disc.

Gore pretty much repels me. When some of my high school cohorts and one of my cousins were into VHS copies of "Faces of Death," I turned the other way. Seeing people or animals die isn't something that settles well with me, even if it's fictional. Some gore is pretty fun to watch in a movie or TV show, but sadistic gore just doesn't appeal to me.

So it was to my surprise how much I've gotten into the first season of Showtime's "Dexter." His first killing wasn't easy to watch, yet I got into Dexter's motivation for killing who he kills. Actor Michael C. Hall is perfect for this role of an anti-hero who avenges the wrongs of the world by killing those he sees as being no good. His strange facination with making a perfect killing is repulsive, yet he wins the viewer with his daily life. He's a loner, but has a great relationship with his foster sister (Jennifer Carpenter). He's also a kind guy who loves kids and tries to love a single mother, Rita (Julie Benz). Quite a contrast to the scenes where he sadistically kills his victims.

Episodic television hasn't appealed to me in many years. It's not because there aren't any good shows on. There are many that have viewers hooked. With a busy schedule, and my hatred for commercials (I don't have a DVR...the horror!), I don't spend much time in front of the tube. Once I got "Dexter" on Blu-ray, I found myself waiting for my kid to go to bed so I could enjoy this show. I couldn't wait until another episode.

The writers have crafted some intricate plots about various murders around Miami. They've built into the show a solid storyline with nearly every character. I found myself wondering what the hell Dexter was going to do next. I also found myself enjoying the exploits of various side characters on the show. Erik King, who plays Sgt. James Doakes, is such a hard ass that I laughed at a lot of the scenes he's in.

The killing scenes that Dexter is involved in are not for the squeemish. I found myself squirming in my seat as he kills one of his victims with a knife plunge. Other scenes where he plunges a needle into his victims don't bother me as much anymore. The make-up and prop work on the show is amazingly real and many times graphic.

The production value is polished and it appears the filmmakers and actors put a lot of care into the show. The look has a feature film feeling to it. So many shows today have fine craftsmanship in them that's it's almost difficult to stand out. "Dexter" is fairly similar to shows like "C.S.I.," but it ultilizes its own creepy style. The opening credits are a good example of this.

The Blu-ray is exemplary. The film was shot in high-defintion 24p video. This lends the show a slightly different look than standard 35mm film. The show looks very crisp with occasional digital noise in some dark shots. Mostly, though, the show looks so good.

The sound on "Dexter" holds its own against any good theatrical sound mix. I'm not sure what Paramount has done in the mastering department on their Blu-rays, but their latest batch of Dolby TrueHD titles sound excellent. Some of the Dolby TrueHD titles from any of the studios, to my ears, have sounded a bit bottled up. "Dexter" doesn't and it provides for a full and sometimes lush sound environment. Dialogue, sound effects, and music are well recorded and mixed.

This Showtime series isn't for the so-called faint of heart. I was reluctant to give it a try, but I'm glad I did. Great job, Dex!          
        
Bill Kallay

Special thanks to Click Communications

Photos: Showtime. All rights reserved.
Blu-ray Quick Glimpse

cover


MOVIE

A slightly gory delight

TALENT
Director: Various

Cast: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter 

FEATURES
"Killer" BD-Live features

RATING
Not rated (violence, gore, nudity, language)

BLU-RAY
Picture: Excellent
Sound: Excellent

GEEK OUT
Graphic and very realistic gore

TECH SPECS
Aspect Ratio (1.75:1)

Dolby TrueHD

BLU-RAY
RELEASE DATE
January 6, 2008
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