The Screening Room
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!
Special thanks to Click Communications
Photos: © Showtime. All
Blu-ray Quick Glimpse
A slightly gory delight
Cast: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer
"Killer" BD-Live features
Not rated (violence, gore, nudity, language)
Graphic and very realistic gore
Aspect Ratio (1.75:1)
BLU-RAY RELEASE DATE
January 6, 2008