Dexter: Season 1
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2007
How many of us hide our real personalities under a politically and/or socially acceptable mask? Yes the subject matter is a bit macabre, (socially acceptable serial killing) but I can't wait to see the next season. Dexter is one of the best dramatic series I've ever seen. Michael C. Hall is totally believable as a blend able monster stalking his twisted prey at night in the streets of picturesque Miami. And before you know it you find yourself secretly cheering for Dexter. Given the level of violence roaming the streets of our nation, it's refreshing to imagine the hunters being hunted and put down; subsequently, protecting our loved ones. The reason I gave it four stars instead five, is because I went back thru the series to watch the episodes along with the commentary, only to find that only a few episodes had additional commentary; which was disappointing. Aside from that the series was great!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 2, 2008
I started watching Dexter at the recommendation of two friends, and once I started I flew through this highly entertaining series in about 2 weeks. It's an entertaining, clever, and original show with good writing and some great characters

I won't go too much into the story as 200 people have already done that, but Dexter is a Miami cop (a lab nerd, really, he analyzes blood spatters) who moonlights as a serial killer. The twist is, he only murders "bad" people (most of whom he finds via his job working in homocide). The series explores how Dexter, who feels very little emotion, blends in with society and "fakes" being human, with some interesting and sometimes comical result.

Aside from the aspect of the show incorporating Dexter's struggle to fit in with society, I completely disagree with all the reviews that claim Dexter provides a view "inside the mind of a serial killer". Please - Dexter is fiction in the truest since of the word, the series isn't realistic, which is fine with me because as far as I can tell it isn't trying to be realistic. If you want to get "inside the mind" of a killer, you shouldn't be looking to fiction (instead watch any of the number of true crime shows on channels such as A&E, or watch HBO's excellent interviews of The Iceman, which are available on DVD via Amazon or a good rental store/website). But you are truly doing yourself a great disservice if you are fooling yourself into thinking this FICTITIOUS story represents the mind of a killer - real serial killers really are monsters, and Dexter has more in common with Batman than most real world serial killers.

Rather, the gist of this story is a tale, or rather a question, of morality: is Dexter good or evil? Sure, he's a bloodthirsty serial killer who brutally hacks his victims apart, and he takes enjoyment in it. But his victims are people that the world is better off without, and whom the criminal justice system has failed to get off the streets. And, while he may be emotionally detached, when he's not hacking people up he's an all around pretty decent guy (good brother, good boyfriend, good son, good employee, good "father figure" to his girlfriend's kids ...), and he lives by a strict, if bizarre, ethical code, which is more than we can say for most of us.

If you have a somewhat dark sense of humor and an open mind (no this isn't a comedy, but there are a number of humorous instances and I can't see how you could enjoy this series without a somewhat dark sense of humor). I think this is a very entertaining series, and certainly worth watching if you can deal with a little gore and a somewhat disturbing subject matter.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
If you're reading this you either are 1) a fan of the show 2) want to know more about it to see if it will appeal to you. Michael C. Hall ("Six Feet Under") plays Dexter a vigilante serial killer. By day Dexter works as a splatter analyst in the police department using blood patterns to help determine exactly how a crime occurred.

We have a true anti-hero as the focus of the series--a serial killer who almost seems to have a conscience because he focuses on dealing out justice (and focusing his urges)to those he feels are evil. His father a police officer instilled a code to help him direct his "urges" and distinguish between good and evil.

Showtime has attempted to improve the quality of their shows and their DVD releases with some mixed results. I found the image quality to be anything but subpar for a DVD. It's a very good transfer. Is it high definition? No, but this isn't an HD-DVD and the quality for a standard DVD is very good although there are some digital compression issues that crop up occasionally.

The one complaint I have is simple--no chapter indexing where you can see specific scenes for each episode. Sure you can skip through it by hitting the next button but it's kind of unusual in this day and age for new shows to NOT have this. The second is minor and others have pointed it out--the menu is a very basic design that looks like it could have been done by an amateur.

You also have to reset audio for each disc as you watch it for 5.1 as it automatically defaults to 2.o. To be sure many of these are minor points but they do contribute to the enjoyment of the show if handled well.

The special features are an improvement over some previous Showtime series but far from perfect. We get two episodes of the excellent Showtime drama "Brotherhood". We also get "Witnessed in Blood - A True Murder Investigation" a very good featurette that focuses on splatter analysis and what it reveals about a murder. It ties in to "Dexter" because that's what Dexter does for a living on the show and it also helps him to break a number of cases. We also get a commentary track that I haven't listened to yet as well as an online link to watch two episodes of the new Showtime series "The Tudors" and a pdf file with the first two chapters of the new Dexter novel. I suspect that "The Academy of Blood: A Killer Course" is along with the DEXTER novel excerpt buried in the DVD-Rom portion of the disc. You won't be able to watch it or access it on a regular DVD player which is just plain sloppy as this isn't indicated on the package.

We also get biographies for the actors. While the extras here (including two commentary tracks on the set are very good, the show could have used more commentary tracks and the involvement of star Michael C. Hall on at least one of them. Also, the special features really need to be more clearly indicated as to whether they are DVD accessible, PC accessible and where you might find them on the disc.

Minor Plot Spoilers:

Dexter's father a police officer recognized early on his son's proclivities and tried to give him moral guidence and boundaries so that he can function in our world but, more importantly, use his "skills" to hunt down those that prey on others.

Dexter is conflicted--he knows that he's not normal and he also knows he doesn't fit in (he has difficulty with emotions having to fake his way through it). He also recognizes what he is and how his father tried to shape him into something "better".

When he goes toe-to-toe with the Ice Truck Murderer and tries to track down this nasty serial killer he gets a glimpse into his own soul but also recognizes that unlike his evil doppleganger he can choose his actions and not just act on his instincts.


Overall, Dexter is a terrific show. The second season has also gotten off to a bold start. The first season used the novel DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER as a starting point. For the second season the writers/producers have chosen to depart from the novels which should make for an interesting move. This is a solid set that could be improved with future seasons.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2007
This is pureley information concerning this actual DVD boxset, as there are plenty of excellent reviews on the show itself, which I love (or wouldn't have bought it).

I was disappointed to find that the bonus features did not match up to what is advertised on the sleeve artwork. What the sleeve says is:
"Killer Special Features -
The Academy of blood - A killer course
Witnessed in Blood - A True murder investigation
Two episodes of 'Brotherhood'
Free episodic download of 'The Tudors'
The first two chapters of 'Dexter in the dark' - the new book
Two audio commentaries by the cast and producers
And much more!"

Aside from the fact that DVD bonus features should really just be about the DVD I just bought, not about trying to sell me some shows i have no interest in like Brotherhood and The Tudors, what's actually on the disc is much less - in fact the full list of features are:
"Witnessed in Blood - a True murder investigation
Two episodes of Brotherhood
Win an HD TV

At least there are the commentaries (just not on this menu) but i feel a more appropriate last bullet point on the sleeve would have been "And Much Less!"

Come on Showtime, dig out some interviews and put something juicy on there for season two. This was just a lame attempt at bulking out the first season dvd.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 23, 2007
I guess my biggest complaint about DEXTER is that it isn't nasty ENOUGH. The premise if phenomenal...Dexter is a blood-spatter expert investigating murders by day and a murdered of killers by night. By channeling his impulses to kill in a "helpful" way...he is actually a hero. I know, I know, anyone who kills is bad...but seriously, the people Dexter knocks off are mostly brutal serial-killers themselves...killers who knock off children and other innocents. Dexter is doing the world a favor. And that's the problem...he is so meticulous in who he kills that his dark side is really never more than a naughty wink. There's no real ethical dilemma for the viewer in rooting for Dexter.

But don't get me wrong...the show is a blast nonetheless. From it's super-saturated Florida colors, to its sly & witty narration, the show is top-notch and very entertaining. Michael C. Hall is perfect as DEXTER. While his performance isn't exactly a tour-de-force of evil (like Anthony Hopkins in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, for example) is a lovely, inventive performance. He brings nuance to the role of a guy who has to fake smiling...and because we know he's faking, we're kinda in on the joke. We can be "amused" along with Dexter at his ability to fool most of society into liking him.

The only true "dark side" to Dexter is his inability to love. He has a girlfriend, but only to help himself look normal. He is very good to her and her kids, and the poor girl (damaged from a previous, abusive marriage) just adores Dexter in return. But he doesn't really have feelings for her, and this colors all their scenes together. This is the ethical quandary that I wish Dexter's killings also had.

The other thing I really like about the show are the flashbacks, showing Dexter being raised and groomed for his work by a very understanding foster father, who happens to be a cop. James Remar plays this part so's probably the best role this long-time character actor has ever had. It's a small part, but he brings great strength to it. And great love and concern for Dexter. You always hear that parents will do ANYTHING to protect their kids...Remar's character is the ultimate example of this.

Also, the opening credits of the show are AWESOME!! Creepy and clever.

So, while the show, to me, isn't perfect (I would prefer it a little darker), it is still HUGELY entertaining, well-acted by its lead and well-filmed for a relatively low budget. If it sounds like your cup of tea, I think you'll like it a lot. If the basic premise turns you off...then don't even bother watching!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 16, 2009
"Dexter" is built on an intriguing premise: a man with antisocial personality disorder experiences murderous impulses but lives by a code - he can only kill murderers. Kind of a twisted play on Freud's concept of sublimation. The series didn't initially appeal to me, but overall I'm pleased that I stuck with the first season. Michael C. Hall plays the titular character, a forensic expert in blood splatter. He works alongside a group of detectives assigned to some of most brutal Miami murders; one of these cops is Dexter's adopted sister, Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter). Dexter was adopted as a child by a Miami cop (the now deceased Harry Morgan) who recognized that Dexter was antisocial. Instead of allowing Dexter to go down the path of juvenile delinquency (and inevitably murder), Harry developed a code for him - you can kill but only under certain circumstances. Harry also encouraged Dexter to do things to make him seem normal, such as dating, to help him hide his true nature and go undetected. Most episodes feature Dexter stalking a serial killer, with a season long plot involving Dexter's fascination with the "Ice Truck Killer."

The series features excellent writing and direction, which helps make the somewhat unbelievable premise feel realistic. The acting also is top-notch. Hall does a nice job of making Dexter charming and likeable (so that we can believe that he can fit in at work and his relationships) while also adding a bit of edge through his lack of true emotion, superficial charm, and violent impulses. We can sense that evil lurks just below the surface, kept in check only by his adherence to his code. It's a solid portrayal of an extreme case of antisocial personality disorder, and the series isn't afraid to make its protagonist dark and somewhat frightening. The supporting cast is also terrific, with C.S. Lee scoring as Vince Masuka, Dexter's lascivious co-worker who is a walking sexual harassment case. Likewise, Sgt. Doakes (Erik King) helps lighten the mood as the only person who seems to know that Dexter is not the good guy he portrays. I also enjoy the work of two "Oz" veterans - Lauren Velez as Dexter's complicated Lieutenant, and David Zayas as Detective Angel Batista (perhaps Dexter's closest "friend").

Although I enjoyed the show, there were a few things I disliked about the first season. Debra's insecurity is highly grating, and the actress gives a twitchy, affected performance. Dexter's flashbacks to his days with Harry become extremely repetitive and unrealistic after awhile. The first few episodes were difficult to watch, and Dexter came across as quite brutal; I was ready to give up on the series after these shows, but the character became more "human" in subsequent episodes. Finally, the last two episodes of the season, which focused on the Ice Truck Killer case, were overly melodramatic and lead to a rather unsatisfying ending. Although I approached the series with some trepidation and found it flawed, there's enough to like about the Season 1 that I plan on watching Season 2 on DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2010
Dexter Morgan is a monster and a sociopath. He tells us as much in his own words as he narrates the events that unfold over the twelve episodes of this dark, original and ultimately disturbing serie. The bigger issue that lies at the heart of this stellar series, the one that makes viewers uncomfortable and conflicted is our reaction to him. Some will love this show, others will no doubt be repulsed by it. But there is no way to ignore the questions it raises.

Dexter (played superbly by Michael C. Hall) works in the forensics department in the Miami police department as an expert on blood spatter at crime scenes. But he has a dark secret. We quickly learn that he is a serial killer who is driven by the need to kill. He has no explanation for it other than to satisfy a desire that burns deep within himself and to feel some kind of emotion. In order to fit in and keep his secret hidden, Dexter has learned how to fake human interactions and form relationships in order to appear normal. He is in a relationship with an emotionally damaged single mother (Julie Benz) and he maintains a close (at least in terms of proximity) relationship with his foster sister, Deborah. As for his victims, Dexter targets only people who have committed atrocities and slipped through the cracks of the justice system. This was a set of rules laid down by his foster father who knew about Dexter's dark side and helped him channel it in the most positive manner possible.

Yet to justify Dexter's actions as heroic or to consider him a vigilante is to miss the point of this compelling series. It is clear that Dexter is killing to satisfy his own twisted desires. He never considers himself a hero and is well aware that if his secret were revealed, it would be the end for him despite the fact that he is killing people who "deserve" it. Dexter is always completely aware of who and what he is. The confusion and confliction is reserved for the viewers. The show dares us to like him and to root for him as he "takes out the trash" and looks out for his girlfriend and his foster sister. As Dexter puts it at one point, he is like each and every one of us, if only in our darkest dreams.

As for the plot of season one, it largely focuses on the hunt for a serial killer know as "The Ice Truck Killer" who for some reason is leaving clues allowing Dexter to discover his identity. Why? No spoilers here. Meanwhile Dexter must struggle to maintain his relatiionships with Rita and Deborah as well as with his co-workers all while keeping his secret hidden. It's dark and compelling stuff, but always entertaining which may cause viewers to feel even more guilty and torn in their views about the show. How horrible to be entertained by such a disturbing premise! But entertained I was, as well as unsettled by my own reaction towards Dexter. He is no hero. He is a monster. What does that say about those of us who can't help but follow his journey to whatever end is in store?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2008
I had no clue what this show was about until around December when my buddy was talking about season 2 coming out. I had noticed the DVD set here on Amazon and immediatly added it to my Wishlist...mainly because of the cover of the box set. When my friend mentioned it, I asked him what it was about and then I became even more intrigued.

Knowing I was heading to Iraq in January, I decided to wait on buying it until I got there. Now that I'm here, I ordered it as soon as I got internet access. In less than a week it showed and that following night when I got back to my tent I popped it in. The first episode got my attention right away. The Ice Truck killers victims and Dexter himself were so interesting.

Michael C. Hall plays Dexter (who also played in 6 Feet Under) brilliantly. His acting is so dead on and so believable. I dont even see his character anymore from 6 Feet Under. Julie Benz who plays Rita, Dex's girlfriend, is also really great. And David Zayas who plays Angel is also really good. But that's about it. I'm not saying the others are bad, but they just dont seem believable. I cant stand Dex's sister, Debra Morgan played by Jeniffer Carpenter (she seems like she is forever imbedded in my head as Emily Rose) because I think she over reacts to everything. And she seems like she cusses to much (I'm no saint and I say the F word WAY to much) when it doesnt even need to be said. And it sounds like she's a really nice girl trying to cuss to be cool. I dont know. It bugs me. And Eric King's acting is also WAY over the top. He plays Doaks who is a forensic investigator that just doesnt like our boy Dex. I like the character a lot, but just not King who plays him. To me, the guy always looks like he's wanting to bust out laughing during his 'really mean and pissed off' parts. It drives me insane.

Also the sound is not perfect sometimes. During a scene with a hockey can tell Dexter's lines are coming from him while on the ice. But the other 2 guys lines seem to have been recorded in a room somewhere else. Very annoying.

I know I wrote a lot about some bad stuff, but this by NO MEANS, should hurt the rating I want to give Dexter. Michael C. Hall and the show itself should be rated over 5 stars with no question.

Sadly I dont have Showtime, so I'm gonna have to wait for the DVDs as the seasons come out. Hopefully Dexter will last quite awhile. At least Showtime is producing some quality shows though (Weeds is another great one from them and I've heard good things about some of the others ones like Riches and Tudors.)

One last thing, and it's not a spoiler at all. I loved how at the very end right before the credits, during the 'ticker tape parade', Dexters thoughts and his smiles and the peoples signs saying things were filmed. I was laughing pretty good at that last few seconds.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2007
Dexter is on of the best shows on television.

The series is both a companion and an improvement on the novels.

The only negative is that Showtime chose to force four episode per DVD, Consequently, the video looks horrible; tons of compression noise and macro blocking. This is one of the poorest DVD transfers ever.

All the same, no matter the presentation, "Dexter" is a marvel.

Series: *****
DVD: **
Features: ***
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2007
I just finished all 12 episodes of this fantastic show today and can gladly report that, yes, it is above and beyond good. This is definitely a groundbreaking serial, as it's the first one I can think of that portrays a serial killer in a sympathetic light.

What many viewers will have a problem with, though, is that after a point one starts empathizing with Dexter and you go `He's just like me!', and of course you then have to remind yourself that you're not a serial killer. But that's the point. The show makes you understand that everyones human and has a bit of a bizarre streak - and all of us have weird extremes that only we know about. Dexter is not perfect - in fact, he is delusional yet perfectly functional.

The part I related to the most was the depiction of Dexter as someone with no heart at all. He is unable to feel. The show places him in these moments where any normal man would feel extreme joy or pain, but Dexter is never moved by any extreme. As it stands, he has no feelings for anyone, and is thoroughly self-absorbed in his own world.

Remember one thing though - Dexter is sort of a modern day Robin Hood here - he only kills people who he thinks deserves to die, and people who he's earmarked as `bad'. Obviously this is very relative, but he always chooses people who've done horrible things. Towards the end, you will find yourself morbidly agreeing with each of Dexter's choice of victim.

The supporting cast is also excellent. Particular mention should be made of the actress playing Dexter's sister. Both actors lend their characters so much personality - in fact the lead role is perfectly cast. It was refreshing to see a role post `Six Feet Under' where this talented actor could actually shine on his own.

However, there is a lot of blood here, and a lot of gore. Much of it is implied, but this is a dark, brooding show that doesn't shy away from the morbid and macabre. In fact, it almost celebrates it. On the DVD, the red hues of blood are brought to life in HD detail - this is one manic gorefest, and some scenes cannot be easily forgotten. The scene of Dexter walking into a room that has been splattered with the blood of six mutilated victims (he almost faints after seeing this) is the most affecting.

Many reviewers claim that the season finale was the best episode, but I felt sort of let down. Yes, Dexter finds that he has a real brother, but the so-called face-off towards the end wasn't much of a face-off at all, nor was it as emotionally wrenching as it could have been. But still, it's a TV show after all and unfortunately cannot totally break free of the confines of TV Territory.

For all of its glowing reviews though, don't believe it when people say that this is `The Best show ever made!' etc. I think people get too carried away. Yes, this is great, but only time will tell if it will be a classic. Right now, it's the best thing on TV only because most other shows are quite horrible. Lets not get ahead of ourselves. But I do think that if you get this, you should also invest in the terrific Season One Soundtrack that's available on CD, as its quite eclectic and remarkable in its' own right.

If you like murder mysteries, horror and dark stuff, `Dexter' is the thing for you.
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