Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An endorsement.

I don't usually watch continuing-plot-format television series. Even the much hyped and critically acclaimed cable-TV series of recent years such as The Sopranos, Deadwood, and The Wire have gone unwatched by me. The main balking point for me has been the time commitment involved. First there's the need to schedule your viewing. Sure, I know I could get a TiVo and this problem would disappear, but as of now I still don't have one. Yes, I could use my VCR to record each episode and watch it at my leisure, but I don't feel like making the effort. OK, OK, I know that past seasons of these shows are available on DVD, but the sheer bulk of the accumulated material intimidates me. According to Amazon.com the DVDs of season 1 of The Wire have a run time of 780 minutes! Yes, I've done the math, and that's only 13 hours, but 13 hours is a lot of time. Time I could fritter away quite unproductively on the Internet, thank you. To sum up, I've got all my excuses lined up, and I will not be watching any of these series any time soon.

But I have made an exception.

I happened to catch one of the first episodes of Showtime's new series Dexter. I kept watching, and now I'm hooked. I find everything about the show to be exquisitely well done. The central premise (a Miami police forensics expert who leads a double life as a serial killer) is one that a mediocre writing team could have made into something gimmicky, but the writing has been consistently sharp and delightfully dark throughout. The multiple plot lines are well balanced and engaging. The production values are great, and the casting is excellent; though I admit that the actress who plays Dexter's sister annoyed me at first, she has grown on me. In short, the show is fucking awesome. I almost hope that they limit it to one season, though, because it's hard for me to imagine that they could maintain this level of quality over multiple seasons. I would prefer to see this show end its run at the top of its game.


dagger aleph said...

Time I could fritter away quite unproductively on the Internet, thank you.

I solve this problem by frittering my time away on the Internet while watching TV. Kill two birds with one stone.

Matt said...

I agree, Dexter is indeed awesome. And you're probably right about it being better to end it early, but it would be nice if it could continue at the same level. The problem is that this season is plotted like a mini-series, with the hunt for the (other) serial killer driving the action (though it is a MacGuffin of sorts). Not sure if they could transition to a more long-term plot arc.

My Alter Ego said...

The problem is that this season is plotted like a mini-series

Yes, that's exactly it. The current story arc is one of the things that has made the show so engaging, and it looks like it is headed towards a resolution soon. What form the plot resolution takes will determine if there is anywhere interesting to go from there.

I knew that the series was based on a book (Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay), and an interview I saw with the author hinted that the plot of the series very closely follows the plot of the book. So in a second season, I'm guessing the show would be moving beyond the plot of the book into new territory?

Incidentally, I just noticed on the show's website the announcement that there will be a second season.