Media Production Mentoring

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The Death of a Show

...or How to Bleed a Story Dry

A Real Drop of My Blood

I just finished buzzing through the first season of Dexter. I won't be watching more. Based on the reviews I've read, I'm in the minority here. But that's okay. I'm used to being in the minority. Remember? I hated The Dark Knight.

Briefly, the reasons I didn't like Dexter much:

  1. There were four funny lines in the show. But only four. That's one for every three episodes. Which is unacceptable for a "darkly funny" series.
  2. Dexter has too many feelings for his consistent "I wish I felt something" whining. It was annoying.
  3. The subplots were uninteresting.
  4. This was driven by the fact that the characters were lame.
  5. Which was probably due to the poor acting/writing/directing (not sure which).
  6. It felt like the editor's were stretching a 42 minute TV edit out to the requisite 55 minutes for Showtime.
  7. It took 12 hours to tell that simple of a story? Would have made a great short, or perhaps a 90 minute flick.
  8. I'm used to violence, sex and language in movies. Doesn't bother me. But seeing it "on TV" just felt wrong.

In the end, however, I guess I just didn't like it. While I can try to articulate the technical and artistic shortcomings, the fact that others enjoy the show demonstrates what I've said before: There's an audience for everything.

I simply did not buy the Dexter world. I can suspend disbelief in a hyper-stylized world where brutal violence plays out. I can giggle with the over-the-top comedy that shatters continuity. But if you ask me to believe in a world where people have uncontrollable urges to kill others--especially because they saw their mother brutally murdered--well, I'm sorry. For all of my urges, I always have a choice. To say that I don't is pathetic, juvenile, and not fun at all. It smacks of the child who says, "I need the ice cream cone. I need it!"

No, child, you don't.

Dexter's world is as fake as the blood they pour out in the course of the show. If you enjoy the series, next time you watch the opening titles compare the drop of blood in Dexter's sink to the one above.

If nothing else, you will learn the true splatter pattern of a drop of blood into a sink from three feet up.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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