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Dexter: The First Season(TV) (2006)
Dexter is a crime drama about Dexter Morgan, a man who leads a double life as an incredibly likeable forensics expert for the Miami Police Department and as an emotionless vigilante serial killer. Taught by his foster father to harness his lust for blood and killing, Dexter lives by his own strict moral code - he only kills murderers who can't otherwise be brought to justice. Dexter is a killer who grapples with fitting into society while, at the same time, he struggles with his inability to feel emotion. The irony of Dexter's life is that he works closely as a blood splatter analyst with the very people who hunt his kind - the homicide department.
For more about Dexter: The First Season and the Dexter: The First Season Blu-ray release, see Dexter: The First Season Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on January 19, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, Julie Benz, James Remar, Yvonne Strahovski
Directors: John Dahl, Steve Shill, Keith Gordon, Marcos Siega, Ernest R. Dickerson, Romeo Tirone
» See full cast & crew
Dexter: The First Season Blu-ray Review
Showtime's groundbreaking serial-killer drama finally makes its way to Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Ben Williams, January 19, 2009
The television landscape has been littered with a number of outstanding shows over the last several years. What used to be a medium of lesser offerings and lowered production values has been transformed through the production, on a weekly basis, of programming that rivals the best Hollywood films. One such outstanding program is Showtime's "Dexter." It's a show that pushes the boundaries of television programming by telling a dark and violent story that explores its main character's struggles with morality and identity. "Dexter" pushes the boundaries of conventional storytelling and succeeds at being both fascinating and deliciously entertaining.
Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) isn't your average, every day forensics expert. From the outside, everything about his life seems normal. He's got a loving girlfriend, Rita (Julie Benz), a close relationship with his sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) and strong relationships with his coworkers at the Miami Police Department. Only Sgt. James Doakes (Erik King), a tough-talking homicide detective, seems to detect that something is a little different about Dexter and is convinced that he's hiding something. He's the only person in Dexter's life who hasn't been fooled by Dexter's meticulously crafted public persona. Dexter is, in reality, a serial killer who stalks his prey at night; under the noses of his unsuspecting colleagues. As the story progresses, we discover that Dexter was adopted at an early age by a loving and honorable cop, Harry Morgan (James Remar). Harry recognized that his young son had an unnatural instinct to kill. Convinced that Dexter couldn't be cured of his bloodlust, Harry dedicated his life to training Dexter to take out his killer aggressions on those who deserve to die.
Dexter's career as a vengeful killer has been going on successfully for years. He works during the day, puts in his time with Rita and then stalks his prey - - usually criminals who have gone free on a technicality - - at night. Dexter's life is thrown into disarray, however, when a new serial killer, the Ice Truck Killer, is discovered. The Ice Truck Killer drains the blood of his victims before neatly dissecting their bodies and then displaying them in very public places. Dexter is fascinated by the killer's skill and dedication, but is shocked when he discovers that the Ice Truck Killer is very aware of his own murderous activities. How could this mysterious murderer know about Dexter? Has he been lazy in covering his own tracks, or do the two killers share an unexplained bond?
"Dexter" is a phenomenal show that succeeds through equal parts of exceptional storytelling, acting, music and direction. In the acting category, the show enjoys one of the finest casts on television. Michael C. Hall is nothing short of a revelation as Dexter. He has the impossible job of making the audience sympathize and identify with a serial-killing psychopath and does so by giving the character a sly sense of humor and a likable demeanor. The transformation that Dexter undertakes in moving from his normal routine to his true-self as a relentless killer is resoundingly intense. Dexter's likeable qualities are instantly replaced by a savage demeanor that amplifies his unquenchable need to kill; as well as the joy he feels in doing so. It's an amazing performance that is as unsettling as it is enjoyable to watch.
The true masterstroke of "Dexter" lies in the way the story is told. Dexter narrates his own life as he navigates each day. He gives the audience an insiders peek into his own troubled psyche as he fakes his way through situations that confuse him. Dexter doesn't understand human emotions and has developed a system of acted responses that serve him well when his closest friends experience emotions. Dexter knows that he is a monster and his lack of emotional response is an amusement to him. He just can't understand why people grieve, feel sadness, pain or any other emotion that comes naturally to most everyone except for him. Flashbacks to Dexter's childhood also serve as a fascinating back story to Dexter's troubled origins and build over the course of the season. You may not like Dexter by the time all is said and done, but you are sure to be intrigued by him.
"Dexter" is truly one of the finest shows on television today. It's a show that exists to study the emotions of a man who has none and that isn't afraid to explore the darker aspects of humanity. "Dexter" is essential television viewing and this Blu-ray edition earns my highest recommendation.
The following episodes are included on the Blu-ray release of "Dexter: The Complete First Season:
-Let's Give the Boy a Hand
-Love American Style
-Return to Sender
-Circle of Friends
-Father Knows Best
-Truth Be Told
Dexter: The First Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
"Dexter" arrives on Blu-ray via a fantastic 1080p transfer in the show's originally televised aspect ratio of 1.78:1, using the AVC Mpeg-4 Compression codec. "Dexter" has always looked great on Showtime's high definition broadcasts, but this Blu-ray edition elevates the material considerably. The 1080p encode delivers outstanding clarity, detail and an exceptional sense of depth while maintaining the film-like look that the show presents, despite being shot on high definition cameras. To say that "Dexter" is a darkly shot show would be an understatement. Much of the show takes place at night as Dexter stalks his prey and this Blu-ray encode does a stellar job of delivering inky blacks and abundant shadow detail. Colors are also nicely presented with plenty of saturation when the material calls for it.
"Dexter" is shot utilizing varying styles to underscore the storytelling. Many of the flashback scenes are washed-out in appearance and there is even the occasional bit of black and white material. Outdoor scenes that take place during the day are typically bright and crystal clear while the nighttime scenes take on a grittier look. Fortunately, all these different shooting styles combine to form a compelling visual narrative that perfectly accompanies the show's plot. As far as picture anomalies are concerned, there isn't anything present in "Dexter" to distract the viewer. Edge enhancement isn't an issue and excessive DNR doesn't creep in. It's a terrific looking disc that really offers an upgrade over Showtime's normal HD transmissions. Highly recommended!
Dexter: The First Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Being more of a dialogue-driven show, "Dexter" doesn't offer much in the way of action or thunderous surround usage. Instead, this lossless 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track does a remarkable job of delivering atmosphere and helping to up the tension of what is transpiring on screen. As one would hope, dialogue is perfectly placed within the mix. It's delivered crisply, never unintelligibly, and manages to serve the show well. The show's sound design is heavily front loaded and offers a nice separation between the front three channels. Music is key to the atmosphere of "Dexter" and this TrueHD track delivers the show's unusual musical cues with aplomb. There's not much to report on with respect to surround and direction activity. There are a few moments throughout the series that feature a few panning effects, but the majority of the show builds through more atmospheric elements in the soundtrack. All told, this is a nice and effective soundtrack that, like the disc's video section, offers a tangible upgrade over what Showtime airs on television. Recommended!
Dexter: The First Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
-Episode Audio commentary: "Return to Sender," with Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, Lauren Velez and Erik King
-Episode Audio Commentary: "Born Free," With Series Executive Producers Sara Colleton, Clyde Phillips, and Daniel Cerrone
-Academy of Blood, A Killer Course
-Witnessed in Blood, A True Murder Investigation
-Podcast with star Michael C. Hall
-"Dexter" Season Three, Episode 1.
-"The United States of Tara" Episode Sneak Peak
"Dexter" fans are bound to be a little disappointed by the extras included with this Blu-ray release. Both commentary tracks are a nice addition, but do little to flesh out the material. It would have been nice to at least hear from Michael C. Hall in a commentary. The remainder of this set's special features are only accessible to those with BD-Live connections. Again, there's not much to get excited about here with only two short featurettes and a podcast. Fortunately, viewers can access the season premier episode of "Dexter: Season Three" via BD-Live, but the quality is nothing to write home about. Those interested in the new Showtime series "The United States of Tara" also have the ability to watch the first two episodes of what could be a very entertaining show from Diablo Cody and Steven Spielberg.
Dexter: The First Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
"Dexter" is, more than likely, one of those love it or hate it shows. It's violent, dark and showcases a side of humanity that can prove to be unsettling. On the other hand, the show is expertly crafted with outstanding performances and writing. It's a remarkable achievement for televised drama and continually challenges its audience to think outside of their comfort zone. This Blu-ray edition is a definite winner, with above-average audio and stellar video. Supplements are a bit lacking, but the content of the show more than makes up for any deficiencies where extras are concerned. Fans of crime films, serial killer movies or those who just appreciate first-rate writing and acting will likely love "Dexter." It's a show that I can't get enough of. Highly recommended!
Dexter: Other Seasons
Blu-ray bundles with Dexter: The First Season (7 bundles)
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• Paramount Announces Specs for First Season of Dexter - December 15, 2008
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• Paramount Announces Dexter for Blu-ray - October 6, 2008
Paramount Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring 'Dexter - The First Season' to Blu-ray on January 6th. The box set of this critically acclaimed Showtime series will feature all 12 episodes of the first season in 1080p widescreen accompanied by a ...
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