Wednesday, August 05, 2015

I Swear, I Feel Like I Deserve A Prize For Sticking It Out To The End. Maybe A Free Set Of Knives.

So, I just finished watching Dexter. And since I've mentioned it here before, I thought I'd come back and share my thoughts... OK, no, that's not true. Mostly, I'm writing this here because after investing eight season's worth of time in that show, I am damned well at least going to get a blog post out of it.

Although, honestly, I think past a certain point I was mostly only continuing with it out of a sense of completeness and a strong, morbid curiosity as to whether the final episode was really as bad as everyone said it was. Which... Yes. Yes, it was. And all the more so because elements of it actually would have made a great ending to the show if only they, and everything leading up to them, hadn't been done so, well, awfully.

Seriously, someone could get a Masters' thesis out of all the ways in which Dexter grasps vaguely in the direction of some really interesting, brave, thought-provoking storytelling and then drops the ball on it, over and over. It is, ultimately, a fascinating failure. Sometimes it's an entertaining, even compulsively watchable one, sometimes one that threatens serious injury from all the banging your forehead against things it makes you want to do. Which is frustrating. Maybe it shouldn't be. Maybe it was too much to ever expect anything else. After all, one of my earliest reactions to this show was, "I don't see how this premise is remotely sustainable, long-term." I was right about that, and it's entirely possible nothing was ever going to make it sustainable long-term. But I can't help but wonder, a little wistfully, what it might have been like if it were written with real vision, by someone willing to fully embrace the fundamental fucked-upped-ness of it all and able to consistently resist the temptation to buy into the character's own self-deluded ideas about being a hero.

I will give 'em this, thought: they had some fantastic casting.

4 comments:

  1. I have never regretted giving up on the show midway through its run.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's really annoying is that, after it got really, really bad, it suddenly got surprisingly good for a while, thus getting my hopes up. Stupid show.

      Delete
  2. I didn't like the first couple of episodes but stuck it out and really like the first couple of seasons, but then.... I got over it LOL. I guess I understand the feeling if you devote so much of your time to a show you stick it out. I watched House each week faithfully but when it went so far down hill that I never did watch the last season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. House had its ups and downs, but I mostly enjoyed okay through to the end, I think, if only just because Hugh Laurie is great and because I don't think I actually expected that much from it, anyway. Part of what was so frustrating about Dexter is that it kept repeatedly seeming to promise more than it actually delivered, and, like I said above, every time it got pretty bad, it would tease me by starting to get pretty good again for a while afterward, leading me to think maybe the writers had gotten their shit together and finally figured out how to make the show as awesome as it ought to be. Sigh.

      But I was bound and determined to stick it out, if only because, yeah, I really was super-curious as to whether the final episode did in fact deserve its place in the Hall of Worst Finales Ever, and if so, why. Which, I realize, may be kind of masochistic of me.

      Also, Hall really is darned good. But this is definitely not the best death-obsessed series he's been in. :)

      Delete