Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
Good idea - but poor casting and script undermine it
on 23 April 2009
I'm not going to follow the herd here and say how brilliant this is - because it's just not! I'm giving it 3 stars, or 6 out of 10, which is above average. In my terminology, 3-stars means 'It's OK. It's not bad." It's just that, in my judgement, it's not brilliant, that's all.
I gave it a chance but in the end I thought there was a good idea at its heart but it ended up being something of a one-trick pony; there was no multi-layered story, no magnetic characters outside of the 'interesting' Dexter. If you analyse its core strengths, very few of them stand up to comparison with the truly best TV drama/comedies.
There are numerous weaknesses to it that let it down. I must emphasise that at the time of writing I have only seen Series One from 2006 and my criticisms may have been addressed later (in subsequent series), but for now I have to say that the script was consistently poor and failed to convey the darkness of the premise. Having just watched the entire first series of THE WIRE (very different, I know!), Dexter seems utterly average in comparison, and it proves to me yet again that I would rather watch a so-so story with a rivetting script than a great story with a so-so script. I wouldn't call it bad, but it deserved better writing, and writing is at the centre of every story.
Then there's the acting. Some if not all of the peripheral characters were not good enough for this potentially fantastic TV series. Again the script didn't help but even putting that to one side the casting (or possibly the directing) was just par for the course and nothing better. I would single out Dexter's police colleagues Angel Batista, Lt. Maria Laguerta and Sergeant James Doakes as the best examples of very ordinary actors who brought the overall experience down to a rather frustrating level. I wasn't convinced by Dexter's foster sister Debra Morgan or his girlfriend Rita Bennett either.
Overall this series is propped up by a captivating storyline and that, along with Michael C. Hall's excellent job in the title role, keep it alive. But I am surprised that so few people amongst the reviewers here on Amazon have noticed that for writing, directing, editing and most of the acting, it's very ordinary, nothing special, and deserves a much higher standard of support to what is undeniably a great idea.
Mr. P. D. Horner says:
I'm always surprised when people say they are surprised that viewers don't notice a bad script, acting, camerawork etc. You only have to look at what 'music' sells these days to see that people only view, read and listen to things one dimensionally. An idiot like Cheryl Cole can top the music charts when her voice is terrible and none of the songs are written or performed by her but people lap it up because at the end of the day they just like what it sounds like or like her for some other garbage 'achievement' she has made.
TV is exactly the same.
Good review though and good reasons for a lower score
(Posted on 2 Nov 2011 12:32:02 GMT)