You HAVE To Watch: Dexter – New Blood
Oh, hey, sorry, give me a minute. My ex just texted me. She and I had a great 5 year relationship. Of course, we were together for 8 years… I mean, should I really let those last few years ruin how good the first ones were?
Before you offer me your sound relationship advice, I have a confession.
My ex didn’t call just now. That was a metaphor!
Dexter, a stylish crime drama about a serial killer who channels his irresistible urge to ritually kill by hunting down bad guys, ran for 8 season, from 2006 to 2013. It’s been off the air for 8 years, but fans who watched the whole series still get a twitchy eye when they hear the word “lumberjack”. It’s one of the best modern examples of popular series burning out instead of fading away.
And now it’s back.
Will Dexter Hurt Me Again?
Dexter – New Blood takes place 10 years after the original series finale. Michael C. Hall plays Dexter Morgan (and Dexter Morgan plays Jim Lindsay, kindly everyman). Still accompanied by a dark passenger, Dexter managed a clean break from his past life, moving from crowded and scorching Miami to remote and chilly upstate New York.
Is It Soooooo Good?
We’re only a few episodes into the new season, so forgive the premature endorsement. But I think anyone pained by the series finale felt that way out of investment into the series. So if you, like me, enjoyed a lot of Dexter’s first run, you should check out New Blood. In fact, the show balances continuity, exposition, and a new direction, making it accessible whether you watched all, some, or none of the original Dexter series.
New Blood acknowledges where the original series left off. Instead of apologizing for the unsatisfying ending by rewriting the most frustrating elements, this new series course corrects. Only a few elements carry over from the original series, with a new setting, supporting cast, and even premise. It captures the tone of the first episode, focusing on the juxtaposition of the life and persona Dexter projects, while letting the audience in on the dark and complicated thoughts of his true self.
The first Dexter series lost momentum because Dexter overstayed his welcome. The credibility of the supporting cast deteriorated with every new season of the same guy avoiding suspicion with the same tricks. An openly angry victim of multiple public tragedies replaced the likeable, non-threatening Dexter pretending to be normal that made the premise work. The new series uses that to show why Dexter left his old life, and (slight spoiler) upsets his clean break when his old life intrudes on his new one.
Sweaty Pits and Purple Lips
As a man who sweats in a cold bath, one detail that drew me into the premier of Dexter was how uncomfortable the Miami heat made him. Humidity is the worst, y’all. And showrunner Clyde Phillips’ choice to emphasize Dexter’s sweatiness instead of sanitizing it grounded the series. I could totally relate to Dexter, not because I talk to the ghost of my dead adopted father and passively plot murders, but because he’s a dude sweating in Florida. I’ve been there.
I don’t know exactly when it stopped, but I noticed Dexter stopped sweating later on. I’m not saying the show got worse because Dexter stopped sweating, but I think it’s indicative of the production cutting corners and not paying as much attention to details.
Well good news, sweat fans! I’ve never felt the temperature of a show as viscerally as I did seeing Dexter walk around a snowy field with purple lips.
This may seem like the positive version of a nitpick (a nitput?). No buts, that’s the end of the sentence. I don’t care if it’s nitputty, I like a Dexter who’s affected by the elements.
A Slower Pace
Dexter killed someone on most episodes of the original series. According to this Dexter kill list, Dexter killed 139 people as of the end of the first series. There were only 96 episodes. That’s… more than I thought.
After 10 years without killing, Dexter does kill again in the first episode. But instead of killing when the opportunity presents itself, the first episode focuses on Dexter’s struggle with his desire to relapse. The next episode, he deals with the consequences of being out of practice. Instead of handwaving how he gets away with so much killing, or giving him convenient outs when he almost gets caught, New Blood leans into the drama of trying to get away with murder. Again, a return to form.
Don’t sleep on Dexter – New Blood, even if you hated the original finale. I’m not saying 8 years down the line, Dexter – New Blood won’t lumberjack itself. But only a few episodes in, New Blood won me over. I’m convinced we’ll at least get one good season on par with the original first season.