Dexter continues his jump to the world of high definition as the second season finally makes its way to Blu-ray. The show is killer, if you’ll pardon the expression. In the first season, Dexter pointed out the contradiction of a crime scene in sunny Miami. The aftermath of brutality appears somewhat surreal in such a colorful and bright surroundings. On Blu-ray you really get to understand what he was talking about. It almost feels like the show shouldn’t look so clean, so crisp, so bright. But, of course, it should, and it does in this release.
As we begin the second season, Dexter’s run-in with his brother, as well as its ultimate solution, has again taken his confidence. He’s unable to kill. He must find a way to set his life straight. Rita thinks he’s an addict and makes him go to NA meetings where he meets Lila (Murray) who is as messed up as Dexter. While she might not be a killer, she’s obsessive and is drawn to Dexter’s dark nature. Her antics to keep Dexter are straight out of the Fatal Attraction Handbook. Doakes is also getting closer to finding out what Dexter really is, and that’s going to end badly for at least one of them. Dexter’s oceanic burial ground is discovered, and now he’s on the task force to bring in The Bay Harbor Butcher. Is this finally the end of the line for Dexter? You really need to take the ride and see for yourself. I guarantee you that these dozen episodes will just fly by. Jaime Murray is the best of the newcomers, and she’s simply fascinating to watch, as she appears more self destructive than even Dexter himself. Their relationship ends in one of the most chilling scenes of the series, so far. Keith Carrradine also joins the cast this season as FBI agent Lundy who is brought in to head the Bay Harbor Butcher task force. He’s also smitten with little sis Debra, making for some very awkward moments for everybody’s favorite serial killer. The Code Of Harry takes some hits this season as Dexter uncovers some secrets of both his and Harry’s past lives. The series continues to evolve and never ceases to amaze. This is the best cable series since The Sopranos.
The first thing that makes Dexter work is its star Michael C. Hall. You might remember Hall from his days on Six Feet Under, where he played the conflicted and very gay funeral director. His deadpan style and somewhat offbeat timing make him a perfect fit for these rather quirky characters. If you thought he was good as David Fisher, you’re simply going to love him as Dexter. It amazes me how different he looks and sounds. It was at first very difficult for me to actually identify him, he gets so completely immersed in character. You’ll find yourself rooting that Dexter doesn’t get caught, if for no other reason than you don’t want the show to end. The other actors and characters are also quite good. You’ll particularly like Erik King, who plays Doakes, the only detective in the squad who senses the evil in Dexter. He’s a great adversary for Dexter and helps to bring alive this second season story arc.
Dexter Morgan (Hall) is a forensic lab rat for the Miami-Dade Police. He really knows blood splatter. He should, because he moonlights as a killer. It seems that poor old Dex just can’t help himself. His parents were criminals, and he witnessed his mother’s brutal slashing by a chainsaw gang when he was just a young boy. He was adopted by Harry Morgan (Remar), a police officer. Harry saw the killer instinct in Dexter and taught him how to channel the urges for the sake of good. Dexter adopted Harry’s Code, which means he only kills others that he’s able to prove were killers themselves. Working for the police with his officer sister, Debra (Carpenter), Dexter is constantly just on the verge of getting caught. He has to adapt and evolve to avoid capture. Dexter’s also trying to have a relationship, mostly because he knows it helps him blend in. Buffy and Angel’s Darla, Julie Benz, plays Rita. Dexter doesn’t really feel anything, but he’s trying to act the way he sees others act in the same environment.
Dexter is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It’s all good. The 1080p image is brought to you via a solid AVC/MPEG-4 codec. Have you ever wondered what blood red might look like in the brilliance of high definition? What if there was a lot of it? I don’t mean just gory slaughter scenes. I mean, what if we had the chance to just examine it. Take some time and just take in the color. You won’t have to imagine after you’ve watched this HD presentation. You get pretty much a clean picture with nice bright colors. There’s a lot of dark stuff, so fortunately black levels are pretty solid. Detail is wonderful. This is a near perfect image that still manages to contain enough subtle blemish to make it quite realistic.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track doesn’t offer a lot of dazzle, but it does the job well enough. The dialog is always perfectly placed. The few musical cues come out just fine. About the best thing you can say for any soundtrack is that it disappears into the experience so that you don’t really think about it. This show is compelling enough that you won’t be asking yourself why the sub doesn’t seem to be pounding in your ears. That’s your heart.
Most of the extras on this set require you to put the 4th disc in a PC and get them from the internet via BD Live. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. Otherwise all you will find are some stills and a couple of episodes of another Showtime series.
The only standalone extra on the Disc is Tools Of The Trade. It’s an interactive feature, where you identify the various tools that Dexter uses in his “work”.
From the time I first heard of this series I was fascinated. I don’t get Showtime, so I missed most of this stuff the first go around. I rented the first season and just fell in love. When I was asked to receive and review Season 2, I had to jump at the chance. While most might not want to admit it, we’re all drawn to the dark nature of humanity. Horror films are an extension of that attraction. While Dexter isn’t really a horror film, you will get plenty of the blood and guts. You will also get some well crafted stories and a rather compelling performance out of Hall. All I can say is, I’m going to make sure I’m in line to get and review Season 3 no matter what I’ve got to do. “Trust me, I’m not above sending pizza and hookers.”