Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Question: First of all, I want to thank you for all that you do. It's wonderful to have a sane voice in this crazy world of television (especially when it comes to the Emmys). I agree with practically all of your insights (though I'll admit that I'm a Dwight fan) and I appreciate your recommendations. I just started the first season of Dexter and I have to say that I'm blown away. It's an amazing show, and though House is still my favorite, Michael C. Hall is giving Hugh Laurie a run for his money. Maybe it's just the Miami flavor (who would have known Miami would be such a great spot for awesome television?) or the freelance geniuses using their "unique" cache of knowledge to make the world a better place, but there seem to be several similarities between Dexter and Burn Notice. And then there are the voice-overs: the often humorous narration offering helpful hints and insights into their respective worlds. Try a mini-marathon of each back-to-back — even if you don't see the similarities, you'll have an afternoon of terrific television. (PS. I just gotta throw in the Dexter/Psych parallel of the father-son flashbacks with the policeman father teaching his son life lessons.)
Answer: Are you saying that if it weren't for the fact that Dexter is a serial killer, he'd be right at home on USA Network? Never considered that, but you make some fun points. Hey, any excuse to plug this terrific Showtime breakthrough, and while I'm at it, here's another plug for the latest Dexter novel by Jeff Lindsay, who thought up this weird little universe in the first place. Dexter in the Dark, which I recently finished, is a great read with no direct parallel to the current TV season, so enjoying one doesn't spoil the other. While the novel's mystical overtones didn't thrill me (harking back to an ancient demon whose presence seems to have scared away Dexter's "Dark Passenger"), I loved everything to do with Dexter's real-world relationship with the kids of his fiancée, Rita, an element of the story that the TV series hasn't yet explored fully (if it ever chooses to go there). Watching Dexter mentor, protect and attempt to parent these twisted children the way foster-dad Harry shaped Dexter during his formative years is both funny and harrowing, which is to say, Dexter at his best. The narrative voice is even more successful in the books than it is as a series voice-over. I get a kick out of both versions.