Archive for December 16th, 2009

Dexter: Season Four Review

WARNING: This post contains massive amounts of spoilers.

Well done, Dexter. You made me eat my words.

All season long, I had been saying that Dexter, while entertaining and still one of the best shows on television, was in danger of growing stale. The show needed to introduce a game-changing twist to enliven the series. Well, they did, and it was devastating.

The final episode was, for most of its duration, more or less what any viewer would have expected: With Dexter’s real identity finally revealed to Trinity, the cat-and-mouse game between the two of them finally turns into an outright chase, with Trinity/Arthur Mitchell trying to escape Miami before Dexter can catch him. Dexter cleverly (and luckily) circumvents many obstacles, ultimately getting Trinity on his table. In their final scene together, Dexter resolves not to be the plague on his family that Arthur Mitchell was.

And then Dexter returned home to find Rita murdered in the bathtub* and, even more disturbingly, his son Harrison sitting in a pool of his mother’s blood, in an almost exact replica of Dexter’s own memory. Continue reading

Aught Lang Syne: The Best TV Characters

John S already called the Aughts the “Golden Age of Television.” Now, he’s joined by Tim to help further justify that statement by recalling some of the most original and memorable characters the medium has produced over the last 10 years. We had one criterion: The character had to debut this decade. Some notable characters who did not make the cut include Gil Grissom (CSI), Mr. Bennet/HRG (Heroes), and Walter White (Breaking Bad).

As for the ones who did, we’re not saying we ranked them, but we’re also not saying the order is random.

Adrian Monk: The character of the seemingly all-knowing master detective has been around for some time now, dating back to the work of Edgar Allan Poe, at least. Adrian Monk didn’t reinvent the wheel on Monk, but in giving the detective a compelling backstory and severe psychiatric disorders—the latter usually played for comedy, except in the context of the former—it added a depth to what could otherwise be a stale cast character.

Furthermore, it’s hard to think of an established actor who has engrossed himself in a television role as much as Tony Shalhoub did for the eight seasons of Monk.* As the eponymous detective stricken with a severe case of OCD, Shalhoub mastered the portrayal of the neurotic genius, even if the show too often settled for being a network procedural that just happened to air on cable.

*There is one other guy on this list that has a case.

–Tim

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