Dexter: The First Season (2006) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller
Showtime || NR - 651 minutes - $54.98 || January 6, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-12-23


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Jeff Lindsay (novel); James Manos Jr. (developed by)
Cast: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Erik King, Lauren Velez, David Zayas, James Remar


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Episode Commentaries
  • The Anatomy of Blood: A Killer Course
  • Witnessed in Blood: A True Murder Investigation
  • Michael C. Hall Podcast
  • First Episode of "DEXTER", Season 3
  • First Two Episodes of "UNITED STATES OF TARA"


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

One thing you can’t deny, pay cable networks like HBO and Showtime sure have produced some great shows over the years: “The Sopranos”, “Rome”, “Deadwood”, “The L Word” and now “Dexter”, one of the best crime dramas to ever appear on television, yes, even better than “CSI: Miami”*...

“Dexter” is based upon the novel ‘Darkly Dreaming Dexter’ by Jeff Lindsay and it’s about blood expert Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) who is the best in his field and one smart non-detective detective. Of course, Dexter is also a sociopathic serial killer, but he only goes after bad people as his father, knowing that Dexter could not be helped for his killing addiction, taught him how to seek out the villains and how to elude capture.

In the first season, we are introduced to Dexter Morgan, his quirks and throughout the season we learn how he became who is and how he developed his “moral code”. What’s especially fascinating about this series is it’s got this dark humor that I appreciate and you add a suspense/mystery aspect with the “Ice Truck Serial Killer” and the crime drama facet that competes and beats any network dramas on television.

But beyond some excellent storytelling and top-notch suspense moments, it’s the cast that makes the show as addictive as it is; you cannot just watch one episode and leave. Nominated for three Golden Globes (and two Emmys), Michael C. Hall, like William Peterson on “CSI”, IS “Dexter”, without him it’s just a good show, no matter who would’ve played the part.

That’s not to say the supporting cast isn’t just as good as Hall, in fact they are great. The beautiful Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter’s unconfident but strong sister; Julie Benz playing Dexter’s girlfriend; plus fellow police officials Lauren Velez, David Zayas and Erik King all round off solid support alongside Hall. The most interesting of them is King playing Dexter’s personal nemesis, James Doakes, a man who not only hates Dexter but feels there’s something off about him. While Dexter can fool others, Doakes does not buy it for one moment.

I have no hesitation in recommending “Dexter” for those who have yet to check it out (or don’t have Showtime). It is easily one of the best shows currently on TV (both paid and free) and well worth at least renting to test the waters.

PS: Look out for a great guest spot from the underrated character actor Tony Goldwyn who serves double duty also directing a couple episodes.

* - Of course, I’m kidding.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Most features from the DVD version have been ported over save the first chapters from ‘Dexter in the Dark’ novel, a couple episodes from “Brotherhood” and episode download of “The Tudors”.

2 Episode Commentaries, the first on ‘Return to Sender’ with cast members Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Velez, David Zayas & Erik King; the second is on ‘Born Free’ with producers Sara Colleton, Clyde Phillips & Daniel Cerone.

BD-Live Special Features (Profile 2.0 Only):

These features were unavailable for viewing at the time of this review (they probably go live on 1/6/09), but here is what I was able to view from the features on the DVD.

Witnessed in Blood: A True Murder Investigation (12:27) – This is an interesting look at how a real blood expert analysis works from the crime to trial.

What’s supposed to be included via BD-Live (but I was unable to watch):

The Anatomy of Blood: A Killer Course (this was supposed to be available on the season 1 DVD set, but I couldn’t access it...), Michael C. Hall Podcast, First Episode of ‘DEXTER’: Season 3 and The First Two Episodes of ‘UNITED STATES OF TARA’.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

CBS DVD enters into the television Blu-ray foray with “Dexter: The First Season” presenting the show on anamorphic widescreen with a 1.78 AR and in beautiful 1080p HD. Given the show is filmed in Miami, colors are vivid and details especially sharp without any noticeable edge enhancement. Having never seen the series on Showtime HD, I can’t speak to if it’s significantly better, but this is looks damn good. I should note that there are a couple scenes that are very grainy, so that’s what takes a half star off.

Another upgrade from the DVD release is a Dolby TrueHD track. I was actually very impressed with this track as the score is immersive, I’ve rarely heard my rear speakers get used as they did on the simplest things like a barking dog and just the whole ambience sounded incredible. Easily one of the best audio soundtracks I’ve heard on a television series.



.::OVERALL::.

“Dexter” is one of the best series on television. It’s not particularly innovative in its style but the stories are incredible from beginning to its thrilling conclusion. The season-long arc is also fantastic, combined with Michael C. Hall’s brilliant performance, this is a must-see show.

In regards to this Blu-ray, the video and audio are an upgrade over the DVD release, but unfortunately CBS DVD/Paramount chose to only make some of the features available via BD-Live rather than on the disc itself. This also means if you have a 1.1 Profile player, you’re screwed.