Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: Dexter

We give you what you need to know to dive into the popular shows everyone's talking about.

by | November 14, 2013 | Comments

Welcome to the Weekly Binge, where we’ll be taking a closer look at the shows that are worth your time. This week, the Complete Series Collection of Showtime’s hit drama Dexter arrived on DVD shelves, which makes this a perfect opportunity to get acquainted with TV’s favorite homicidal antihero.




What’s the premise? A forensic analyst for the Miami police moonlights as a serial killer who fulfills his homicidal impulses by preying on other murderers he feels have escaped — or will escape — justice by conventional means.

What’s it like? Think of Dexter Morgan as the equivalent of a suburban vigilante superhero whose primary power is convincing viewers to suspend their disbelief for an hour. By day, he’s a mild-mannered, somewhat socially oblivious blood-spatter specialist who helps the police puzzle out violent crimes; when night falls, he stalks other killers and dispatches them with meticulous precision. Every season features one or two primary antagonists — archenemies, if you will — who provide Dexter with a carrot to chase, whether it be in the form of a nosy detective who comes too close to the truth or a kindred spirit whose technique earns Dexter’s admiration. Meanwhile, he often reflects on his own dark past and struggles not to alienate those who care about him. In other words, Dexter is basically like Batman, except that he’s not a billionaire, he’s kind of addicted to murder, and his crimefighting arsenal is limited to a pair of gloves, some tranquilizer, a set of knives, and a metric ton of saran wrap.

Where can I see it? Amazon, iTunes, and Vudu all have the first seven seasons, while a subscription to Netflix will get you the first four seasons on streaming and the rest on disc. All eight seasons are also available to stream for those with access to Showtime Anytime.

How long will it take? Each of Dexter‘s eight seasons clocks in at 12 episodes, and each episode runs for just under an hour, give or take a few minutes. If you were to, say, tuck into an episode a night and double up on Saturdays and Sundays, you could run through the whole series in a little over two months. If you’re really ambitious, you can probably knock it out in half that time.

What do the critics think? Every season of Dexter is Fresh with the exception of season six, and both its second and fifth seasons sit at an impressive 100 percent. Each of the first four seasons of Dexter earned Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, and Michael C. Hall has nabbed a number of awards — including a Golden Globe — for his work in the lead role. TV Guide’s Matt Roush called it “one of TV’s most gripping dark entertainments,” while Mike Hale of the New York Times wrote, “The series succeeds by being a credible and entertainingly complicated psychological thriller with good characters, a sense of humor and especially a languid rhythm and sun-kissed look that belie the darkness and bloodiness of the stories.”

Why should I watch this? Dexter boasts a juicy premise, interesting characters, tense atmosphere, a smidgen of dry humor, and propulsive storytelling, even if it does go off the rails every once in a while. The series strikes a pretty effective balance between its seasonal plotlines and Dexter’s ongoing relationships, tossing in a generous helping of unexpected twists for good measure. As we’ve mentioned, you’ll have to be willing to let go of conventional logic just a bit to fully enjoy Dexter‘s lurid universe and sometimes unlikely scenarios, but Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter’s sister Debra), David Zayas (detective Angel Batista), Lauren Vélez (Captain LaGuerta), and the rest of the cast do a killer job making you care about their characters. And while there are plenty of bloody thrills and OMG cliffhangers, it’s the characters that will ultimately compel you to stick with Dexter during its shakier moments.

What’s my next step? The most obvious piece of supplemental media to begin with here is Jeff Lindsay’s series of Dexter novels, which served as inspiration for the show. The first season is essentially an adaptation of the first book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, but after that, Showtime took major liberties with the direction of the character, so the novels should offer a fresh new angle on Dexter’s exploits. Otherwise, if you’re a serial murder junkie, there’s no shortage of great films for you to watch, like Man Bites Dog, Seven, Zodiac, M, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Silence of the Lambs, and of course, Psycho. If TV is more your bag, the last two on that list have inspired a couple of new television shows that recently premiered — namely Hannibal and Bates Motel — while other series like The Following, The Fall, and Ripper Street all deal with similar themes.

What do you like about Dexter? How would you explain it to a newbie? Did the series end on a satisfying note for you? Get in on the conversation here.

Tag Cloud

Horror cartoon jamie lee curtis critic resources archives comic book movies game show Cosplay BBC America The Arrangement Rock gangster anthology Pirates canceled TV shows Academy Awards black comedy Musical interviews blockbusters TCA 2017 Podcast festival leaderboard Action History Logo streaming ratings YouTube American Society of Cinematographers Adult Swim Exclusive Video mission: impossible monster movies rt labs critics edition movie mcc Disney Plus basketball asian-american First Reviews PBS IFC Films summer preview Countdown 2018 SundanceTV posters Mystery miniseries Writers Guild of America sports Sundance TV new zealand Freeform FX on Hulu based on movie Neflix documentary kong singing competition Epix NBC Anna Paquin robots DirecTV Mary poppins a nightmare on elm street TV TCA Tumblr Comedy Central MCU lord of the rings slashers 007 international Hallmark trophy Alien composers Family superman ID telelvision satire Red Carpet Women's History Month Endgame 2021 45 free movies zombie CBS All Access spider-man marvel cinematic universe indie 21st Century Fox Election TBS hist comic book movie Food Network Superheroes book royal family technology Mindy Kaling reviews Mary Poppins Returns Mary Tyler Moore LGBT dragons Tubi Spectrum Originals Star Wars Celebration renewed TV shows cars debate Paramount Network parents fresh scary reboot Holiday stop motion Black Mirror ABC Signature Quiz Broadway Indigenous scene in color series Year in Review sag awards ghosts Britbox saw TIFF Amazon Prime sequels Box Office Sundance Paramount Pictures disaster witnail Awards Tour summer TV target scene in color 2015 Star Wars Fox Searchlight MTV worst movies Comedy Comic Book dramedy revenge DGA canceled godzilla 20th Century Fox Valentine's Day 93rd Oscars First Look feel good halloween tv Captain marvel RT21 Sony Cannes young adult APB TV renewals binge Rocky adventure DC Universe twilight Kids & Family WGN criterion CMT laika remakes Drama SDCC South by Southwest Film Festival Watching Series Musicals sopranos The Academy adaptation TV Land elevated horror fast and furious Reality Competition Disney all-time Disney+ Disney Plus Starz Masterpiece FOX The Walt Disney Company worst legend Lionsgate ViacomCBS new star wars movies rt archives Universal cats summer TV preview Tokyo Olympics Classic Film king kong cancelled independent war breaking bad OWN concert slasher President batman Oscar Polls and Games Calendar Lifetime X-Men 94th Oscars Television Critics Association nature Vudu Lifetime Christmas movies kaiju USA Network Apple TV+ Grammys Comics on TV IMDb TV Pride Month GoT New York Comic Con Discovery Channel Winners BBC One CNN spinoff AMC Summer spanish green book spanish language what to watch deadpool Sci-Fi vs. high school diversity blaxploitation 2017 Peacock new york 90s TCA Winter 2020 Pop Best Actor superhero travel Ellie Kemper Fox News rotten movies we love Reality comics YA politics OneApp book adaptation venice theme song suspense critics Nat Geo discovery screenings Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Film Festival Hear Us Out nfl Trophy Talk Crackle TCA Awards sitcom psychological thriller cancelled TV series indiana jones news crime drama 4/20 Legendary animated ESPN HBO Go tv talk Opinion space Chernobyl scene in color Heroines SXSW 2022 latino Sundance Now facebook Oscars aliens Spike 99% Sony Pictures blockbuster Winter TV Photos Film E3 golden globes Wes Anderson genre name the review comiccon medical drama NBA GIFs The Witch cooking romance obi wan ABC versus finale comic books Paramount Plus AMC Plus comic dexter target YouTube Premium The Purge Biopics El Rey Emmy Nominations RT History HFPA FXX The Walking Dead true crime Prime Video biography DC streaming service Shudder Fall TV obituary FX Best Picture Extras nbcuniversal scorecard universal monsters Chilling Adventures of Sabrina boxoffice Tomatazos spain comedies Thanksgiving olympics Character Guide Fargo A&E adenture best Television Academy PlayStation james bond Syfy festivals 71st Emmy Awards talk show Universal Pictures hidden camera LGBTQ scene in color film series docudrama Trivia TNT cults Superheroe Martial Arts spy thriller Columbia Pictures popular MSNBC Rocketman Walt Disney Pictures social media kids Creative Arts Emmys Amazon GLAAD japanese ITV crime thriller cinemax dark Avengers DC Comics stoner south america mob Toys Comic-Con@Home 2021 transformers zero dark thirty Nickelodeon Sneak Peek Certified Fresh Teen Marathons thriller TCM Shondaland Song of Ice and Fire italian toy story Dark Horse Comics classics Marvel razzies Paramount Showtime Disney Channel SXSW BAFTA dogs documentaries psycho hollywood Trailer police drama cops mutant Nominations Brie Larson french broadcast Rom-Com football live action Lucasfilm Best and Worst Binge Guide Turner Classic Movies serial killer rotten Netflix Christmas movies VH1 Bravo aapi IFC political drama VICE live event rom-coms docuseries Tarantino 2019 black trailers San Diego Comic-Con zombies marvel comics golden globe awards Best Director television japan Marvel Studios science fiction casting anime Emmys MGM Schedule dreamworks WarnerMedia Ovation TV movies VOD Image Comics historical drama emmy awards Mudbound Set visit child's play Black History Month TruTV toronto pirates of the caribbean dceu natural history Video Games directors hispanic video on demand Focus Features NYCC A24 Warner Bros. Geeked Week foreign USA ABC Family Western Disney streaming service harry potter BET Awards 79th Golden Globes Awards Hallmark Christmas movies 72 Emmy Awards vampires boxing Apple spider-verse Interview Super Bowl Fantasy Christmas Star Trek children's TV films quibi Pet Sematary joker E! hispanic heritage month Esquire biopic Cartoon Network wonder woman movies 24 frames cancelled TV shows richard e. Grant Native Baby Yoda TV One CBS die hard screen actors guild Amazon Prime Video series Acorn TV chucky See It Skip It werewolf 1990s strong female leads sequel cancelled television crossover king arthur justice league streaming movies YouTube Red Apple TV Plus 2020 jurassic park Best Actress australia Netflix christmas movies Instagram Live streamig TLC Premiere Dates game of thrones award winner teaser Pacific Islander women Spring TV stand-up comedy mockumentary prank Ghostbusters Hulu Awards unscripted video art house Turner CW Seed Travel Channel romantic comedy Stephen King heist movie halloween HBO Max 73rd Emmy Awards Arrowverse franchise Country Holidays Elton John Tags: Comedy The CW scary movies National Geographic Marvel Television Crunchyroll dc Hollywood Foreign Press Association Pop TV Amazon Studios supernatural Animation PaleyFest BBC crime HBO Music period drama 2016 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards action-comedy Infographic Funimation BET rt labs Pixar doctor who know your critic