Screen Junkies » Julie Benz http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Fri, 31 Oct 2014 21:31:37 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 After An Abysmal Season, Can ‘Dexter’ Get Its Groove Back? http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/after-an-abysmal-season-can-dexter-get-its-groove-back/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/after-an-abysmal-season-can-dexter-get-its-groove-back/#comments Wed, 28 Dec 2011 19:01:26 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=240142 It's a guilty pleasure in the vein of 'True Blood' but instead of sex and violence, 'Dexter' derives its guilt and pleasure from really shitty writing and logical leaps.

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(Here be spoilers)

Oh Dexter, you fickle bitch.

You spent almost the entirety of season six laboring over painfully obvious twists, trotting out magical negroes who leave as fast as they arrive, introducing the worst villain since, I dunno, last season, and keeping Dexter from interacting with the killer or doing any killing of his own. You made it so easy to give up and not care.

Then you return to your core competencies in the season finale. You by no means redeemed the previous 11 hours of television, but you reminded me why the show, even when it’s not good, can still be fun. The show was lying dead on the table, bloody cheek and all, about to be plunged in the heart with a knife, when it was given something of a reprieve.

Dexter has been, despite (or due to) growing ratings, losing favor with its early fan base as well as critics over the past couple seasons. While season five was considered a low-water mark for the show, season six proved that it could be taken to new depths. Addressing all of this season’s myriad shortcomings in detail would turn this article into an opus, but the few high points of this season were completely eclipsed by the following:

The Supporting Cast

LaGuerta and her wig, Angel BatEEEEEEsta, Quinn, Masuka, videogame guy/forensics intern, and nanny girl. This season relegated all of them to “featured player” status, in which they were essentially milling about in the background over the course of 12 episodes. They were never terribly compelling to begin with, but I was hoping at least Quinn would be killed. Actually, I hoped they would all be killed and we’d get a fresh team coming in for what are probably the final two seasons.

Miami Metro’s Incompetency in the Face of Dexter’s Recklessness

In earlier seasons, much of the show’s tension and efficacy stems from Dexter’s precarious double-life. When Deb unwittingly allowed Dexter to flee last season, that tension took a major hit. This season, it seemed that Miami Metro couldn’t detect their way out of a paper bag, allowing Dexter to break from his normally staid and secret rituals to drown a man on a public beach, send video messages to the Doomsday Killer, and enabling him to manipulate the PD at his every whim. Harry’s code, the central tenet of Dexter’s existence, became a non-factor, upending the premise of the show.

Bear in mind that the crux of the season hinged upon Dexter’s ability to take an unconscious body and a toddler down from the roof of a skyscraper in daylight, then to his car blocks away with no one noticing. Very odd. Also, the fact that Miami Metro doesn’t even enter a crime scene until the blood spatter analysis guy gets there was pretty convenient, considering the killer had painted Dexter’s face on the wall. Lots of lucky breaks for Dex this season. Thousands, it seems.

Dexter Didn’t Kill No One!

That’s not true, but he didn’t kill regularly. He also didn’t interact with the big bad this season, save for the last two or three episodes. One could argue that the writers were instead devoting that screen time and energy to exploring further who Dexter is, but one would be wrong. We examine who Dexter is through the dichotomy of his life. The writers of this show have never been capable enough to examine a dichotomy (or anything else) in a subtle fashion, so a glaring juxtaposition between his killing ritual and his daily rituals (much like we see in the opening credits) suffices. And while it might not demonstrate the deft, subtle hand of a Breaking Bad or The Sopranos, watching Dexter kill people has usually been fun enough to allow us to forgive the show’s sins.

The Twist Sucked

First, finding out that Hanks’ villain and Olmos’ were the same person was painfully predictable, so laboring over the reveal for nine episodes was cringeworthy. This season (the highest-rated season thus far) felt like it was playing to a broader, duller audience, with everything from the Saw-type contracptions, to the giant leaps forward that can only be made in police procedurals, to the squandering of Mos Def in the meaty role of Brother Sam. The twist was predictable, but even if it had been a grand revelation, the fact remains that nobody cared enough about “either” villain to give a damn. The struggle between Colin Hanks and Edward James Olmos was boring, and I’m comfortable splitting that blame equally between uninspired writing and a Hanks performance so uninspired that it they easily could have replaced him with a bowl of lukewarm oatmeal.

The season was a total debacle with sophomoric, incompetent writing (which relied on Dexter’s painfully obvious voiceover in lieu of any exposition or credit due the audience), bad acting, and a general sense that the producers could reverse engineer logic to fit their painfully tedious story arcs.

Deb

Julie Benz was the sole bright spot during the entirety of the season, having Deb rival Dexter as the reason for continuing to watch the show, in spite of everything listed above. Her acting sold her struggles with lost love, trauma, stress, office politics, and finally, unresolved feelings for her brother. Fortunately, the cliffhanger in the final scene means that she and Dexter will have to contend with his secret going forward, which allows the viewer to witness the show’s two best assets (as characters and actors) in concert.

Yay, Deb.

The Dangling Plotlines

Initially, these felt incidental and, as the season ambled on, destined to be wrapped up neatly by episode 12. However, the fact that these stories are left with seasons to play themselves out might mean that a little more effort and attention is paid to them, rather than just the struggle between Dexter and the big bads. One can hope for a writing shake-up (desperately needed). Deputy Chief Mathews and the hookers appeared to resolve itself with a whimper over a dinner meeting, when it’s pretty clear that Dexter isn’t written well enough to resolve ANYTHING over a meal.

Quinn’s downward spiral made him a very easy character to say goodbye to, with the expectation that he would perform a redeeming act that would cost him his life. I completely expected his rescue of Batista to be that moment. Then I expected him to jump off the roof of the building in at the end of the finale.

Finally, we have the most shoehorned storyline of the season; the millionaire video game programmer who spent most of the season just lingering around as a lab intern in a fashion so obvious that he might as well have had a cardboard sign around his neck that said “stay tuned.”

I can’t guarantee that these plotlines will get any more interesting in the next season, but at least they weren’t subject to sloppy resolutions in this season.

Dexter Gets Back To Killing

Dexter moved with purpose in the finale, a purpose and urgency that the show hadn’t demonstrated in more than two seasons. The final kill table and nonchalant killing of the Cuban gunman reminded me that even when this show drags ass and treats me like an idiot, much can be forgiven simply by watching a thinly-veiled serial killer doing his thing.

I have never found Dexter to be a particularly good show. It doesn’t handle subtlety well, and the actions of the characters generally don’t mesh well with what we know about them. Convention has ruled, especially this season. But while many fawned over Dexter’s wife’s death at the end of season four, the “outing” of Dexter to Deb has the potential to actually change the trajectory of this show, which is a blessing, because it was wallowing in some shit-infested waters up until that point.

Yeah, I guess I’ll watch next season.

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Beware, Evildoers: ‘Dexter’ Renewed For Two More Seasons http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/beware-evildoers-dexter-renewed-for-two-more-seasons/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/beware-evildoers-dexter-renewed-for-two-more-seasons/#comments Fri, 18 Nov 2011 19:48:15 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=237226 By the time we reach season eight, it will just be Dexter sitting in a room having a dinner party with six ghosts.

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Saran wrap vendors rejoice! Dexter is getting renewed for two more seasons, with the next season, the series’ seventh, beginning production in LA next year. Each season will consist of the standard twelve episodes, which should make for 20 or so grisly murders. Yay!

This news comes after season six has garnered the show’s highest ratings yet, so it’s hardly a surprise. However, the critical acclaim that Dexter enjoyed early on has waned, with detractors claiming that the later seasons lack purpose.

While staying relevant and compelling in later seasons is a struggle most shows must content with, Showtime series seem to have a particularly difficult time with it. Weeds, Dexter, and Californication have all dropped in quality as they went on, causing audiences to wonder if the shows were ever more than an interesting premise.

Well Dexter will have two more seasons to give us an answer on that. Let’s just hope they dispatch this season’s villains in short order, cause they kinda suck.

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Julie Benz Returns For ‘Dexter’ Season Five http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/julie-benz-returns-for-dexter-season-five/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/julie-benz-returns-for-dexter-season-five/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Welcome back.**SPOLER ALERT: DON'T READ FURTHER UNTIL YOU'VE WATCHED THE FOURTH SEASON OF 'DEXTER'**Turns out that Julie Benz will return for the new season of "Dexter." Aussiello got the scoop that Benz will reprise her role in the season premiere despite the fact that Rita's blood is now on the outside of her. Though everyone's being tight-lipped about how she will return.As she told us a few months back, Sara Colleton reaffirmed that Rita won't be brought back as a ghost a la Dexter's father, “We reserve those for Harry. If you have too many things like that it becomes gimmicky.”I hear what she's saying. It's like when "RoboCop: The Series" introduced that hologram-ghost as a recurring character. Totally pulled me out of the tightly-woven narrative.

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Welcome back.

**SPOLER ALERT: DON’T READ FURTHER UNTIL YOU’VE WATCHED THE FOURTH SEASON OF’DEXTER‘**

Turns out that Julie Benz will return for the new season of "Dexter." Aussiello got the scoop that Benz will reprise her role in the season premiere despite the fact that Rita’s blood is now on the outside of her. Though everyone’s being tight-lipped about how she will return.

As she told us a few months back, Sara Colleton reaffirmed that Rita won’t be brought back as a ghost a la Dexter’s father, “We reserve those for Harry. If you have too many things like that it becomes gimmicky.”

I hear what she’s saying. It’s like when "RoboCop: The Series" introduced that hologram-ghost as a recurring character. Totally pulled me out of the tightly-woven narrative.

 

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ABC Sexies Up Its Schedule http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/abc-sexies-up-its-schedule/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/abc-sexies-up-its-schedule/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 ABC has announced its fall line-up and it's brimming with hotties. Tuesday night's we have Julie Benz and Autumn Reeser on superhero family drama "No Ordinary Family," Wednesday's give us Joanna Garcia in "Better Together," and Kelli Garner on Thursdays with "My Generation." In addition to all the fresh faces, there's Michael Imperioli on "Detroit 1-8-7." It's important to have this balance. I don't know why. CHECK OUT THE FULL SCHEDULE AND CLIPS OF NEW AND RETURNING SHOWS AFTER THE JUMP...

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ABC has announced its fall line-up and it’s brimming with hotties. Tuesday night’s we have Julie Benz and Autumn Reeser on superhero family drama "No Ordinary Family," Wednesday’s give us Joanna Garcia in "Better Together," and Kelli Garner on Thursdays with "My Generation." In addition to all the fresh faces, there’s Michael Imperioli on "Detroit 1-8-7." It’s important to have this balance. I don’t know why.

CHECK OUT THE FULL SCHEDULE AND CLIPS OF NEW AND RETURNING SHOWS AFTER THE JUMP…

MONDAY
8:00 — Dancing with the Stars
10:00 — Castle

TUESDAY
8:00 — No Ordinary Family
9:00 — Dancing with the Stars Results
10:00 — Detroit 1-8-7

WEDNESDAY
8:00 — The Middle
8:30 — Better Together

9:00 — Modern Family
9:30 — Cougar Town
10:00 — The Whole Truth

THURSDAY
8:00 — My Generation

9:00 — Grey’s Anatomy
10:00 — Private Practice

FRIDAY
8:00 — Secret Millionaire
9:00 — Body of Proof

10:00 — 20/20

SATURDAY
8:00 — Saturday Night College Football

SUNDAY
7:00 — America’s Funniest Home Videos
8:00 — Extreme Makeover: Home Edititon
9:00 — Desperate Housewives
10:00 &mdash Brothers & Sisters

MIDSEASON

V, Supernanny, The Bachelor, Happy Endings, Mr. Sunshine, and Off the Map

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What’s On TV This Weekend: Friday, December 11th – Sunday, December 13th, 2009 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/whats-on-tv-this-weekend-friday-december-11th-sunday-december-13th-2009/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/whats-on-tv-this-weekend-friday-december-11th-sunday-december-13th-2009/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000  My eyes are up here, kid.This weekend, will Dexter Morgan get his man? Will Deb discover her brother's secret?? Will we get more "oh sh*t!" moments???CHECK OUT WHAT TO WATCH AFTER THE JUMPNOTE: ALL TIMES EASTERN & PACIFIC!!!

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My eyes are up here, kid.

This weekend, will Dexter Morgan get his man? Will Deb discover her brother’s secret?? Will we get more "oh sh*t!" moments???

CHECK OUT WHAT TO WATCH AFTER THE JUMP

NOTE: ALL TIMES EASTERN & PACIFIC!!!

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11th, 2009


I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY
Network:
USA
Time: 8:30 – 11PM

Reasons to watch: Adam Sandler and Kevin James must pretend to be married to one another in order to keep their health insurance benefits. How does Kevin James always get coupled with love interests way out of his league?


WHERE THE #$&% IS SANTA?
Network:
MTV
Time: 10PM – MIDNIGHT

Reasons to watch: Testicle-kicking enthusiast Bam Margera and his band of merry men travel to the Artic Circle to find Santa Claus. Think of all the wasted resources this excursion used. Phil and April, you need to come clean to your son.

WHO’S ON LATE

LENO
Gordon Ramsay

LETTERMAN
Kyra Sedgewick; Brian Scott McFadden; Joe Perry performs

CONAN
Zach Braff; Bear Grylls; Tony Bennett performs

KIMMEL
Ray Romano; Kim Kardashian; the Mighty Mighty Bosstones perform

FERGUSON
Jim Parsons; They Might Be Giants

FALLON
Snoop Dogg; Mary Steenburgen

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12th, 2009


COPS
Network:
FOX
Time: 8 – 8:30PM

Reasons to watch: Ho! Ho! Ho! Volume 7. Officers in Oregon and Texas encounter men with prostitutes. Keep your eyes peeled for Tiger Woods. His week keeps getting better and better.


GANGS OF NEW YORK
Network:
IFC
Time: 8 – 11PM

Reasons to watch: Daniel Day Lewis chews the scenery and raw meat in Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13th, 2009


SANTA BABY 2
Network:
ABC FAMILY
Time: 8 – 10PM

Reasons to watch: Jenny McCarthy, who once bathed in period blood on film, stars in this whimsical holiday tale for the entire family. Talk about an image makeover.
 


DEXTER
Network:
SHOWTIME
Time: 9 – 10PM

Reasons to watch: Dexter and Trinity showdown in the very-hyped season finale. If this episode doesn’t deliver what fans want, expect the show’s creator to be resting in pieces on the floor of the Atlantic.

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