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DVD Review: Dexter: The Complete First Season (Blu-Ray)
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Dexter
Season 1 – Blu-ray Edition
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Erik King, Lauren Velez
Paramount Home Entertainment
Release date: January 6, 2009

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is quite possibly the most interesting anti-hero character on TV. The vigilante serial killer uses his day job as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami Police Department to help put criminals in their place. At night, he uses the training his cop father (James Remar) gave him to kill those who slip through the cracks.

In the first season of the critically acclaimed Showtime series, we’re introduced to Morgan and his methods as he engages in a game of cat and mouse with another serial killer known as The Ice Truck Killer. Along the way, we’re introduced to his step-sister (and fellow cop) Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) and her numerous relationship troubles, his “damaged” girlfriend Rita (Julie Benz), and his aggressively suspicious co-worker Sgt. James Doakes (Erik King) whose sixth sense makes him a constant antagonist for Dexter.

In just 12 episodes, the first season of Dexter is everything good television is meant to be. With compelling and diverse characters and a complex plot, each episode carries the plot forward at a solid pace while branching off into a large range of emotional and moral issues. The show mixes intense drama with a surprising amount of dark humor. The result is incredibly entertaining. Amazingly, people have become quite attached to Dexter, despite the fact that he himself is, for the most, detached from everything around him. He may be an emotionally stunted killer, but you can’t help but like the guy.

A warning for those who have not yet seen the show, it can be graphic at times. It is Showtime, so everything goes, and the show does occasionally go with everything, so one should be prepared for some high-def violence.

The episodes are presented in full 1080p with an English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track (Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital).

TV seasons are slowly coming to Blu-Ray, and aside from Lost, Dexter is the only series currently out on the format that is worth the purchase for the show alone, which is good, because the bonus materials are more of a headache than anything else.

Blu-Ray Live (a.k.a. Profile 2.0) is one of those features that some people love while some people think are useless. HD-DVD had online content available from day one, but there were little if any outstanding examples of what the technology did prior to the format’s collapse. Now that Blu-Ray has the same capability, good examples are still hard to find.

The back of the case promotes 5 different features that make use of profile 2.0, but really, all that means if you have to download the videos before you can watch them. I found this to be really annoying, especially considering some of the features are short, in standard definition, and could easily have been included on the disc. The download process seems to be the only thing that really makes use of the internet connection. There is no user interactivity.

The features include a “course” in blood splatter analysis, a segment on a real life murder that was solved using blood splatter analysis (warning, very graphic content), a podcast by Michael C. Hall, the first two episodes of another Showtime series United States of Tara, and the first episode of Dexter, season 2 (though the box incorrectly states it as being the first episode of season 3). Additionally, since you cannot download the features in the background while watching episodes, the whole process seems needlessly long. In an effort to offset this, it would seem, the episodes are broken into three parts, with each needing to be downloaded separately. Though the features may be interesting to watch, the hoops one has to jump through in order to view them really overshadow everything. Overall very disappointing.

That shouldn’t stop anyone from picking up this 3-disc set though. Dexter is one of the best shows on TV, and the first season showcases exactly why. You’d be missing out if you pass on this one.


Final Score:

Show: A+
Picture Quality: A
Sound Quality: A
Bonus Features: C (A for content, F for presentation)

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