The ‘Dexter’ revival is pointless and silly

The ‘Dexter’ revival is pointless and silly


Eight years after Showtime’s serial-killer hit “Dexter” ended with a notoriously terrible finale, the show is back with a revival that’s trying to smooth over its dubious legacy.

Premiering Sunday (Nov. 7) at 9 p.m. on Showtime, “Dexter: New Blood” is a limited series following Dexter (Michael C. Hall) a decade after the events of the series. He’s now living in the small town of Iron Lake, NY, under the assumed name of “Jim Lindsay,” ice-fishing from his log cabin, abstaining from murder, exchanging pleasantries about pie with the local pastor, working in a fish and game shop — and dating cop Angela Bishop (Julia Jones), who gets called in to deal with crimes including escaped sheep.

The original series, which aired for eight seasons (2008-2013) on Showtime followed Dexter Morgan, a blood-spatter expert working for the Miami police department who moonlighted as a serial killer targeting other killers as his victims (often people who caught his attention during his day job but who slipped through the cracks of the justice system).

Dexter (Michael C. Hall) is now working in a fish and game shop.
Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME

The show was a hit (drawing 6 million weekly viewers, high for premium cable) because it mixed the reliable beats of a procedural with the production quality, bloody thrills and moral ambiguity of prestige drama — and included memorable turns from guest stars such as John Lithgow, who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe as one of Dexter’s adversaries. The show’s fatal flaw was that it could never choose whether it wanted to have Dexter face consequences or get away scot-free, and this indecisive storytelling manifested in a nonsensical finale in which Dexter threw his sister’s dead body into the ocean, abandoned his toddler son and became a lumberjack — a turn that came out of the blue and was insulting to viewers’ intelligence.

“Dexter: New Blood” does give viewers some credit; when the plot kicks in to interrupt Dexter’s quiet life, it passes that low bar of “making sense.”

Dexter (Michael C. Hall) with his cop girlfriend Angela (Julia Jones) and Julia's daughter, Audrey (Johnny Sequoyah), right standing in a road talking while Audrey holds a sign.
Dexter (Michael C. Hall) with his cop girlfriend Angela (Julia Jones) and Julia’s daughter, Audrey (Johnny Sequoyah), right.
Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME

His son Harrison (Jack Alcott), now a sullen teenager, has tracked him down. To make matters more complicated, Dexter falls off the wagon of his murder-free life and kills Matt Caldwell (Steve Robertson), a jerk customer in his shop who’s the son of Kurt Caldwell (Clancy Brown), a big fish in Iron Lake, prompting a manhunt for his missing son. Women from a nearby Seneca Nation reservation are also vanishing, suggesting that there’s another serial killer afoot. In the original series, Dexter hallucinated his dead father, Harry (James Remar), to serve as his conscience; here, that role is occupied by his dead sister, Deb (Jennifer Carpenter).

There’s a lot going on, and Harrison even gets his own storyline in high school, which serves as the required “Dexter” subplot that has little to do with the rest of the story. (In past seasons, this honor was often carried by Dexter’s Miami P.D. colleagues.)

Despite the fact that “Dexter: New Blood” isn’t as bad as “Dexter” was at its worst, it also doesn’t approach the heights of the original — this ten-episode series isn’t awful, but it’s also pointless.

Jennifer Carpenter stands in the woods behind a tree, bending over and yelling.
Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), who’s dead, serves as a ghostly voice of reason hallucination for Dexter.
Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME

This brings us to the big issue: who is “New Blood” intended for? Audiences who stuck it out through eight seasons of “Dexter” weren’t clamoring for its return — and this revival won’t make much sense to new viewers who skipped the original.

Ultimately, “Dexter: New Blood” feels like a vanity project so that the creative team can redeem themselves after the original’s lumberjack ending — and hope that “Dexter” won’t sit alongside “Game of Thrones” and “Lost” in the pantheon of notoriously bad TV finales.

Nice try. This has all the energy of a toddler covering its eyes and assuming the outside world can’t see them.



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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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