Plot: What’s it about?
There’s a line in James Cameron’s True Lies in which Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) asks her husband (Arnold Schwarzenegger) if he’s ever killed anyone. His response was “Yes, but they were all bad.” And, if you’ve ever seen Dexter, then you’ll know that he (Michael C. Hall) adopts the same attitude towards his victims. I’ll go on the premise that anyone reading this might not have seen the original run of the show, but is at least familiar with the concept. But in case not, Dexter Morgan is a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department. His sister (Jennifer Carpenter) is a detective for them as well. Throughout the course of the series, Dexter would hunt down “bad people” and would, well, kill them on his table all the while explaining to them why he’s doing it and what they did to deserve it. The irony is, naturally, that he works for the police and his sister as well. There was a lot of cat and mouse going on.
We now find Dexter Morgan (Hall) a decade after the events of the series’ original run. He’s managed to resist his killer instincts and is living in a small New York town. But when a privileged hothead , Matt (Steve M. Robertson), kills a mythical white buck that Dexter has an attachment to, he loses control and takes his first life in nearly a decade. Dexter now must cover up his crime and try to keep Matt’s father, Kurt (Clancy Brown) at bay. Making matters worse is that Dexter’s son, Harrison (Jack Alcott), is trying to reconnect with his father. Dexter has to confront his past, work on being the best Dad he can be and not get caught for murdering Matt. Without giving too much away, Dexter finds himself in the thick of it and it forces him to choose between his old life and his new relationship with his son.
I found myself asking the same question a lot of critics did with this (and many others). This was good and it was nice to see Michael C. Hall once again play Dexter, but…was this really necessary? It didn’t really close any loops that the original series left open and it seemed to be an excuse to lure us back into the world of Dexter Morgan. That’s not necessarily bad, but with the tone and setting different from what we’ve all been accustomed to, it just didn’t feel right. Contrast this with El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, in which it wasn’t entirely necessary, but it did at least serve the purpose of letting us know the fate of one of the main characters of Breaking Bad. Die hards (pardon the pun) might get a kick out of seeing Dexter again, but if I do want to revisit the series, I’ll go back and watch the first three seasons of the original, you know, when it was good.
Video: How’s it look?
One of the things I enjoyed about the original series was the Miami backdrop. Everything seemed baked in sun, the actors looked tan and there was usually a beach in a few scenes. Dexter: New Blood takes all of that and throws it out the window. What we’re presented with is a 2.39:1 AVC HD encode that looks good, but it’s a far cry from southern Florida. The image has a very cold, frigid look to it and while it looks good (razor sharp detail, excellent contrast, etc.) it’s a different look for this character. I get that he’s in a different part of the country, but for those that liked the palm trees and blue skies of the original, this one is a polar opposite.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Dexter wasn’t really known for its dynamic audio. The majority of the action comes from Michael C. Hall’s voiceover narration. His deep, booming voice would take center stage and commanded the episodes. This Dolby TrueHD mix is by no means “bad” but it doesn’t exactly set a new precedent either. There are some occasional surround effects that caught my attention, but I’d classify this as a really good surround mix. Also, after all these years, I’ve still yet to figure out Paramount’s obsession with Dolby TrueHD. There’s got to be a legal document somewhere that explains it.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Why Now? – If you’re wondering why Dexter is back after nearly a decade, this supplement is certainly for you.
- Dissecting Dexter: New Blood – Deb is Back – We get a look at the sibling’s relationship and, yes, how they figured out how to bring Deb back into the mix (those who saw the ending of the original series’ run know that this was…challenging).
- Dissecting Dexter: New Blood – The Kill Room – I’m guessing that this isn’t a place where you’d want to find yourself. Nevertheless, we get a look at the kill room 2.0 and some of the hidden tricks and treats.
- All Out on the Table – By far the most robust supplement, running just over 30 minutes, is this “all encompassing” feature in which the cast and crew chat about their characters, what led them to come back into the fold and so forth. It’s really the only supplement worth watching.
The Bottom Line
The original run of Dexter was widely criticized in its later seasons for “overstaying its welcome” with the last season or two being totally unnecessary. But it’s been a decade and I suppose the filmmakers figured that audiences would be ready for more. If you’re clamoring for the sun-kissed locale of Miami, look somewhere else. For true fans of the show, this is essentially more of the same.