Dexter: Season One (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I was told, about two years ago, that there was a TV show that I had to watch. My brother told me this and said that the main character kind of reminded him of me. Ok, I’m flattered. Come to find out that the character in question plays a serial killer and, well, I was scratching my head. Even odder is the fact that actor Michael C. Hall and I share the exact same birthday and the parallels continue. That aside, there is something about “Dexter” that does make a viewer come back from week to week. And for those that don’t know, “Dexter” isn’t just some guy going around killing people, there’s a madness and method to it. For all intents and purposes Dexter is a normal guy who, ironically enough works for the Miami police department as an expert on blood. So how exactly does a guy who works for the police lead a double life as a serial killer and get away with it? Such is the premise of “Dexter.”

Michael C. Hall plays Dexter Morgan and we learn a lot about Dexter through a series of flashbacks (something that is still prevalent in the third season) and see his rage guided by his late father (James Remar). Dexter’s sister, Debra (Jennifer Carpenter of “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” fame) is also on the force as a detective. The first season contains a lot of background information and gives us some insight as to how and, more importantly, why Dexter kills folks. The main thing to take away is that the people Dexter kills are all bad people (not that it makes it ok). These are people who have avoided being convicted of a crime or people who beat their kids. Does the punishment fit the crime? Most likely not. Then again how do you reason with a killer who has not only ever been caught, but is also a member of the police force? We also get some information into Dexter’s relationship with Rita (Julie Benz), his single-mother girlfriend who has no idea as to Dexter’s alter-ego. Couple this with a copycat killer and the first season is chock full of surprises to make “Dexter” a must watch.

Video: How does it look?

“Dexter” airs on Showtime, though during last year’s writer’s strike CBS aired a few episodes (edited for network TV, of course) and is shown in HD. The first season of “Dexter” came out on standard DVD a couple years back and I was very happy to see a Blu-ray set come out. As expected the 1.78:1 AVC HD transfer for each of the dozen episodes look great, just a touch better than they appear in the HD broadcasts. Black levels are strong and contrast seems a bit improved. This sounds odd to say, but “Dexter’s” opening credits are some of the best examples of HD out there. The extreme close ups on the face, eggs and meat. It’s almost surreal but this Blu-ray makes it look pristine. No real complaints here, this is about the best the show can look and it’s an improvement over the standard DVD set, for sure.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the standard DVD set has been replaced by a Dolby TrueHD mix that sounds marginally better, but it’s not something that’s a real selling-point. Like most television shows, the meat (pardon the pun) of the soundtrack is in the dialogue and most of the information is in the front stage. At times the surrounds kick in, but not that often and let’s face it most people aren’t watching this show for the audio. A nice mix, but there are better out there.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There’s an interesting mix of features, mainly promoting the new season of “Dexter” and a new Showtime show “The United States of Tara” starring Toni Collette. There are two featurettes included which contain a behind the scenes look at the show as well as a Michael C. Hall podcast and a true life crime scene. A vast array of features for sure, but this first season is a must have for all fans of “Dexter.”

Disc Scores