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Blu-ray Review: Dexter – Season 1

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As I stated in my review of Dexter season two, Dexter is the best show on television. It’s important to get that out of the way in the beginning so you know what my biases are.

But, this review isn’t really about the show itself; it’s more about the first ever Dexter Blu-ray release. After seeing what Blu-ray could do, my first thought was I hope they release Dexter on it. Dexter is full of vibrant colors, and has scenic Florida as its backdrop, which is perfect for the high definition treatment.

The Show

Season one of Dexter introduced us to Dexter, the lovable but demented serial killer. By day he’s a blood spatter specialist for the Miami-Dade police force. At night he kills people. But rest assured he only rids the world of the bad and degenerate. Criminals who are able to beat the justice system find themselves receiving Dexter’s brand of justice.

In season one we are shown flashbacks of when Dexter was a child, and how his father Harry saw that Dexter wasn’t quite right. He saw that Dexter had a dark side. Instead of trying to purge the darkness from Dexter, Harry decided to cultivate it into something that would help, instead of hurt, the world. Dexter has to deal with trying to have a normal life, all the while hiding the person he really is. His narrative voiceovers are wickedly hilarious, but also deeply profound.

Season one deals mainly with the Ice Truck Killer case. A man is killing prostitutes in Miami and leaving their bodies packaged and bloodless for the authorities to find. Dexter becomes infatuated with the case. Someone out there is exactly like him. While all the other cops want to catch this madman, Dexter would prefer to admire his “art.”

With only 12 episodes Dexter moves at an extremely fast pace. Unlike other shows that labor along a 20- or 24-episode season, Dexter is able to pack in all the essentials without letting the show drag.


The Quality

Since many Dexter fans may own the SD version of season one already, you’ll probably want to know why it would be in your best interest to pick up this version. This HD version is presented with a 1.78:1 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encoded image, which creates an absolute orgy of color on the screen. The green of the Miami surroundings is especially noteworthy. The greens are so lush you’ll feel like you’re right there in the mangroves.

Since Dexter is mostly dialogue there isn’t much in the way of extravagant sound effects. But the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD does deliver some very unexpected moments. The upbeat, yet slightly creepy, intro song has some nice bass and some a few sounds thrown to the back speakers to fill in.

The Extras

Showtime is notorious for not spending any time trying to get the extras right for their sets. Instead of focusing on features that may shed some more insight on the show itself, Showtime focuses more on cross-promotion with episodes from different Showtime shows.

They even managed to mess up some of the original extras from the SD version. It had some good documentaries, but now they are only accessible through Blu-ray live. That means that you must have a Blu-ray live enabled player to even access these features that you can get on the SD version. There’s also no guarantee that in a few years Showtime will be even hosting these online extras, meaning at any moment you could lose them.

Ending Thoughts

Extras have never been the reason for buying a Showtime set, so this set is mainly about how great the show looks in HD. It really looks fantastic. The picture almost jumps off the screen. The colors are the most vibrant as I’ve ever seen on any Blu-ray. This was a show that truly deserved an HD transfer and with that it excels.

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