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Featured TV on DVD Review: Dexter: Season Six

August 14th, 2012

Dexter: Season Six - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Amazon

Looking back at Dexter's run so far, nearly every season has been excellent. Season one was a great introduction to these characters. Season two had an amazing twist where Dexter was the big serial killer the police were chasing. Admittedly, season three was a bit of a miss. Season four had the best main guest star in the show's run so far. While the main guest star of season five was a good guy Dexter was trying to redeem rather than a bad guy he was trying to kill. So out of five seasons so far, only one wasn't truly amazing. Expectations for season six were really, really high. Could the show possibly live up to those expectations?

The Show

There are a number of pretty big changes at the start of the season. María LaGuerta had blackmailed Deputy Chief Tom Matthews into giving her a promotion, with the hopes Angel Batista, her now ex-husband, would replace her. Instead he gives the promotion to Debra, after Debra is filled taking down a shooter at a restaurant. It's not the only major thing happening in her life, as Quinn proposes to her. She's freaked out about both. Vince Masuka became a teacher as a side job, and hires one of his students, Ryan Chambers, as an assistant. He's a pervert, so it should come as no surprise that she's very hot, but she's also very good at her job. Meanwhile, Dexter is still dealing with being a single dad, but he has help from Jamie Batista, Angel's sister. That's a lot of changes, and they all happen within the first two episodes.

The season starts off with Dexter going to his high school reunion. Needless to say, he wasn't popular in high school, but there was one person who was nice to him. However, she was dating an abusive boyfriend, who turned into an abusive husband. When she wound up dead, Dexter is convinced her husband killed her and staged the suicide. He's going to see if this guy deserves to be on his table. However, when he gets to the reunion, he's very, very popular. He's got a cool job, so the guys are interested in talking with him. He's also better looking than he was in high school, and a widow.

The first episode also introduces two new possible bad guys. The first is Samuel Wright, an armed robber who killed one of his victims. He was spared the death sentence when the judge presiding over the case died of a heart attack. He was later arrested and jailed on an unrelated drug charge. When he got out, he started a new life calling himself Brother Sam. He uses ex-cons to run his auto-body shop. The cops think it is a scam and Dexter tends to agree. The second is Professor James Gellar and his student Travis Marshall. These two become the big bad guys for the season. They believe they are bringing about the end times and because of the Christian influence to their murders, they get named the Doomsday Killers, or DDK.

Season six is a disappointment. There are a lot of storylines that are set up early on, and several of them don't work. Unfortunately, this includes the big bad guy. Colin Hanks is not intimidating as the bad guy. It's hard to be scared of him or what he does. He's a good actor, but he's miscast here. Additionally, the big reveal was not effective. It hurt the entire season. Another low point for the season was the way the relationship between Debra and Quinn was handled. It just doesn't work. I do like Mos Def's performance a lot better, and Billy Brown is a good addition to the show. Also, I like how Dexter was forced to examine the long-term prospects of being a monster and raising a kid. Also, seeing Debra deal with career advancements was good for the character. Finally, the season ends in an awesome cliffhanger.

During its best performance at the Emmys, Dexter was nominated for eight awards and won two of them. Season five, it picked up five nods. This season, it only earned one. That sums up the quality rather well. It's good enough to be considered, but it is no longer a major player during Awards Season.

The Extras

The only real extras on the Blu-ray are some interviews, but you have to download them. I like the idea of BD-Live, but it has to be done right. Use the BD-Live portal to get previews on the current season, stuff that can be updated as the season goes on. Making people download extras that should have been on the Blu-ray in the first place is not a good way to go. Also, bonus episodes for unrelated shows are not a real extra, they are advertising.

The show does look really good on Blu-ray. During the bright daytime scenes, the level of detail is amazing and the colors are fantastic. The blacks are deep, but frequently the dark scenes do have less detail. There are no compression issues, which is good news. The audio is clear, but for the most part uncomplicated. There are ambient sounds, and the score will surround you, but the subwoofer is mostly underutilized.

As for the price, the Blu-ray cost $5 or 20% more than the DVD, which is fantastic for TV on DVD.

The Verdict

Dexter: Season Six is arguably the weakest season in the series thus far. Michael C. Hall is still one of the best actors on TV right now, but without a compelling big bad guy, the show suffers. There are next to no real extras on the DVD or the Buy from Amazon, but it is likely still worth picking up. I think it might be worth waiting to see how the cliffhanger pays off. If the show returns to form, then you won't want a hole in your collection. If it crashes and burns, then it might be easier to end now.

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