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Featured TV on DVD Review: Dexter: Season Four

August 10th, 2010

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

Dexter has been on the air for four seasons now. During that time, it has picked up 19 Emmy nominations, seven Golden Globe nominations, seven SAG nominations, WGA nominations, three PGA nominations, and countless others. It has won numerous awards over the years and is widely regarded as one of the best shows on TV. As I mention in my previous review for the show, over the first three seasons, it kept getting better. But can it keep that streak going during season four?

The Verdict

For those who haven't seen season three, first of all, why not? Go and buy it (DVD and Blu-ray); I'll wait. ... Done? Good.

As you now know, season three ended with a number of changes in Dexter's life, including him and Rita getting married and the two having a child. Much of the season deals with the changes in Dexter's life and how having a family will impact his... hobby. Of course, being a serial killer that hunts other murderers does prove a lot more complicated when he has to deal his family and trying to keep up the facade of a simple suburban life. Dexter has to deal with neighbors that are friendly, not so friendly, and maybe a little too friendly. Dealing with a new baby is hard (the scenes mimicking the opening credits are perfectly done). However, dealing with a teenage girl (Astor, played by Christina Robinson) is damn near impossible. Further complications arrive with Frank Lundy. For those who don't remember, in season two, Frank Lundy was the FBI man sent to hunt the Bay Harbor Butcher, a.k.a., Dexter, and is one of the few people Dexter considered a real threat to his secret. Now he's back and chasing the most difficult case of his career, The Trinity Killer. Frank has recently retired. However, since he was never able to catch The Trinity Killer, or even convince the FBI he was real, the case has become a bit of an obsession with him. Now he thinks the killer is in Miami and this might be his best shot at catching him. Also, he's not at all upset that coming back to Miami will give him a chance to reconnect with Debra, whom with he had quite a fling when he was last in town.

Relationships play an important part of Season Four. Not only is Dexter and Rita's relationship tested, but Debra has to choose between her new boyfriend and Lundy. Quinn starts seeing a reporter and a cop/reporter relationship always spells trouble. So does one cop, Laguerta, seeing another cop, Batista. Heck, it seems the only character on the show that doesn't get into the act is Vince Masuka. But considering how well most of these relationships end, he should probably be considered one of the lucky ones.

So, does season four keep the streak going? Is it the best season so far? I'm going to say yes. I really liked the domestic angle of the show, which is going to be emphasized even more in season five. Plus the big bad Trinity Killer is arguably the best. Not only does John Lithgow give an amazing performance, but the way his character fits into the ongoing theme of the show is excellent. (Throughout the show, the "ghost" of Harry Morgan has been telling Dexter that he's not allowed close personal relationships, because of who he is and what he does. However, when he finds out that the Trinity Killer, Arthur Mitchell, is a family man with a normal job, yet has been able to keep killing and avoid capture for 30 years, he begins to wonder if his dad was wrong and if there's something he can learn from Arthur.)

The Emmys will be handed out on the 21st, and I would be surprised if the show doesn't win at least one award, and it could pick up several.

The Extras

The DVD has a few bonus episodes from unrelated shows on disc four. For a lot of people, these have very little value. Either you are interested in these shows and are planning on buying them when they come out on DVD, making them double-dips. Or you are not interested in these shows and they have even less value. There is also an additional episode you can download, but interviews with select cast members must be downloaded. Why they have the episodes on the DVD, but force you to download the interviews is beyond me.

The Blu-ray is even worse, as all the extras, including the bonus episodes, are downloads only. BD-Live is a great feature to allow fans to download previous or upcoming episodes of the show, but it should not be used to force fans to download content that should otherwise be on the discs themselves.

The technical presentation is solid, as usual, with a high level of detail, deep blacks, bright colors, good contrast, etc. The show's audio is not flashy, but solid throughout. On the other hand, the 3-disc set does cost nearly 40% more than the 4-disc DVD, which is troublesome.

The Verdict

Dexter continues to be one of the best shows on TV, but its home market releases are a little lackluster due to heavy reliance on downloadable content. Both the DVD and the Buy from Amazon are worth picking up, but I'm not willing to call one a significantly better deal than the other.

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