Friday, February 15, 2008

'Dexter' On CBS

You can make a strong argument that Showtime has surpassed HBO in producing quality TV among pay-cable networks, especially with "The Sopranos" no longer on the air.

If you make that argument, "Dexter" would be at the top of the list.

Based upon a series of novels, "Dexter" stars Michael C. Hall as a police lab tech who moonlights as a serial killer. His victims? People in Miami who have committed crimes but somehow skirted the law. Dexter is a one-man judge, jury and executioner, trained by his late adoptive father to channel his latent homicidal instincts into a force for good.

Thanks to the strike, you can catch "Dexter" on network TV, when CBS begins airing the first season of the series Sunday night at 10 p.m.

There's been a little controversy over this, since obviously being on a network, the producers will have to cut out the strong language and nudity, as well as some of the gore that is one of the hallmarks of the series.

Can I recommend a watered-down "Dexter"? Yes. Though I think the series is best-presented in its Showtime format, there is enough great about the series that watching it on CBS won't affect the average viewer.

Hall is fantastic as Dexter, a total opposite to his character on "Six Feet Under." He is Emmy-worthy in his performance. His supporting is solid as well, although many fans of the series wish the whole thing was about Dexter and wouldn't go off into the various subplots.

"Dexter" isn't for the faint of heart, but it's a great mix of storytelling, acting and even humor.



OK, still here? Good.

Man, oh man, assuming the "Lost" producers have every subplot figured out, the ending of this series in a couple of years will be a humdinger, given all the little clues and twists they are leaving for us with the flash forwards.

Sayid (Naveen Andrews) becoming Ben's (Michael Emerson) personal hitman? Didn't see that one coming. And, of course, it begs the question about who the Germans were that Sayid was dispatched to infiltrate.

I can't wait to find out who the final two "Oceanic Six" survivors are.

Meanwhile, the one bad thing about "Lost" is that it's opposite "Supernatural," which might have aired its best episode ever. What could have been a simple ripoff of "Groundhog Day" as Dean (Jensen Ackles) is killed over and over while Sam (Jared Padelecki) is trapped in the same day turned out to be a brilliant mix of humor and pathos. This continues to be TV's most underrated show.

Finally, "Celebrity Apprentice" continues to be bizarrely entertaining, though enough is enough with Omorosa. She was beyond ridiculous last night and should have been booted off the show because of her behavior, no matter which team won.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: NBC, which sends me DVDs for nearly everything it does, did not send me the DVD for the "Knight Rider" TV movie airing Sunday at 9 p.m. So I can't tell you if it's any good or not, but my expectations aren't high. In fact, the one reason why I really wanted to see it - "Arrested Development's" Will Arnett voicing KITT - is gone as Arnett was replaced by Val Kilmer. Justin Bruening takes over the role as the son of Michael Knight, who fights crime in a Mustang supercar. And yes, David Hasselhoff does make an appearance in the movie, which may serve as a pilot if it's successful. It follows the finale of "American Gladiators."

"Monk" (USA, 9 p.m.) begins its two-part season finale as Adrian (Tony Shalhoub) is arrested for the murder of his wife's killer and becomes a fugitive. It's followed by the season finale of "Psych" at 10 p.m.

On Saturday, "Torchwood" (BBC America, 9 p.m.)

And I was remiss last week in forgetting to mention that one of TV's best new shows, "Breaking Bad" (AMC, 10 p.m.) is all-new Sunday.


zodin2008 said...

I will still take HBO over Showtime, despite the obvious quality of a "Dexter".

The only TRULY great series I have watched on Showtime (so far) is "Sleeper Cell". I thought "Dexter" may have been well acted, but too grisly to be remotely enjoyable. I found "Brotherhood" to be achingly slow and boring, the short lived "Huff" to be wildly overated, and "Weeds" has now 'jumped the shark' at least 3 times.

This oast seaosn was the 2nd time my wife & I quit watching "Weeds" and this time we are done for good - "Weeds" should have stopped after season 1, the last time it was any good or any of the characters had remotely redeeming qualities.

Part of the reason, across the board, I have such a problem with Showtime shows is that none of the main characters on almost any series is remotely likeable (save for Darwin on "Sleeper Cell").

Despite this, I am tempted to check out "The Tudors" and "Outler Limits" on DVD, but overall, thumbs down to Showtime.

Yes, "The Sopranos" is the best show of all time from HBO, but I have also really enjoyed "The Wire", "Big Love", "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Entourage" among others. Even going back some years I always respected what I saw from "Dream On" and "the Larry Sanders Show".

HBO over Showtime by a wide, wide margin.

I can't read or comment on the "Lost" stuff as my wife fell asleep and now it appears I may have to even wait until Sunday to watch.

Phillip Ramati said...

HBO has some great programming still with things like "Curb" and "The Wire," but has also had some big misses, like Tell Me You Love Me and (bracing myself for reaction from ticked off fans) John From Cincinnati.

And what I said was that someone could make an argument that Showtime was better, not that it actually was. If you go back several years with things like Larry Sanders, no question HBO is better, but I'm talking about the present.