Television’s most likeable serial killer returned this week after an eight-year break and I really hope it can reignite my love for Dexter.
Watching the first eight seasons of Dexter was a frustrating, bordering on masochistic, experience given how wildly and frequently it veered between utter brilliance and absolute nonsense.
Its peak undoubtedly came in series four, when Dexter Morgan (Michael C Hall) went toe-to-toe with rival Miami mass murderer the Trinity Killer, played by John Lithgow.
That series had everything you wanted from Dexter – suspense, humour and jaw-dropping twists, but sadly it was downhill from there.
Climaxing with perhaps the worst ending for a hit show in modern TV history.”
The subsequent four seasons went from bad to worse, climaxing with perhaps the worst ending for a hit show in modern TV history when Dexter fled Miami to become, no really, a lumberjack in Oregon.
That completely bizarre line of work must have irritated our anti-hero too, because when we rejoin him in Dexter: New Blood (Sky Atlantic) he’s ditched lumberjacking in favour of a hunting good store in upstate New York and has successfully managed to keep his murderous urges at bay.
He has a new identity now – the locals know him as Jim Lindsay – and when the series opens has no intention of returning to his old ways, although we know that won’t last.
The new series is certainly an improvement on anything that happened in the last few seasons of Dexter.”
The new series is certainly an improvement on anything that happened in the last few seasons of Dexter (it would be hard not to) but I have so little faith in Dexter that I fully expect the same frustrations and annoyances to emerge in later episodes.
Hopefully the decision to bring back showrunner Clyde Phillips, who was in charge of Dexter during The Good Years, means it’ll get back on course.
But those bad years were SO bad, it’ll take a lot to get me fully invested again.
Sitting on a flop
I get the feeling that Sitting On A Fortune (ITV) is going to be one of those quizzes that arrives on our screens full of hype, runs for one series, then never darkens our doorsteps again.
Gary Lineker famously jumped across from BBC to ITV to host this but sadly it’s hampered by a format that feels remarkably dull and low-stakes.
Six contestants must answer questions while sitting in a golden chair – the twist being that a wrong answer will send them to the back of the queue where they’ll be eliminated. And that’s pretty much it.
This isn’t one of those quizzes that requires a jotter to follow the rules – and that’s a good thing – but neither is it a quiz that will have you engrossed for more than three minutes.
Forgettable new drama
How much you enjoy Channel 4’s new mystery drama Close To Me will depend on your tolerance for a plot that goes out of its way to withhold information.
The drip-feed nature is kind of baked into the storyline though, as it deals with a woman (played Connie Neilsen) who has lost her memory of the last 12 months after falling down the stairs.
That means that almost everyone we meet – in particular hubby Christopher Eccleston – has to act like they have a dark secret, even if they don’t.
Personally, I don’t find that half as interesting as a lot of people do. Watching someone grapple with memory loss and everyone’s reluctance to fill in the blanks just feels forced and frustrating.
If you’re the type of person who feels a bit squiffy if someone has a nosebleed on television, Surgeons: At The Edge of Life might not be for you.
That’s a shame because the human stories that surround the gory operations are some of the most moving you’ll see on television.
Watching the skill and care of these surgeons feels like an incredible privilege for those of us who can stand the blood.
Film of the week: The Many Saints of Newark (available to rent or buy online)
While Dexter’s ending was rightly reviled, The Sopranos had one of the best.
The famous cut to black may have seemed frustrating at the time, but its meaning has been discussed and debated ever since and only added to the series’ reputation.
Creator David Chase has now returned to New Jersey for an unnecessary prequel film that looks at the origins of some of our favourite Sopranos characters.
I say unnecessary because if it wasn’t for the Sopranos connection, I doubt whether this film would have been made. It’s a by-the-numbers gangster tale that you’ve seen a million times before.
It isn’t terrible, but you don’t expect something quite so average from the man who made one of the great gangster sagas of all time.
I can’t help feeling this has slightly tarnished its legacy.