Dexter returns for its sixth season on Showtime and it is beginning to show its age. The snap the show had in the early days is gone and has been replaced with a slow crawl. Michael C. Hall still seems to be interested in his role as Dexter Morgan, but the script writers appear to be in a self-evaluation mood for him. Plus, in the first few episodes I previewed, there was not a worthy opponent, such as the "Trinity Killer" played magnificently by John Lithgow, to challenge our blood spatter expert/serial killer.
Of course by now most people are aware that in real life Hall has survived cancer, as well as married and divorced his co-star Jennifer Carpenter who plays his sister Deb, on the show. These facts, especially the marriage divorce to his "sister," gives the series an offbeat flavor that is not altogether appealing.
The show also spends too much time on Dexter, the father. One episode deals with Dexter trying to find the right school for his son, Harrison. Did we ever plan to see Dexter in such circumstances? Since the best school for Harrison is a Catholic school, Dexter has to examine his own religious beliefs or lack of them. This is hardly the type of analysis that has drawn us to the series for the past five seasons. The series would be better off sticking to the slice and dice scenes and the reasons for the victims.
In keeping with the crawl there is way too much focus on Deb and her problems. We go through crises with her and her boyfriend Quinn (Desmond Harrington) as well as some of her problems on the job. This is not the Dexter and Deb Show, but only the Dexter show. Deb is fine as a supporting character, but let's keep her in her place.
Two of the new villains on the show are Professor James Gellar (Edward James Olmos) and Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks). What their mission is seems to be a bit muddled at the first, but hopefully it will all be explained at a later date. Gellar has a mystical air which Olmos can easily provide, while Travis is his easily manipulated assistant, which the mild looking Hanks fits perfectly. It is anticipated that when their paths cross with Dexter the show will pick up some speed.
There is another running plot that involved Brother Sam (Mos), a reformed killer -- maybe. Dexter is keeping an eye on him on the chance he might have to eliminate him in the ordinary Dexter way. This side story is also slow moving.
Maybe after five seasons there are just no new dramatic events for Dexter to endure. That is hard to believe. In the early years Dexter was one of the most inventive and compelling characters seen on TV. Audiences have come to expect a high caliber of stories that involve him in his quest to rid the world of evildoers. In the sixth season he takes his time in plying his trade.
The sixth season of Dexter premieres on Showtime, Sunday Oct. 2 at 9 p.m.