The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount/Showtime - 2007
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 636 Minutes
Genre: TV Thriller/Drama
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English/Spanish Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Julie Benz, Erik King, C.S. Lee, Lauren Velez, David Zayas, James Remar, Keith Carradine, JoBeth Williams, Jaime Murray
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 5, 2009
"Takes life. Seriously"
Dexter is a crime drama about Dexter Morgan, a man who leads a double life as an incredibly likeable forensics expert for the Miami Police Department and as an emotionless vigilante serial killer. Taught by his foster father to harness his lust for blood and killing, Dexter lives by his own strict moral code - he only kills murderers who can't otherwise be brought to justice. Dexter is a killer who grapples with fitting into society while, at the same time, he struggles with his inability to feel emotion. The irony of Dexter's life is that he works closely as a blood splatter analyst with the very people who hunt his kind - the homicide departments.
I am familiar with Michael C. Hall from his days on Six feet under. I have seen him occasionally in other things but my first impression of him seemed lasting. Prior to this review I couldn't see him as believable as a straight man. He portrayed David so well on that series that for me seeing him in any other light didn't fit. Well move over David because Dexter Morgan is a whole other animal. Dexter is a dark and oddly entertaining program filled with interesting archetypes and characters. Fortunately for the innocent Dexter has channeled his penchant for blood into ridding Miami of the criminal element that have fallen through the cracks or who have failed to receive proper justice through the system. His work for the Miami PD puts him in close contact with those who would normally be on the hunt for him which allows him to keep them safely at arms length. While this plays a crucial role in the shows plot what I find just as interesting are the cases that he routinely gets involved in as a forensic analyst for the department, and his struggles to try to appear normal in his daily interaction with the people in his life. He is a complex individual who has no illusions about who he is or what he is capable of. The series is based upon the novel Darkly dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay.
Season two picks right up where Season one ends. Dexter (and Deb) is still dealing with the whole debacle which was the Ice Truck Killer. Unfortunately for him he doesn't get much of a chance to settle back into his work because a group of divers stumble across the spot where he has been dumping his victims. The discovery causes a media blitz and the FBI are bought in to work on this new serial killer case who the press has dubbed The Bay Harbor Butcher. To add fuel to the fire Sgt. Dokes level of suspicion regarding Dexter and his extra curricular activities has increased which has lead him to be particularly vigilant in keeping an eye on him. Lastly, Dexter and Rita's relationship has become strained by the death of her ex-husband and the appearance of a new woman in his life. As the season plays out its compelling and well scripted story is addicting. I love the bevy of well rounded and carefully drawn characters that come together like pieces in a puzzle. Michael C. Hall is simply at his best in this role. The visceral yet satisfying nature of the story is enhanced by his seemingly wholesome but definitively sinister portrayal. New faces help to build upon the already solid cast and add dimension to the seasons unfolding plotline. All 12 one hour Season Two episodes are spread out over three BD-50 Blu-ray Discs. I am surprised at the lack of bonus content that accompanies this great set. Other than the Tools of the trade interactive game feature there is no other option available unless you access BD-Live. Those without BD-Live enabled players or access to the internet, are out of luck. The BD-Live content doesn't offer fans or newcomers to the series an in depth look at Season Two or the show in general. As good as Season One is I think that I liked Season Two even better. What an original and truly entertaining cable TV series.
The rating is for violence, thematic material and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Dexter: Season 2 comes to Blu-ray from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 19 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.
I reviewed Dexter: Season 1 on Blu-ray Disc back in January and thought it looked and sounded great in high definition. This presentation is no different and has similar attributes to Season 1 and in fact offers slightly better image and sound quality. Image are three dimensional with exquisite detail that at times seems to transcend the boundaries of the camera's lens to provide the looking through a window perspective. Colors are visually engaging with rich, natural highlights and vibrant depth. Fleshtones are delineated with enriching complexional structure and lifelike depiction. Contrast is strong without being overstated and blacks are dynamic, with deep, gradational quality and revealing detail in low lighting and shadowy backgrounds. Grain is rendered in fine visible layers that rarely drew my attention. Digital noise was visible during a few darker scenes but it didn't rise to level where it negatively impacted fidelity. The lossless Dolby TrueHD multi-channel sound kept pace with the video quality and was also quite good. Dynamics were sharp and defining without being strident or edgy. Dialogue was rendered with succulent depth and deep room penetration which elevated the quality of Dexter's running monologue through the center channel speaker. The front soundstage was diffused with excellent separation and clearly articulated detail. The presentation didn't offer much in the way of discrete surround sound however the sound field had appreciable depth and spatiality via ambient extension through the rear channels. Bass response wasn't room filling however it appropriately supported the source elements and provided a tight, punchy low end.
- Tools of the trade - Interactive feature
- BD-Live enabled features:
- Blood Fountains featurette
- Dark Defender - A series of shorts
- First two episodes of Showtime series: United States of Tara
Dexter: Season Two builds upon the success of the show's first season and continues to be a dark, compelling and interesting crime drama that features Michael C. Hall in a role that is far and away his best. The show offers strong characters, smart writing and excellent direction. Its technical presentation on Blu-ray Disc from Paramount is strong as it looks and sounds even better than Season One's Blu-ray presentation which was excellent. Unfortunately the bonus supplements don't live up to the audio/video quality which is disappointing. While this is certainly a consideration I hardly find it a deal breaker because this is one of the best shows on TV. Fans of the series can look forward to owning it on Blu-ray disc. If you have not seen it I would recommend giving it a rent.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package