finally, some news on ‘dexter’ season four.

Which, of course, just serves to remind us how far away the premiere really is.  Sigh.

According to Bloody-Disgusting, the latest addition to the “Dexter” cast is Emmy/Tony Award-winner John Lithgow.  You might remember him Dr. Solomon on “3rd Rock from the Sun.”  I remember him as the voice of Lord Farquaad in Shrek.  Apparently Showtime wants us to remember him as Blake from Ricochet.

Lithgow will take on the role of Walter Simmons, the latest serial killer to hit the Miami scene.  Simmons – dubbed the “Trinity Killer” for his propensity to kill in threes – has been forced to move his gig to Miami after FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy (the old dude who bangs Deb in season two) scares him out of his previous territory.

From here, it’s mostly a plotline that we’ve seen before.  Dexter, uncannily skilled in tracking serial killers (gee, maybe because he is one), is given the task of finding Simmons.  Surely there will be several parallels drawn between Dexter and Simmons.  This will make us question the ideas of “justice”, “good” and “evil.”  And Dexter will have to live the same double life that Simmons does, as a suburbanite family man who has to hack up his victims and dump their bodies before dinner.

Unfortunately, we won’t see any of this until the season premiere on September 27.  So…far…away.

I have to take a second to air my thoughts on this, though.  I love this series.  Even if it jumps the shark at some point, I’ll still watch it.  I remember stumbling across it during the winter of my freshman year of college, when the first season was still airing on Showtime.  I was caught up on the first 10 episodes in maybe two days.  “Dexter” is one of those shows that, when you get hooked on it, you can’t just settle for one episode.  It’s damn good, and damn addictive.

That said, heading into the fourth season, I can’t help but feel this is getting a bit formulaic.  There’s always a nemesis that serves as some bizzarro-Dexter in some form.  Dexter learns things about himself through this nemesis.  He becomes fascinated by the nemesis and usually befriends him/her.  But something happens to jeopardize his code or long-term prospects, and he has to knife them too.  As a result, I found the last two seasons began to flounder around the last three or four episodes.  Season two had some potential and just kinda fizzed out at the end.  Season three had tremendous potential and definitely ended with a thud.  I think this is because the show is becoming a bit predictable, and the season-long arcs aren’t always well-planned.  Without spoiling anything, I would say the climax or at least the most shocking parts of the last two seasons happened an episode or two before the final episode.  As a result, the season finale was fairly bland for each of them.  The suspense was mostly gone, and it was evident – as it always is – that Dexter was going to win.  With at least two more seasons booked, it’s not like anyone questioned his chances of succeeding, even in the most dire circumstances.

Similarly, these seasons ended with some MacGuyver-isms that don’t really mesh with the world of “Dexter.”  It was a bit convenient how Dexter managed to escape the most threatening situation of the second season, and the last episode of the third season was just ridiculous.  I’m sure a well-versed, psychopathic killer wouldn’t have overseen Dexter’s escape route there.  I guess what I’m saying is: it’s always too easy for Dexter in the end.  They build up a great amount of suspense throughout the season and he just comes out clean, even when blindfolded.  It effectively kills all the build up the preceeded it.

I’m also wary of the “dual life” scenario that’s been around for a couple seasons now and will only amplify itself with [spoiler] the arrival of the baby.  This is probably because I’m such a big fan of “Breaking Bad” and, as incredible as the second season of that series has been, it’s a bit overplayed there as well.  I just don’t know how many series I can take where the same problems are present.  It almost gets annoying at times.

(But you should watch “Breaking Bad”, because it’s the best show currently airing on television right now, and the second season has been lightyears beyond what I thought was an impressive first season.)

Anyway, those are a few of my thoughts heading into season four of Dexter.  I hope they learn from some of their past flaws.  But I guess, even if they haven’t, I’ll still be watching.


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