Blu-Ray Review: Spectacular Fifth Season of Showtime’s ‘Dexter’

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CHICAGO – Showtime’s “Dexter” was in a precarious position in season five after essentially blowing up their own program at the end of season four. Would they jump the shark or keep taking incredible risks? The result is definitely the latter as this turned out to be one of the best seasons of Michael C. Hall’s incredible program and it will be available on Blu-ray and DVD this week. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

At the end of season four, Dexter (Hall) came home to find his wife Rita (Julie Benz) brutally murdered by the Trinity Killer. Dexter’s “Dark Passenger” had put the most important loved one in his life in jeopardy. How does a sociopath deal with grief? How does he pick up the pieces? The writers of “Dexter” were given an opportunity to radically shift gears from the “domestication of a serial killer” plotline with which they had worked for four stellar seasons.

Photo credit: Showtime

Could they have gone somewhere more radically different in season five? Possibly, but I think history will be very kind to this installment of Showtime’s best series. Season five of “Dexter” is, in many ways, supposed to be a parallel to season one. In that installment, we learned that Dexter Morgan came about as a product of the act of a brutal murder. In this season, Dexter himself becomes the one to spawn a killer (a great guest turn from Julia Stiles).

Dexter: The Fifth Season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 16th, 2011
Dexter: The Fifth Season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 16th, 2011
Photo credit: Paramount/Showtime

Handling this season took amazing feats of writing dexterity along with yet-another stellar performance from Michael C. Hall, Emmy-nominated yet again but likely to lose this time to Steve Buscemi of “Boardwalk Empire.” If Hall could pull out a win, it would be the most wonderful surprise on Emmy night. He’s never won and he’s more than deserving. He made amazing decisions this season. Like so many great actors, he not only makes the “right” decisions for the character, but ones that it feels like other actors wouldn’t have even considered. He begins the seaspn in something like a catatonic state, as if the sheer awfulness of what has happened hasn’t fully registered. The season was about Dexter slowly coming back to the land of the living…by killing.

The Blu-ray release of the fifth season of “Dexter” is a bit disappointing. The transfers are nice but there are no notable special features — no commentaries and little behind-the-scenes information. Showtime/Paramount have taken to thinking that episodes of their other programs suffice in the arena of special features. One of the best shows on TV deserved something a bit better.

“The fifth season finds Dexter struggling with the guilt over Rita’s death. He seeks solace in his old killer ways and embarks on an expected and surprising relationship with the mysterious Lumen (Julia Stiles). But Dexter’s need to kill overpowers his desire for human connection. Now with a few people closer to discovering the truth about him, how much longer will America’s favorite serial killer be able to keep his dark secret? The critically acclaimed original series from Showtime, starring Golden Globe winner Michael C. Hall, is back on Blu-ray with all 12 startling and stirring episodes.”

Special Features (all via BD Live on the final disc):
o Episodes 1 & 2 of “The Borgias” and “Episodes”
o Interviews with Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, C.S. Lee, Lauren Velez, Julia Stiles, James Remar, Desmond Harrington, Chip Johanneseen and David Zayas
o Reflecting On Season Five: Julia Stiles

‘Dexter,’ which airs on Showtime, stars Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Velez, David Zayas, C.S. Lee, James Remar, and Desmond Harrington. The complete fifth season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 16th, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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