Blu-Ray Review: ‘Dexter: The Second Season’ is Killer in HD

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CHICAGO – When “Dexter: The Second Season” was originally released on standard DVD, I lamented the fact that it wasn’t released on HD Blu-Ray and barely had any special features. I hoped that CBS/Paramount would come around to the Blu-Ray craze by season three and they’ve done just that by catching up with the first two seasons of “Dexter,” now in HD. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

I have bad news for those of you with standard-definition versions of the excellent second season of “Dexter” - this is a pretty mandatory upgrade. If you thought the sophomore slump-defying season of this Showtime series was worth buying, the new video/audio and new special features are worth the trade-up.

This season of “Dexter” was nominated for several major Emmys including Best Dramatic Series, Best Actor, and more. And it arguably deserved more. Jennifer Carpenter and Keith Carradine certainly deserved consideration for supporting nominations in a season that arguably surpassed the first.

Dexter: The Second Season was released on Blu-Ray on May 5th, 2009.
Dexter: The Second Season was released on Blu-Ray on May 5th, 2009.
Photo credit: Paramount/Showtime

If you’re completely unfamiliar, start with the first season and if you worried about how that season could be topped, just trust me and dive into season two. The second season of “Dexter” asks even more daring questions than the first, as Dexter’s serial killer past becomes the focus of the show and the creators paint a riveting portrait of a monster dealing with domesticity.

The DVD for season two of “Dexter” disappointingly included no special features and a purely average technical treatment. It was enough to send Mr. Morgan out himself for some vengeance. Apparently, CBS/Paramount heard the complaints because they correct the era with a very solid Blu-Ray release.

The video and audio on “Dexter” are notable enough with 1080p video and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD tracks that probably match the way most people watched the show on Showtime. That’s the problem with non-HD TV sets. Most of us are watching the programs in HD the first time. And now we have to watch them in standard on DVD? It doesn’t make sense. The Showtime picture for “Dexter” in its original broadcast is one of the best and now the home release finally matches.

Even more remarkably, CBS/Paramount took the chance to add special features to a season that had none the first time around. There is still no commentary track, which is disappoint, but now there’s a featurette called “Blood Fountains,” podcasts about the show and the “Dark Defender Series”. Fans can also catch up with the first two episodes of “United States of Tara”.

Season three of “Dexter” will probably be released on Blu-Ray this fall and the show will return to Showtime. With the two Blu-Ray releases of the first two seasons (the first dropped in January), 2009 really is the year of “Dexter”. Just submit. Don’t make him come after you.

‘Dexter: The Second Season’ is released by Paramount Home Video and stars Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Erik King, Lauren Velez, David Zayas, James Remar, and David Carradine. It was developed by James Manos, Jr. based on the novel by Jeff Lindsay. The Blu-Ray was released on May 5th, 2009. It is not rated. content director Brian Tallerico

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