Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Dexter-mania. Sort of. Not really.

It was recently announced that Showtime Networks, which has had some damn fine original programming over the years (Dexter, The Tudors, Ray Donovan, Yellowjackets, and Billions, just to name a few) is being swallowed up by Paramount+ and being rebranded Paramount+ with Showtime. Beside the utterly lame new name, I'm surprised that parent company Paramount Global would let anyone mess with Showtime. It has to be one of the conglomerate's better performers. Conversely, I had Paramount+ for a couple months (to watch the South Park movies and the new episodes of Beavis & Butthead) and was less than wowed as a customer. Hence the cancellation after B&B's season concluded.

It hasn't taken long for the new Showtime to announce it's fresh new direction. As in, fresh off announcing the stupid new name comes word that they are apparently going the tiresome but predictable Hollywood route of rehashing previous titles for spinoffs and origins stories. There's other SHO properties getting the same treatment, but I'm going to address the news about Dexter because that was one of my all-time favorites and I'm less than impressed by what I'm hearing: Showtime Eyeing "Dexter" Prequel Series About Trinity Killer.

Actually, I could see a series about the early days of Trinity working well with the right casting and writing. However, this series is only under consideration at this time. Not sure why they put it in the title of the article, but whatever Deadline.

What the article is really about is that SHO has ordered two other Dexter series: Dexter: Origins, which takes up when Dexter Morgan has just graduated from college and joined the PD, and will feature younger versions of characters from the original series. Not sure I want to see other actors playing these iconic characters, as the original casting was so spot on. And Dexter's actual backstory - his mother's murder, his adoption by Harry, and Harry's attempt to funnel the kid's murderous tendencies into a more acceptable form while keeping him safe from detection - was already laid out in the original series. Which means this show isn't actually an origin story because Dexter was already formed by Harry by the time he joined the PD. He had to be - otherwise he couldn't risk joining the department while still in his training stages as it would have increased his chances of being caught. I'm just not able to get excited about this, as it sounds like they are just milking the concept at this point, rather than coming up with a new, interesting take on it. Can you just imagine that meeting?

Executive #1: "A Dexter origin series? BRILLIANT!!!"

Executive #2: "Think of the money we'll save on development! None of that pesky work creating something new, original, and exciting. God, I love this job."

Executive Buzzkill: "Uh, guys...we got a problem here..."

Executive #1: "I don't see a problem."

Executive Buzzkill: "Yeah, because you probably also haven't seen the original series. All of Dexter's background - from when he was a baby found by Harry at the scene of his mother's murder, Harry's discovery of his psychopathy, how he tried to direct that compulsion into only killing people who deserved it, to Dexter's first kill (and boy, how awkward was that) and all the while fine-tuning the skills he needed to pass as somewhat normal..."

Executive #1: "Exactly! I LOVE IT!!!"


Executive #2: "Whut?"

Executive Buzzkill: "They already showed all his backstory in the original series."

Stunned silence.

Executive #1: "Buzzkill, you're fired."

Executive #2: "Wait, how about this? We show him when he's just starting out at Miami Metro PD! That part hasn't been done yet!"

Executive Buzzkill (rises from chair, heads for door): "But we've already seen him at PD."

Executive #2: "Not the early part of it!"

Executive Buzzkill (opens door): "So it's Dexter, Crime Scene Investigator, The Early Years?"

Executive #1: "BRILLIANT!!! Buzzkill, you're hired!"

Executive Buzzkill (closes door, sits back down): "But what will we call it then?"

Executive #2: "CSI: Miami?"

Executive #1: "Don't be stupid, that's been done. We'll still call it Origins. The public is too stupid to know the difference."

Executive #2: "Brilliant. Love it."

Even worse IMO is that Showtime has also ordered what is being described as the "next chapter" of Dexter: New Blood, described as "the kinds of themes and scenarios seen in the original series but through a new lens". So basically, it's Dexter without Dexter. Also from the article, "Although not confirmed, based on the Season 1 finale, the new lens provided would be from Dexter's grown-up son Harrison...". And by grown-up son they mean the whiny, angsty teen who, outraged by a murder his father committed, murdered his father. Yes, the Harrison sequel that absolutely NO ONE was clamoring for. Welcome to the new Showtime!

Actually, based on this franchise's track record, they'll do a bang up job on these shows until the finale, where they'll totally eff up everything that came before and piss off pretty much the entire fan base.

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