(Spoilers ahead)

Everyone’s favorite serial killer is back for its 8th and final season. Dexter returns to television this June and Showtime has released the first full trailer for the new season. Following on from the events of last season, we jump ahead 6 months and find that Debra Morgan has taken to LaGuerta’s death with difficulty; and spirals out of control. What new problems does this present for Dexter? And someone new at Miami Metro may cause ol’ Dex some problems too.

Dexter Season 8 premieres June 30th.

 

 

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Film, Trailers

Trailer watch: Michael C. Hall in ‘Peep World’

Dexter’s Michael C. Hall leads an ensemble cast in this quirky family comedy/drama about the strained bond between a family after a book divulging their secrets is published. Co-starring Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson, Ron Rifkin, Judy Greer and Kate Mara, Peep World was directed by Barry W. Blaustein (Beyond the Mat, The Ringer).

The film’s trailer can be seen above. Peep World was first released last year at the Toronto International Film Festival and will arrive in theaters March 25th.

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Television

Dexter renewed for sixth season

It looks like Dexter is sticking around for a little longer. E! is reporting that a sixth season of Dexter is on the cards for next year with the possibility of the seventh to follow. The deal is expected to be confirmed soon but details for now have it as a one-season renewal that comes with the expectation of another. However, the contracts of the primary actors will have to be sorted out before a seventh season can commence.

The current, and fifth, season of Dexter has two episodes remaining; as Dexter Morgan and Lumen Pierce (played by Julia Stiles) continue their hunt for serial rapists/murderers responsible for stuffing more than a dozen girls into barrels after raping and torturing them. Dexter has to contend with the prying of corrupt narcotics cop Stan Liddy (Peter Weller) along with the pressures of being a good father.

After a slugglish start to the season dealing with the fall out from Rita’s death, it was difficult to see how the season would unfold and how the character would ultimately deal with the loss. The first episodes seemed to lag a little (as ratings would indicate) but with the introduction of Julia Stiles (fantastic as Lumen), the story arc seemed to find its legs and the intrigue and intricacies of the show seemed to return in full. The last two episodes have been the highest rated of the season thus far (pulling in roughly 2.11 and 2.54 million viewers respectively) and an indicator the last two of the season will finish strong.

The majority of what has unfolded has been strong; the only serious sticking point has been the unraveling of the Batista/LaGuerta marriage subplot, which seems like an unnecessary distraction. Misleading viewers with the Santa Muerte killings before launching head first into the “barrel girls” was a great slice of television, and the complexities of the characters have benefited significantly.

Where will Dexter and Lumen end the season? Will we get another massive event the way the fourth season ended? Time will tell, but either way, we’re excited at the prospect of more Dexter.

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Television

Why American television needs John Luther

John Luther is not a man of great style, he is not a hero, he is not a soldier, and although he is a brave man, he is not a man of great bravery. Unlike Dexter Morgan, the voices of demons in his heads are the voices of real people, in their flesh that torment his waking hours. He is not a serial killer but at times, he wants to act like one. He is intelligent, haunted, but a good detective, one who battles as many demons as criminals, and he would be perfect for American television.

Luther is a BBC produced television series that aired in the UK this past May, a brutal, distinctly British examination into the life of a murder detective and the evil within and around. Starring Idris Elba (American audiences will be familiar with him from The Wire and more recently, The Office) as John Luther, the series does not hold back from the always difficult life of a police detective- juggling his disintegrating private life (a crumbling marriage) with that of a crime fighter. While topically familiar, it is the method in which this 6-part series plays out that makes it truly memorable. Like The Wire, there is an honesty that paints a picture of grit and turmoil, an underlying imperfection that plagues Luther as a man. When the series begins, Luther is recovering from a botched assignment in which his mental well-being is put into question. Suspension from duty leaves him with nothing but his thoughts to contend with and from here, we see the character’s many layers unfold.

Through circumstances (details withheld to prevent spoilers) he meets a psychopathic woman named Alice Morgan (played with an eerie brilliance by actress Ruth Wilson) that serves as a catalyst for Luther’s constant battles with himself. Alice tortures him mentally, and the fragility of his mind comes as the cost of those around him (most notably his wife Zoe (Indira Varma). His struggles to maintain these pieces gives him an edge over more noted American television characters- who while are dealt with certain turmoil, are never quite taken down a path so dark that we, as the audience, feel genuine fear and sympathy. Unlike the Horatio Caines of the television world, the series creators seem unsympathetic towards Luther- making him strong one moment and distinctly weak the next, almost crippled. Dexter Morgan is perhaps the most similar character on television- except his demons aren’t real- they manifest themselves in his head from ghosts of his past. John Luther however, is tormented by someone who will call him on a miserable afternoon to torture for pleasure.

Procedural television series (CSI, Cold Case et al.) will sometimes have longer story arcs that prevail over the course of the season or over a few, but they will linger, leaving the audience rather exhausted over the 22 (or how ever many) episodes. Luther however, gives you 6 in which all the drama plays out with great urgency. Much of the series is beautifully shot amongst London’s monolithic cityscape. There is great use of light and momentary pauses that enhance the atmosphere of the show. Unlike the machine gun editing of their American counterparts- Luther benefits from the slower, more natural scene-to-scene transitions that rely on a little patience and imagination to hold the viewer’s attention.

Tony Soprano is long gone and time will tell whether the new series of Dexter (does Rita become another ghost in his head?) will hold as much as the previous, American television needs another strong, multi-faceted but fragile leading man. Compelling dramas like Luther come every so often to HBO, series that leave the audience with a sense of accomplishment and intrigue. The ground may have already been covered before but rarely has it been done with such conviction.

BBC America has announced that Luther will premiere in the United States October 17th.

[xrr rating=4/5]

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