Dexter, a new Showtime show about a serial killer who also happens to be a blood expert for the moral equivalent of CSI: Miami. He kills people who deserve it at night and helps catch others like him during the day because he's good at it and has a professional interest in the work of his peers. It's deliciously wrong and speaks to a part of us that craves the sight of someone smiting the wicked righteously, just for once.
One one hand it's the ultimate masturbatory revenge fantasy show: a protagonist unconstrained by anything resembling conventional morality, who acts soft and pushovery and invariably runs afoul of bullies and other monsters, who sometimes need to die. On the other it's a tender story of the emotional reconstruction of a man whose brutal past has rendered him unable to feel. His current girlfriend is so emotionally screwed up herself that he starts to care about her, cracking his own shell in the process.
The cast is excellent. Dexter's played by Michael C. Hall, who did such a great job with David Fisher in Six Feet Under. He's naturally dark and unsettling. I think he has to work overtime to come across as warm and human. I've seen him as a regular cop in Paycheck and it just doesn't work. I don't know any of the rest of them by name although I do recognize some of them vaguely from somewhere, but Dexter's sister is played excellently by Jennifer Carpenter, the girl who played the title character in The Exorcism of Emily Rose, in which she was amazing as well. I can't stand scary movies, but once I started watching it I couldn't look away from this girl. I was amazed that anyone that young, shoot, any actress I could think of, would be willing to make themselves so ugly for the camera, the way she contorted her body and face when acting possessed. It was the perfect way to do it but I've never seen anything like it in my life and it left an impression. I can say the same about her role in Dexter, the most vulnerable, exposed character I've seen in years. Good stuff.
And I should also say that I love 30 Rock, the SNL parody by SNL people and Alec Baldwin. Tina Fey, who I liked on SNL even though Weekend Update usually sucked, is very funny, but Baldwin is friggin' Superman on this show. He kills every second he's onscreen. Five thumbs up.