With its premiere imminent, and the legacy of one of television’s most-maligned series finales hanging over it, the first reactions to Showtime’s Dexter revival, Dexter: New Blood, are in. So, does the series achieve its aim of making amends for the controversial events which took place in the show’s original finale back in 2013?
Having viewed the first four episodes, Matt Fowler of IGN felt that Dexter: New Blood does well to drop some more familiar elements while introducing several new ones, concluding that the revival is off to a solid start.
“Aside from the frostbitten location, complete with crunching snow and icy breath, also comes the ditching of the famed opening credits, the Dexter narration, and a few other hallmarks of the original run. That’s not to say these things can’t return (and be meaningful when they do) but New Blood is out to deliver a mix of old and fresh, and it lands really well here at the start.”
Dan Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter has so far found the series to be a rather middling effort, which he describes as being “neither as bad as seasons six through eight nor as good as seasons one through four.” And, while he does criticise the series for continuing trends set by its original run, is this really a bad thing when the idea of Dexter: New Blood is to be a finale do-over?
“Based on four episodes, it can be said that Dexter: New Blood is neither as bad as seasons six through eight nor as good as seasons one through four. It’s a story about a man trying to move on and find a place in a new world, frustratingly told within a show that seems determined to pretend that nothing in the television landscape has changed at all.”
EW’s Kristen Baldwin echoed many of these sentiments, criticising the revivals lack of new threats or scenarios in comparison to its predecessor, as well as a severe lack of subtlety, with many of the creative decisions likely to invoke a groan from some viewers.
“The revival wrestles with some of the same problems that plagued the original, from a penchant for toothless “will Dexter get caught?” fakeouts, to lazy logistical cheats (go ahead and stroll right into that crime scene, Dexter, even though you now work in retail). There’s a decided and familiar lack of subtlety, too. The opening sequence is set to Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger,” an on-the-nose reference to Dexter’s so-called “dark passenger,” and the writing has its share of groaners.”
However, praise has been heaped on lead actor Michael C. Hall, who returns to the role of Dexter Morgan after all these years. Ben Travers of IndieWire applauded the actor’s ability to portray the complex nature of the character, something which made him such a compelling and iconic small screen presence (despite the hated finale).
“Hall remains a talented two-face, able to convey a separation from other human beings even when Dexter’s “pretending” to enjoy their company, just as he’s capable of twisting his character from a man crushed by his own urges to a monster who’s only alive when he succumbs to them.”
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong of The Wrap was solidly in agreement, commending Hall for once again making Dexter such a riveting presence and enabling us to root for him even when his activities are far less than noble.
“Hall, as the ultimate good bad guy, is as riveting to watch as ever. From the jump, we’re rooting hard for him to maintain this beautiful new life he’s built, and, because he’s so appealing, hoping he’ll get away with his crimes.”
Dexter: New Blood also sees the return of Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter’s sister, Deb, who, now deceased, has become the killer’s newest Dark Passenger. Kimberly Ricci from UPROXX praised Carpenter’s return, as well as the decision to bring her back, even calling Deb’s inclusion a “necessity,” which is likely something most fans would agree with.
“Deb, man, she is a necessity. And the way that she appears, very early (and regularly) in this revival, is perfect. She might very well prove to be the lynchpin before all is said and done.”
Finally, Decider’s Meghan O’Keefe found much to enjoy with Dexter: New Blood, describing the revival series as doing exactly what it wanted to – provide fans with the closure they have been pining for.
“Dexter: New Blood is not trying to revolutionize the art form, nor does it. The limited series is instead circling back to a to give him – and fans – a proper send off. In that, Dexter: New Blood is a triumph. It’s a pulpy, witty, bloody fun time.”
Dexter: New Blood picks up roughly ten years after the original series’ finale, and finds Dexter Morgan having moved to the fictional small town of Iron Lake, New York, where he hides his identity under the name of Jim Lindsay, a local shopkeeper. He has developed a relationship with Angela Bishop, the town’s chief of police, and has suppressed his serial killing urges. Despite the serial killer’s best efforts, a string of incidents around Iron Lake cause Dexter to fear that the “dark passenger” within him will reveal itself.
Featuring the return of both Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan and Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan, as well as showrunner Clyde Phillips, Dexter: New Blood stars Julia Jones as Angela Bishop, Alano Miller as Logan, Johnny Sequoyah as Audrey, David Magidoff as Teddy, and Clancy Brown as the villain of the piece, Kurt Caldwell. Alongside Debra’s resurrection, the revival brings another familiar presence back into Dexter’s life, his son, Harrison, played by Jack Alcott. The last we saw of Harrison, he was being abandoned by his father, after he decides to fake his own death during the final moments of the eighth season. Dexter: New Blood will centre on this awkward father-son reunion, with the estranged pair no doubt having a lot to catch up on after all these years.
Dexter: New Blood will be comprised of 10-episodes, and is scheduled to premiere on Showtime on November 7, 2021.
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