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Dexter: The Most Shocking Episodes

Paramount // Unrated // March 17, 2015
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ryan Keefer | posted April 22, 2015 | E-mail the Author
The Show:

When I heard that the folks behind the former Showtime television show Dexter were putting together a multidisc set of notable episodes I was partly curious. Lots of folks were drawn to the concept of the show but it kept building implausibility on implausibility to the point where personally I had tuned out before the show ended. And it had gotten WORSE. But still, it would have been interesting to see what the ‘Greatest Hits' were, right?

The eponymous Dexter is played by Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under), a blood splatter expert working for the Miami police. But he also more notably is a serial killer. But his killer is of a different breed, one who kills people who deserve to die. Murderers not caught, those being sought by the police. In a way, a killing Robin Hood of sorts. There are formidable baddies most of the seasons for Dexter to seek out while keeping the truth about his life from his friends and family, like his sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter, Quarantine) and his girlfriend/wife Rita (Julie Benz, Rambo). He also gets a chance to explore his thoughts, opinions, his origins, and then some over the course of the show.

There is a strange sort of art when it comes to picking out a compilation from a larger sample size. One is that you want to try and pick out a group that shows the highlights, but also does not completely give the shop away (in this case the store). I think for the numerous warts that Dexter the show may have had, Dexter the compilation set (titled "Most Shocking Episodes") seems to generally nail it. The show's gets the first episode, and some of the better moments throughout the series, and ends at perhaps one of the points the show should have done.

There is also enough controversy on a couple of the shows that as sort of an outsider, will make you say to yourself, "Honestly, what in the good cripes where these people thinking?" But past that initial incredulity, the compilations lack most of the context and exposition, so they do draw you in and make you want more. So in summation, Dexter Most Shocking Episodes show the good stuff, make you want to see the strange stuff, and perhaps most importantly, pull the ripcord on itself before it loses the outsider to the show.

The result is that the viewer not experienced to Dexter wants to see more of it, whether it is the Ice Truck Killer, Trinity Killer or the like. Personally, I would have liked to see a little more of the Miguel Prado arc (Jimmy Smits, a quality actor in damn near everything he appears in) and a lot less of Season Five's triad of Julia Stiles, Peter Weller and Jonny Lee Miller which contributed nothing of consequence, added little to Dexter's backstory and was, let's face it, the beginning of the end for fans of the show.

In a strange way, Dexter Most Shocking Episodes got me partly enthused and partly annoyed about Dexter the show all over again. I remember what I liked, what I didn't, and why I bailed on the show when I did. If you are a fan of a show and circle back on its notable moments you will know what I mean, but in terms of serving as an entry drug, does EXACTLY what you want it to do. I wish I could have quit you Dexter, I really do.

The Discs:
The Video:

Three discs, ten episodes, all presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. I can only recall watching the show in high definition but you can see the production values with each year. The consistent is the vibrant Florida exteriors looking vivid without saturation issues. There is little in the way of edge enhancement, and all in all these discs would appear to be replications of the earlier season sets.

The Sound:

Dolby Digital 5.1 surround tracks for all episodes, presumably similar reissues to the season sets. The audio remains solid, whether it is Dexter's voiceover early on, or the explosion at the house at the swamp, various dynamic action from quieter to louder moments all sound clear and even have a passing moment or two of low-end fidelity or channel panning. They sound like they did on televisions, which is fine by me.


The extras are on Disc Three, with "Dissecting Dexter" as a small three-part look at the character. Part One (5:32) looks at more of his origins, Part Two (4:57) on his Code and some antagonists, and Part Three (5:17) on some father figures for him, dead or alive. "The Kill Room" (3:22) looks at the spot where Dexter felt the most home, while the first two chapters of the novel "Dexter in the Dark" are included as text stills, along with the pilot to the Showtime show Penny Dreadful.

Final Thoughts:

In a vacuum Dexter Most Shocking Episodes may not be much to look at, but it serves the purpose of being a set that shows off some of the better moments in a once promising and ultimately polarizing show. Technically, the discs always looked and sounded good and this remains the case, the lack of extras is a bit of a bummer. New to the show? This is a good jump off point.

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