Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thoughts on Dexter and Terra Nova Finales

Right around this time of year I usually post my year-end Best of TV lists, but since I'm finding myself behind on a few shows, I'm delaying a bit until after Christmas when hopefully I would have had time to catch up. With that said, I do want to briefly talk about two shows that had their season finales this past week.


The last words of the season was "Oh God" and it's pretty appropriate since all season we were hammered by religion and God. It didn't really work for me especially after Brother Sam was killed since he provided a grounding presence for Dexter and for the audience. Of course, those words was said by Dexter reacting to getting caught killing Travis by sister Deb. It's a moment that fans of the show have been waiting for and as far as cliffhangers go, there's nothing bigger for this show than that. They slightly telegraphed the ending, but maybe it was just me looking for something exciting to happen since the finale itself, like the season, had been subpar. Colin Hanks (and Edward J. Olmos) were fairly game this whole season and some of the apocalyptic imagery was gruesome and exciting, but in general the season felt weaker than most. The finale was especially boring as the big drama was whether or not something would happen with Jamie and even though the show is known for their twists and shocks, they weren't going to kill Dexter's child.

With that said, I was impressed by what Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall had to do, not just in the finale, but in the entire season as well. I was initially worried that their rocky real-life relationship would mean less scenes between the two siblings or scenes that lacked any chemistry. It turned out it was the complete opposite this season with Deb examining her relationship with Dexter and her feelings for him all season giving us plenty of scenes between the two with lots of nuance and emotional charge. I do question the incestuous arc though especially since it doesn't really add anything to the dynamics. Deb already loved Dexter (as a brother) and her reaction to Dexter killing would probably not have changed that much even if she wasn't in love with him. I also question it from the point of view of the writers torturing these two recently divorced actors by putting them in an awkward romantic storyline together. As for the rest of the season, I've already forgotten about it. Here's to hoping a stronger season next year!

Dexter Finale: C+ (B+ for the last 15 seconds!)
Dexter Season 6: B-

Terra Nova

The two-hour finale made me sad, because it offered us a glimpse of what the show could've been this season. It wasn't fantastic, but it was a solid two hours of great energy, good plotting, and thrilling action. If you remember all the way back to the pilot, I was actually high on the show. The show had lots of potential and other than my general annoyance of the Shannon family, I tried to be optimistic. Unfortunately the Shannons became the focal point of the show which would have been okay if we had gotten to learn about other characters, but not really. The finale didn't really change my mind about the family, mostly because I was really disappointed they all managed to come out of it alive, but I was impressed by Elizabeth pretending to inject the guy with dangerous larvae to help Jim escape.

Part of the finale was great. I love that within minutes of the beginning the whole compound was already taken over. Seeing the citizens of Terra Nova (who we should know more of by now) come together was a nice touch. Jim running away from a T-rex who was trying to outrun a fire was a fantastic scene (need more of this please!). And yet still more things to nitpick such as the decision to make Lucas and the rest of the bad guys so one-dimensional. Though I guess in Lucas' case he has more than one dimension but they all hate daddy. And I'm not sure how I feel about The Badlands which is like this show's version of Rambaldi or The Numbers. Now, I'm down on this show because despite the crappy first season it has squandered it's still about a show about a group of people from the future going back in time 85 millions to live with the dinosaurs. THAT IS COOL. They just need to make me care about the characters AND NOT JUST THE SHANNONS. They need to give us more danger, more awe, more of everything really. Well not the Shannons. Less of them would be nice.

Terra Nova Finale: B
Terra Nova Season 1: C+

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