How the current seasons of ‘Dexter’ & ‘The Walking Dead’ could be their best

Posted: October 22, 2012 in Television

Fall usually means cooler weather, time change, Halloween/Thanksgiving, and football.  Well, it also means that new seasons for your favorite television shows.

Two of the most popular television shows happening right now are Dexter and The Walking Dead, two shows that continually push the envelope of what is acceptable cable television (even though Dexter is on Showtime, so naturally they’ll get more freedoms).  However, it hasn’t exactly been all hunky-dory concerning the two shows.  The 2011-2012 seasons of both shows could have been described as “lackluster” at best, boring even.  There’s been talk that Dexter has “jumped the shark” since the show’s fourth season where Jon Lithgow was arguably the creepiest serial killer since Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs.  Even the last season of The Walking Dead, the show’s 2nd season, was low on the zombie killing and high on the dialog…not necessarily a recipe for winning in a show about killing zombies.

Dexter has gone through a very heavy character transformation since that pivotal fourth season where he lost his wife to a serial killer and became a single father.  The following fifth and sixth seasons were spent on Dexter having to juggle being a father and controlling his urge to kill.  Season five of Dexter was pretty good (not as good as the fourth) but last season – season six – was dismal at best.  However, the season six finale set up the events that have driven season seven so far – Dexter’s sister Deb finding out about his serial killing ways.  Now, here in season seven, we’re getting a wide open Dexter as a character.  He’s no longer trying to lie and keep secrets from the one person he might be in love with.  His sister is no longer wondering why Dexter is always trying to be so distant.  Instead the two of them are trying to figure out how to keep Dexter’s “Dark Passenger” under control while struggling to accept the morality of Dexter’s livelihood.  It’s compelling television because at last Dexter is finally at ease with himself as a person and that makes the show Dexter that much better.  It’s a shame that the show will be ending after next season, but if it has to go at least we’ll get to see everything out there in the open.  Kudos to the writers.

Speaking of kudos, after the snoozefest that was The Walking Dead Season 2, it’s amazing to see the transformation of all of the characters so far in this third season, and we’re only two episodes in.  Two episodes in and this season is already shaping up to be the show’s best season.  We last saw Rick’s group on the run after being held up the entire season on Herchel’s farm, discovering a prison in the rural county somewhere in Georgia.  Last season was full of turmoil for Rick and the gang; there was child death, best friend zombies, pregnancy, and a whole bunch of arguing.  It was more like a season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey or some reality drama like that.  A bunch of hens running around trying to find the head cock.  This season, so far, we get a sense of calm and direction – not only from leader Rick but Daryl, T-Dawg, and even Carl.  Lori and Carol even have direction and that’s perhaps the biggest change from last season where Carol was a mess and Lori just ran around fucking shit up.  Carl has even grown a pair of balls and is going off on his own (“get back in the house, Carl!”) and killing walkers, getting supplies and helping the group.

Rick has taken a more staunch approach in how he is going to lead the group and keep everyone alive.  We haven’t seen too much of Andrea and Michonne but I have a feeling that’s by design and we’re going to be getting a heavy dose of the two in the next couple of episodes.  It’s very refreshing to see the writers for AMC bring The Walking Dead back to reality and these folks being more real-world ready.

Both Dexter and The Walking Dead are seeing resurgence for their respective genres.  People were ready to give up on both shows as Dexter was left for dead and The Walking Dead was just that…the walking dead.  Now, because of perfect writing and better acting, both shows are dominating television once again.

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