Earlier this year I said goodbye to my current favourite fictional anti-hero:
Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter analyst who works for Miami Police and just happens to be a cold, unfeeling psychopathic serial killer who murders bad guys that have escaped justice and then hacks them to pieces, pops them in black plastic bags, takes them in his boat, aptly called “The Slice of Life” and dumps them out at sea.
Here is the trailer for season one:
Whenever I become engrossed in a major drama, I find myself worrying about whether it will survive or not. Thankfully, in the case of Dexter, the series has finished and reached some kind of conclusion.
After eight seasons, I can’t imagine Michael C. Hall wanting to play the part of Dexter for a moment longer, mainly because people will forever consider him to be that character. I can’t say that I blame him simply because of the nature of the character as well as forever being referred to as Dexter Morgan the serial killer.
There are actually people out there who truly believe that the characters actually exist and the poor actor has to suffer being chastised for daring to do the bad things he acted out on the screen. In the UK, some actors have received hate mail simply because they committed an atrocity against a much loved character in a soap opera.
It’s amazing to think that people are that gullible and stupid – but it’s true.
While some series manage to run to a logical and satisfying conclusion, there are others that don’t. This is particularly true in America, where major drama series are judged on audience ratings and axed if they do not attract the required number of dedicated viewers.
This truly annoys me.
Series like Lost managed somehow to hold on and reach a conclusion (whether it was satisfactory are not is a subject for another debate), yet other series are simply cut short in their prime leaving a cliff hanger series finale that leaves fans totally frustrated.
One of my favourite science fiction series from the 1990’s suffered with the threat of being axed but recovered. It was hugely popular in the UK but in the US, the ratings weren’t quite as high as expected and the threat of the axe loomed over the series for four out of the five seasons, leading to a truly action-packed fourth season as the producers tried to cram everything in, but leaving season five slightly disjointed.
If you haven’t seen Babylon 5 – here’s a taster – a space battle with the evil Shadows in their malevolent spider-like spaceships:
Even the first season of Star Trek was curtailed too quickly after a mere three seasons. It was only later due to fan pressure that the show was resurrected as movies, which ultimately spawned four more separate series and even more movies.
In the UK it seems that producers are less likely to wield the axe on a show. Some shows last for years and only suffer if they are truly awful.
An example of a show that has true longevity is, of course, Dr Who, which remarkably is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Dr Who is the story of a time travelling alien who seeks adventure and has as his playground the whole of time and the whole of space. All of this means that he can travel to anywhere in the universe and anywhen.
Being an alien, he lives for centuries and has the ability to survive mortal wounds by regenerating into a different person – i.e. a different actor can play the character.
From 1963 to the early 1980’s the series went from strength to strength, despite shaky special effects and crazy storylines.
However in 1989 it was finally axed as the producers thought it had run its course. Many people were upset about this and there were several campaigns to bring it back. The show was resurrected briefly in the 1990’s in a one off special before finally returning to our screens with a bigger budget and much improved storylines and special effects in 2005.
And it has gone from strength to strength since then as one of the flagship programmes of the BBC.
I can’t imagine that happening in America.
If you haven’t seen Dr Who, here’s a taster for you, with a particularly creepy alien:
And here is another clip of the Doctor standing up to his mortal enemy – the Daleks:
Thankfully, Dr Who doesn’t show any signs of going away and there are plenty of other excellent drama series out there.
But alas I must say goodbye to Dexter Morgan. If you haven’t see it, I urge you to do so if you get the chance.
You will thank me for it.
Over to you, dear reader.
What are your favourite TV programmes?
Have you ever suffered because the networks have prematurely terminated one of your favourite series?
Are you a Dexter fan?