Thursday, July 31, 2008

This Week's Obsessions

Felicity's Haircut
Most people hated it when Felicity's response to getting her heart broken was to cut off her signature long curls. In fact, the change of hair in season 2 is (somewhat jokingly) charged with the decline in the show's ratings. I, on the other hand, love her haircut. I think if you've got Keri Russell's graceful neck and delicate feminine features why not show them off with a short haircut. Audrey Hepburn pulled it off, and so does Keri Russell.

Jason Robert Brown
The best contemporary musical theatre composer out there is a staple of my music collection. This week I've wailed alongside Cathy and sympathized with Jamie in The Last Five Years while baking a batch of cookies. I've wept for Leo while listening to Parade and walking home. I've examined "What it means to be a friend" while listening to a sample recording of 13 and been inspired by Songs for a New World. There's no one better than JRB.

Seriously, it's surprisingly entertaining.

The Mole's Nicole
She may be crazy but has there been a smarter or bolder woman on reality TV in recent history? If she isn't the mole (which, if she is, she is doing an amazing job of hiding), I really hope she wins.

The Dr. Horrible Panel at Comic Con
I may not have been able to be there but from the audio recording I heard this sounds like the greatest panel in history. Then again, was there ever any question when the central forces of the project are 2 of the coolest men alive (Joss Whedon and Neil Patrick Harris)?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

a forgotten obsession

I forgot to add one of the most important obsessions of my week...
Justin Timberlake hosting the ESPYS.
Now I'm not a particular Justin fan and there's really only 1 sport I care about at all (baseball) but I got caught up watching the annual sports award show because he could not have been a better host. He was incredibly funny, really engaging and somehow made me enjoy watching the boring awards more than I enjoy watching most things.
Don't get me wrong, I love Jon Stewart, but I'd love to see Justin get a chance to host something really big like the Oscars. Dry political humour works great on late night TV but a tedious awards show needs pizazz like back in the days of Billy Crystal... and Justin's job hosting the ESPYS was the definition of pizazz.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another late week for Obsessions

I apologize again and this time have no excuse for my lateness. Nevertheless, here are my obsessions:

Fred Armisen on SNL.
His Obama impression is dead on and his "political comedian" Nicholas Fehn is perhaps my favourite character on the show. SNL repeats- the perfect summer solution.

Dominic Cooper.
Not only is he the star of The History Boys (one of my all-time favourite movies) but with Mamma Mia, Dom Cooper proved that he can sing, he can dance, he looks great in a bathing suit and he doesn't take himself too seriously.

Top Chef.
I just got into it this week (after a sketch on an SNL repeat inspired me) and I am loving it.

The Cast of The Dark Knight.
The incomparable Christian Bale, the late genius Heath Ledger, the chameleon actor Gary Oldman (aka Sirius Black/Lt. Gordon) , screen legends Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, talented new addition Maggie Gyllenhaal and the perfectly cast Aaron Eckhart- GREATNESS.

Cat Deeley.
Almost every week SYTYCD makes it onto this list somehow. Cat may have been robbed of her Emmy nod but I've never failed to acknowledge her greatness. Tonight's results show, in particular, displayed her incredible skill as a host when she had to reveal a complete upset in the results and then coax a flabbergasted and distraught Twitch back from the edge of the stage to dance again. The woman not only exudes poise but also an amazing warmth.

Dear America, ...WTF!!!

So You Think You Can Dance results show, Thursday July 24.

All I will say is 100% right on the girls (Comfort gone, Courtney in the bottom 2), 99.9% wrong on the guys. That .1% is for keeping Twitch but that in no way makes up for kicking off the best dancer on the show (Will) and putting my favourite (Twitch) up next to him on the chopping block- how dare you.

Kudos to Comfort for, once again, displaying the utmost grace and humility in her exit from the show. Kudos too, to Will who was unfairly booted yet left with a smile, a bow and a few words of inspiration.

Goodbye Will, you will be missed.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SYTYCD Top 8: what show are the judges watching?

Don't get me wrong, the show was great again this week. But is it just me or are the judges wrong a lot this year? I thought that disco routine (like almost all disco routines) was horrible and they praised the hell out of it. The lyrical hip hop was the first lyrical hip hop I haven't liked all year- it was cheesy and awkward- and they loved it. The opening Latin ballroom was good, the Mia routine was wonderful, the first hip hop was great, the Broadway was entertaining, Will's solo was hysterical and everything else got way more applause than it deserved. I never much liked Courtney, I haven't liked Chelsie or Josh since they were separated from their original partners, Mark hasn't had a good dance since he was pulled away from Chelsie, the new judge got on my nerves with all her talk of "the street", Mary has amped up the annoying to extreme levels this year, Nigel is more and more of a flamboyant loser every week, the dancers seem to still be making more mistakes than ever in seasons before and Comfort refuses to leave.

The shining light of the week, however, was that Katee (hands down the best female dancer) was paired with Twitch (my favourite dancer and the best and most versatile hip hopper ever on the show). Katee has never had a bad routine (as Nigel finally pointed out tonight) and Twitch deserved a really great partner after weeks of the lovely but middle-of-the-pack Kherington then a week of partnering Comfort. Twitch dances everything like it's his style and has never taken a "well, he is an untrained hip hopper" excuse. In my opinion, if a hip hopper will ever win this show, it'll be Twitch this season with the unfailingly brilliant Katee trailing right behind him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Mole: the frustrating reincarnation

The Mole is a really cool show. Back in the day, viewers were in for a really cool ride trying to decipher which of the engaging and interesting contestants is the traitor of the group.

Nowadays, the only engaging and interesting contestants were executed as soon as they became engaging and interesting. Week after week the best contestant is eliminated until we're left with only the annoyingly hot-headed and slightly dim Paul, the uber-intense and paranoid Mark, the brilliant but sociopathic Nicole and the bumbling nice guy Craig.

From the very first episode I was sure I knew who the mole was. It was Clay. It had to be Clay. He gave fewer interviews than everyone else, he was smart enough and seemingly trustworthy enough to play the part and he tried to stay under the radar. I was sure it was him. And you all know how much I dislike being proved wrong. Then, this week, Clay got eliminated.

Nicole supposedly tried to throw the quiz this week and failed to get eliminated. She's also proven to be absolutely brilliant. She's the only half-interesting person left so either she's the mole or she has to win. If she doesn't, I officially couldn't care less what happens in the finale of this show.

In theory, I'm glad one of my favourite reality shows is back to keep me entertained through the summer; I just wish it were still one of my favourite reality shows.

go see THE DARK KNIGHT... you won't regret it.

I can relate it to TV, I know I can.

William Fichtner (Mahone is Prison Break and Supreme Court Justice Chris Mulready in one of my favourite episodes of The West Wing) plays a bank manager in the opening scene.

Nestor Carbonell, who played the mayor of Gotham City, also plays none other than the creepily ageless Richard on Lost.

Gary Oldman (Lt. Gordon in The Dark Knight as well as Sirius Black himself) guest starred on FRIENDS.

The legendary Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) played Dracula for 780 episodes of an educational kids sketch comedy show in the 70s called The Electric Company

Without a Trace, Journeyman, House, The Unit, DayBreak, Shark, Dexter, Still Standing, Cold Case, Six Feet Under, Numb3rs, CSI, NYPD Blue, ER, Chicago Hope, TJ Hooker and Murder She Wrote are just a few of the shows that Ron Dean and Monique Curnen (Detectives Wuertz and Ramirez in The Dark Knight, respectively) have appeared on.

I think that's enough TV connections to justify my making yet another movie suggestion on a TV blog.

My Boys: making mondays my favourite day

I've said it before but I just watched the latest installment of the show that is almost single-handedly (alongside So You Think You Can Dance) getting me through the summer TV draught.

Haven't gotten into it yet?

My Boys is a unique sitcom: the friendships seem real, not forced; not everyone looks like a character from the OC; PJ (the lead) is a real girl who wears sneakers and drinks beer and says "dude" and is insecure around "those girls with, like, really tiny wrists"; the characters all look the right age; there are some platonic male-female friendships that somehow have managed to stay that way and, even when they are ridiculous, all the characters are real and recognizable and human. I know these boys, and I know PJ, and I know Stephanie (the token girly girl). I, like most girls I know, can see myself in PJ... which is refreshing after years of Rachel Green being the TV portrait of a "normal girl". Oh, and seriously, that McConaughey impression- perfect!

My Boys is on TBS, Monday nights (at least that's when my PVR catches it). In the States it airs on Thursdays- GO FIND IT and fall for Bobby, laugh with Mike, pity Andy and wish you had your very own Brendan.

Monday, July 21, 2008

BB10 Week 2 Nominations

"Jessie is a tool in all senses of the word" -Steven
No truer words ever were spoke.
Here's the rundown of my current feelings towards most of the house guests.

Jessie- You tool! Get off my TV screen! Your nominations are moronic (Dan will make a perfect ally for whomever snags him first, Steven isn't an actual threat at all and if you hate Renny so much do us all a favour and try and get her evicted). Also, so what if Steven slept through your HOH room reveal, stop acting as though you are entitled to respect. Oh... and LOVE YOURSELF LESS- there's not much there to love.

Keesha- much cooler than I thought she'd be

Libra- way less cool than I thought she'd be

Jerry- that was a lovely moment when you talked about your wife and what you would do for her but seriously, stop talking about the military and stand on your own two feet

April- though I thought I might like her, she's quickly become one of my least favourites: irrational, emotional, whiny and a tad bit whorish

Ollie- I don't hate him, even though he has eyes for a loser, is overly religious, seems to believe that you can become an alcoholic by tasting wine and is responsible for Brian's eviction. I still don't fully hate him... quite the feat.

Memphis- the only thing I don't like is the facial hair. Otherwise, he may soon become a favourite of mine (hey, Brian called it).

Dan- not as dumb as he looks. He may be stupidly loyal but he managed his outsider status the best he could after Brian's eviction, hasn't stepped on many toes, tends to say the right thing and, despite his sheltered catholic life, seems relatively open minded about the world. I'm really rooting for him.

Renny- ridiculous. Go Home.

Angie- poor girl. She's easily the chillest girl in the house but is being ostracized for trying to save Brian (not out of fierce loyalty but because he was a fun guy who didn't make her want to pull her hair out). I like her, leave her alone.

Steven- poor guy. I REALLY like him. Unlike token gay contestants of the past, Steven doesn't play it up. He's not over the top or overly feminine or any of the many forced stereotypes that tend to show up on Big Brother. Instead, he's low key, he's fun, he's loyal, he's not a kiss ass and he's got a good head on his shoulders. The only thing I'd question is the ridiculous hat on top of that head.

Apparently, this season, if you're smart and fun and not a self-absorbed moron you've got a huge target on your back- a lesson in life, I'm sure.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The 07/08 Emmy Nominations

Friday Night Lights is ignored again, Cat Deeley gets no love and everyone is still pretending that Boston Legal is a drama but Tina Fey, Lee Pace, Amy Poehler and Neil Patrick Harris should be smiling. 

For all my thoughts on this year's Emmy nominees check out the newest podcast episode by clicking the link on the right. 

For a complete list of nominees, visit the website listed below.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Joss+Neil+free time= GENIUS

The writers' strike was a good thing.

1) it negotiated fairly for the future of the industry

2) I barely even noticed the shortened TV seasons (though I wish they weren't so)

3) it allowed me to catch up on my DVD watching

4) it resulted in one of the coolest things since Xander conjured a song and dance demon. It is so cool, in fact, that one might call it "Legendary"... (see how I got both Joss and Neil references in there? smooth eh?)

While bored during the writers' strike, genius writer Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly) created Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Starring the incomparable Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and featuring Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Desperate Housewives), Felicia Day (Buffy) and Simon Helberg (Big Bang Theory), this 45 minute saga, chronicling Dr. Horrible (Harris)'s rise to evil, is being released in 15 minute installments on the Internet.

After seeing the first 2 acts of this outrageously funny venture, this critic can't wait for the third and final act to be released tomorrow (July 19th).

I love Joss, I love Neil and I love musicals... what more could I ask for?

Dr. Horrible is funny, charming, original and brilliantly crafted and it will only be available for free for a limited time (after that it will still be available for iTunes download).

If you don't follow the link below in a timely fashion I suspect you'll regret it for a long time to come. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This Week's Best Dance

Katee tops them all once again with Will right beside her in this transcendant Pas De Deux.

This Week's #2 Dance

Twitch and Comfort hit it with a "buck" futuristic hip hop from Dave Scott

This Week's #3 Dance

Superstars Katee and Will rock the boat with a Tyce DiOrio Broadway number.

Obsessions of the Week

I apologize for being late with this week's installment of "obsessions" but I was incredibly sick yesterday. So here they are, a day late, my "obsessions of the week"

Scott Foley: I've been re-watching season 1 of Felicity and simply can't get over the incredible charm of this guy.

Katee: I can't recall any dancer on So You Think You Can Dance who has been as consistently good as Katee has this season. She is not the most charismatic (though she's thoroughly adorable), she may not even have the best technique (though she's at least the top among the girls) but she hasn't performed a single routine so far that has been anything less than great.

Peppermint Tea: seriously, I think it may have saved my life this week

The soundtrack to Legally Blond the musical: much like its film predecessor, Legally Blond the musical is fun, energetic and surprisingly full of emotion and depth. You have to look for it, but there's a lot of truth in there somewhere. Frivolous fun with less frivolity than you'd think.

Counting down to Mama Mia!: easily my most anticipated movie of the summer, this week has been spent anticipating its premiere on Friday.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Big Brother 10: out with the failed and in with the old!

As you all probably know by now, the most shameful of my many shameful TV loves is a certain trashy reality show called Big Brother. I argue that it's Orwellian, that it's psychological, that it's a behavioural study... but really, it's a trashy reality show. I love it though, and will, no doubt, devote hundreds of words to the study of it this summer.

After its first ever winter season turned into a complete train wreck featuring idiotic twists, unfair advantages and the least likable cast yet, Big Brother is trying again this summer and they've made some crucial changes:

1) They're back to basics. There are no hidden relationships, no mortal enemies and no long lost siblings in this season. No one has been paired up with a soul mate or is part of a twist unbeknownst to the rest of the house. Everyone (for the first time since season 3) is a complete stranger. Good thing? I think so.

2) The casting is less casting-like. Like in the first couple seasons, there is an age range in the contestants this year as there hasn't been for the past couple seasons. There's only the one obligatory gay guy but there is a bit more racial diversity than usual and the ages of the contestants are, in general, much more promising. This season, Big Brother seems a little more like they picked contestants from a pile of applications rather than call the agents of aspiring actors.

3) The house looks great. Every season they remodel the Big Brother House but last season it reached new proportions of epic failure with their tacky take on a rustic love cabin. This season the house is more eclectic and really cool looking again.

The season is already off to a better start than the last with these changes in place, and whereas last season kicked off with Matt assessing the do-ability of each of the female house guests, this season premiere featured a cool HOH crowning, a really neat food/prize competition, the birth of a couple of somewhat promising alliances with someone seems to be a Will-Kirby-in-training type of guy linking them together and calling the shots (Brian), the nomination of the only 2 house guests to already succeed in thoroughly annoying me (Jessie and Rennie), and only about 2 minutes of boob talk.

I already really like a couple contestants and I already really like this new season. Here's hoping for a house of guests I can really cheer for instead of rally my pity behind.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

This Week's Top Routines- 1st Place

Josh and Katee's Bollywood Routine

This Week's Top Routines- 2nd Place

Mark and Chelsie's Tyce Diorio Broadway Routine

This Week's Top Routines- tied for #3

Courtney and Gev's Mandy Moore jazz routine

This Week's Top Routines- tied for #3

Katee and Josh's Viennese Waltz

So You Think You Can Dance

for this week's SYTYCD commentary download the special podcast (see link on the right) featuring special guest host Ann. 

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Friday Night Goes Dark for 2 Panthers' Superstars

Friday Night Lights rules for realism. Friday Night Lights rules for realism. The characters don't speak like articulately witty brainiacs but are never played as idiots for the cheap laugh. They live in houses that they could realistically afford and drive cars that don't wreak of product placement. They work at car dealerships and Applebees. And when a character graduates from high school, they are no longer on this high school show.

This week, executive producer Jason Katims gave a statement explaining the release of Gaius Charles and Scott Porter from their regular contracts. The actors, who play Smash Williams and Jason Street respectively, will be kept on in guest starring capacities and Katims promises satisfying endings to their current story lines.

The decision to move the story along without the popular characters of Smash and Street speaks to the mature dedication of the show runners to as much realism as possible. The characters have graduated, it's time for the show to move forward without them. With Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) not far behind them in the "too old for Dillon" line, the release of Smash and Street will hopefully allow the show the freedom to invest in new, younger characters who will have a few years under the tutelage of Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) before also graduating from the show (assuming the show is allowed to continue cancellation-free).

The characters of Tami and Eric Taylor (Connie Britton and Chandler) anchor the show so strongly that a gradual rotation of the teenage characters should breathe new life into the show on a regular basis without it losing its footing. After all, so long as MASH had Hawkeye (Alan Alda), the rest of the 4077th could grow and change but the essence of the show would always stay the same. For every Trapper (Wayne Rogers) lost, a BJ (Mike Farell) can be gained.

For the full story on the Friday Night Lights casting changes see Michael Ausiello's report for Entertainment Weekly.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

New Weekly Obsessions

Every Wednesday I bring you a list of my current obsessions. This week the winners are...

Mia Michaels
A long-time favourite of mine, So You Think You Can Dance choreographer and judge Mia Michaels can always be relied upon for fair, tough and constructive judicial comments, a quirky turn of phrase, unique fashion choices and a general air of absolute cool. It's when she unveils a choreographic masterpiece such as this week's bed routine (danced by Kherington and Twitch), however, that she really shines.

The My Boys Boys
PJ's a great protagonist and someone who the average woman can really connect with. But in watching the first season of My Boys on DVD this week, I've come to realise that the reason I keep coming back to this show is PJ's boys. Bobby is adorably endearing yet flawed enough that you feel like you know him, Andy balances PJ in a comically sibling way, I love the innocence of Kenny and Stephanie's intense and unprovoked hatred of him, Mike's antics couldn't be funnier and his impressions are priceless. I even have a soft spot for Trouty (season 1 "guest boy" played by Big Bang Theory's Johnny Galecki). My favourite boy, however, is Brendan (played by Reid Scott), PJ's oldest friend and roommate. The ease of Brendan's relationship with PJ is truly a rare dynamic on television and their scenes are always some of my favourites.

Sports Night on DVD
If you read this blog regularly you should know by now that Aaron Sorkin is my all-time favourite writer. Throw him together with some of TV's greatest actors like Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Josh Malina (The West Wing), add his partner and director Thomas Schlamme, mix in a boat load of inspiring, dramatic and comical sports references, top with a pinch of pretension and preachiness, bake at a sitcom-appropriate temperature and set to cool on ABC (the best network out there). Voila! You've got 2 seasons of brilliant-but-cancelled entertainment ready for consumption in a nice yellow box set.

The Dark Knight promos and Entertainment Weekly coverage
Is there anyone in the world who's not excited for when The Dark Knight opens in theatres on July 18? I didn't think so. The promos look amazing, and while the late genius Heath Ledger will surely steal the show as The Joker, Christian Bale, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart and Michael Caine are sure to give stunning performances as well in this highly anticipated summer blockbuster. Entertainment Weekly's comprehensive coverage in their latest issue shouldn't hurt either as director Christopher Nolan hopes for a hit like his last film about the caped crusader.

and, lastly...
My TV on DVD collection is my prized possession and I keep it stocked with excessive shopping action over at Way cheaper, easier and more reliable than the HMVs and Best Buys of the world, has quickly become the only place I buy my DVDs. Never again should you pay more than $60 for a box set or have to visit 3 stores to find the ones you want- it's all available on the Internet (for evidence, see my collection, which has overflowed onto a sixth shelf after my most recent purchase of 5 seasons of Will & Grace, My Boys season 1 and a new copy of Buffy season 2).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

SYTYCD Season 4's Best Dances #1

Joshua and Katee's Napoleon and Tabitha hip hop routine in week 1 still reigns as my favourite of the season so far.

SYTYCD Season 4's Best Dances #2

Twitch and Kherington dance a Mia Michaels contemporary routine Week 4.

PS: could Twitch be hotter? I doubt it.

SYTYCD Season 4's Best Dances #3

Mark and Chelsie dance Tabitha and Napoleon's hip hop routine Week 3.

So You Think You Can Dance Week 4:farewell favourites

As the couples tackle 2 dances for the first time, Joshua and Katee stay close to the top of the pack, Jessica scoots buy once again on Will's coattails, Twitch and Kherington finally prove that they truly deserve the popularity that their charisma has earned them, Courtney and Gev save themselves with incomparable solos and Mark and Chelsie continue to grow and move into their new spot as my favourite couple as my original favourites are left behind.

Matt and Kourtni had another disappointing week. I honestly believe that they were plagued with bad timing and luck throughout the competition but the truth remains that they were the weakest of the week and whether I like it or not, the judges had to send them home. Contemporary dancers, the only contemporary routine they got to dance was an oddball anime routine from an untested choreographer that more resembled jazz than contemporary. They were plagued with inaccessible ballroom, consistent unfair comments from Nigel and perhaps the only sub-par Mandy Moore routine ever on the show. But when their time came, and they had underperformed, they failed to tear their hearts out and leave them on the solo dance floor and because of it, they are gone from the competition. Sad though I am to see my favourite dancers go and know that I won't get to see them on tour, it was the fair thing to do and the judges were being as fair as they could be this week. I will miss my giant dance idols immensely.

Now for the good news of the week... Twitchington has finally stepped up. Likable personalities and fan favourites from the beginning, Twitch and Kherington were guaranteed to go far but before this week all of their dances had been good. Just good. Never great. This week they were great. Blessed with a Mia Michaels contemporary routine (and one of her best, at that), Twitch and Kherington proved that the charisma and technique they've shown in previous weeks can translate into a heartrendingly emotional piece of dance perfection. In a week when I had to give up on my favourite couple, it was reassuring to see some of my other favourites really step it up.

In other news... with 2 more out of the park routines, Mark and Chelsie have taken a solid lead in the race to be my new favourite couple.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

This Week's Obsessions

Popular on DVD
This satire of high school soaps was a favourite of mine back when it originally aired and still manages to make me laugh, even now that I'm older and more cynical. Though Sam and Brooke drive me insane, Harrison and Carmen remain two of my all-time favourite television characters and Nicole Julian is one of the greatest villains of all time. 

Definitely Maybe
Rachael gave it a good review on "I watch movies then talk about them" but I never got to it at the theatres. I watched it tonight, though, pay per view in a hotel room in Montreal and was completely delighted. The previews nowhere near did this film justice. It was so delightful that it's earned itself a spot on my shelf among some of my favourite romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally and My Best Friend's Wedding

The TV Addict Podcast Season 2
When TV Guide tragically cancelled their podcast it was a good thing I had an old standard to turn to. The first podcast I ever listened to, TV Addict Daniel Malen and his friend Ari's podcast is just as great now as it was 2 years ago when I first discovered it. Daniel's podcast and blog paved the way for this fellow Torontonian to talk TV.

SYTYCD's Matt and Kourtni
Alright, I love Twitchington to death (particularly the Twitch part) and think Joshua might be the sweetest guy around and think Mark and Chelsie make the coolest odd couple ever but I have made my decision on my clear favourites for So You Think You Can Dance Season 4, and it's none of them. Without a doubt, the charismatic and endearingly quirky tall couple Matt and Kourtni are my favourites. I can't help myself, every time they get up to dance I start to cheer- I simply love them and fear for their lives every time America refuses to vote for them. 

The Backstreet Boys' Greatest Hits
Seriously, try not singing along- try it! I love them... go ahead, judge me. 

Dexter Season 1: nearly perfect

David and Darla shine in the brilliantly plotted, character driven, perfectly cast and uniquely toned first season of Dexter. The character of Dexter Morgan could not be further from Michael C. Hall's famous role as David Fischer on Six Feet Under; while David was golden hearted yet socially awkward, Dexter is a charismatic sociopath. It's a true testament to Hall's genius that he masters the portrayal of both men.

Meanwhile, Dexter's girlfriend Rita (a damaged and innocent victim of domestic abuse) is sympathetically played by none other than Julie Benz whose most famous role as Darla, the vampire vixen on Angel, couldn't have been less detectable. Rita could have easily become a tedious chore of a character but the subtle strength that Benz brought to the role saved her.

Jennifer Carpenter is incredibly endearing as Dexter's sister Deb. Carpenter strikes the perfect balance of tough edge and tender emotion, making Deb one of the series' most intriguing characters.

In fact, the casting is only one of the perfect things about Dexter: the character writing is dead on, each character speaking in a unique voice and supporting all their actions with true motivations; the plotting is fantastic, the ice truck killer mystery was a very Dexter-ish combination of intriguing and disturbing; the direction and production of the show is flawless, everything from the opening credit sequence to the colour palette to the musical score to the detailed props, costumes and set dressing reflects the tone of the show perfectly.

With all this in mind, I would like to point out the one and only flaw in the whole first season... Was there anyone alive who didn't know who the killer was the second we met him? I spent hours and hours shouting "he's going to kill you" at the screen before the first really big twist was purposefully revealed to the audience. I still found the killer intriguing and liked how the plot unfolded but is it too much to ask that the identity of the killer not be obvious? Whether this problem existed because the writers dropped the ball on their subtle foreshadowing, because the director miscalculated the intelligence of the audience or because the actor simply gave off a "don't trust me" vibe I don't know. What I do know, though, is that I'm officially tired of this growing trend of predictability (see the Lost finale: gee, I wonder how Sawyer will get off that helicopter. Wouldn't it be romantic if he jumped to save Kate? Not before he whispers something cryptic in her ear though... duh). Smart shows should not let smart characters be stupider than the audience- it's just not cool. 

On all other counts, though, Dexter is the definition of cool and I forgave the aforementioned misstep when the season finale proved scintillating and surprising at every moment. The final ice truck killer twists shocked me yet didn't seem out of the blue at all (like many of television's "shocking' twists) and made sense of the road that we'd been confusedly following the entire season. 

Kudos to the entire staff of Dexter for coming as close to perfect as TV comes.