Author Archives: apollos2099

Dexter: Adaptation – Biblio

Tyree, JM. “SPATTER PATTERN.” Film Quarterly. Fall 2008. Volume 62 Issue 1, pages 82- 86. <>
The article dealt with issues of Dexter being a story that spans multiple media. They also brought up one of the most important elements of the show, especially early on, which is the atmosphere or aesthetic that the author calls “film noir graphic novel.” He goes on to mention the lush colors and overexposed qualities, and explains that this can create a hyper-real space that further invokes the stylized quality of a comic book. Later, the article goes into detail involving a key episode (in season 2) in which Dexter is more straightforwardly depicted as “The Dark Defender,” a comic book adaptation of his in-show antics. I want to bring up all these issues in my paper, as well as link the show to in the comic adaptation within it.

Holzapfel, Amy. “The Body In Pieces: Contemporary Anatomy Theatre.” PAJ. May 2008. Vol. 30, No. 2 (PAJ 89), Pages 1-16.  <>
This article was interesting for its attempt to connect Dexter and similar shows to the history of Renaissance anatomy theatre. It also interrogates the desire that our culture has to see such grotesque sights, though from a perspective that spans hundreds of years of history. I am not sure if this article can be useful, though viewing Dexter through the lenses of a different genre than police procedural can very enlightening. It may speak more to the graphic aspect of the show and how it may resemble a pulp comic, as well as the mixing of genres and the lack of clear genre distinctions.

Haney, Craig. “Media Criminology and the Death Penalty.” DePaul Law Review. Fall 2008. Issue 1, pages 689-740. <>
Brings up a lot of real world effects that media has on the American public, especially concerning crime and law enforcement. Police procedurals come with the aura that they are nonfiction and yet they often feel little need to hold true to the facts. This leads me to interrogate the implications of a story like Dexter thriving simultaneously in multiple forms of media. Are the American people taking the right message away, or are they merely seeing a vigilante subverting the law? Also, this article brought me to question whether the stylization of Dexter works to bring the narrative from a real to hyper-real setting, or to simply glorify the bloodshed, as well as whether the pursuit for “realism” has brought us to these precarious places.

Jensen, Jeff. “Q&A: His Killer Books.” Entertainment Weekly. September 2009. Issue 1064, page 68. < hww/jumpstart.jhtml?recid=0bc05f7a67b1790eb0fa5fcc5e0d0664240152abb1beefbc49903c0277df6f6de50ffaa8364571d5&fmt=H Jensen, J. Q&A: His Killer Books [Interview with J. Lindsay]. Entertainment Weekly no. 1064 (September 11 2009) p. 68>
This is a small interview with the author of the Dexter book series, Jeff Lindsay. I thought he might have something to share about the interconnectivity of the different Dexter universes, but he mostly spoke about his books. He did mention that though the two Dexters have a lot in common, the divide is becoming deeper. “My Dexter pretends to be nice… their Dexter is trying to become nice,” is how he succinctly puts it. This is an interesting aspect of the two media, how the story grows depending on where it is planted. The nebulous authorship of television means that our desires are more visible than they have been at any other time, and on the other hand Lindsay needs to defend his books from rabid fans that must influence author. Compared to the rest of the interview, which is Lindsay defending his decisions concerning the life of book Dexter, it becomes evident that the two media are held to different standards of legitimacy. One hangs on the intuition of the author, while the other lies at the feet of the populace. This will definitely be at the heart of my paper.

Oppenheimer, Jean. “Dexter.” American Cinematographer. March 2009. Volume 90 issue 3, pages 30-33. < Oppenheimer, J. Dexter [Part of a special section on television cinematography; cover story]. American Cinematographer v. 90 no. 3 (March 2009) p. 30-3>
I was hoping that I would find an article about Dexter that approached it from a cinematographer perspective, and here it is. In this interview Romeo Tirone, who worked on the first three seasons, talks about different tints used to create atmosphere, and describes the look of Dexter being a “graphic-novel style with a Scorsese- Cronenberg-Kubrick influence.” He breaks down the sets and lighting, and the purpose that each element serves and what he would like the viewer coming away with. I cannot wait to rewatch the show with the cinematography distinctly in mind. It will be interesting to see how the visuals attempt to bring to life the author’s ideas. The article also has a lot of technical data which is not going to be of any use to my paper.

Moses, Lucia. “Initiative.” Adweek. June 2009. Volume 50 number 24, page 15. <        Moses, L. Initiative [Media Plan of the Year]. Adweek v. 50 no. 24 (June 15 2009) p. AM15>
This article documents the ad campaign in which Dexter is put on many different popular magazine covers. The magazines name is replaced by Dexters, but all of the patented fonts and layouts were exactly the same. What I found compelling about the article is the idea that Dexter is in yet another medium and yet subverting it in an interesting way. It is almost as though these magazine covers are creating their own narrative that is heavily incorporating mass culture. The parallels to the television show can be broken down as well. I am not sure if this is really applicable though, or whether it will merely dilute my efforts.

Nussbaum, Emily. “Men Behaving Badly.” New York. September 2009. Volume 42 issue 31, pages 80-81. < Nussbaum, E. Men Behaving Badly. New York v. 42 no. 31 (September 28 2009) p. 80-1>
This article compares Curb Your Enthusiasm, Californication, and Dexter, focusing mainly on the fact that the protagonists are concentrated examples of the anti-hero. I thought the comparison would be interesting, but ultimately the author described what happened in the different seasons and had little to say about the motivations of the characters or anything of critical value.

McCormick, Patrick. “Monster in the Mirror.” U.S. Catholic. December 2008. Volume 73 issue 12, pages 42-43. < McCormick, P. Monster in the mirror. U.S. Catholic v. 73 no. 12 (December 2008) p. 42-3>
I was pleasantly surprise by this article. I had thought that it might be a scathing review from a conservative publication, but it turned out to be a comparison of modern television to literary classics. The author links the shows My Own Worst Enemy, True Blood, and Dexter to the old horror stories Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula, and Frankenstein. The first two works are pretty obvious connections to make, but I was surprised by the many levels on which Mary Shelley’s beast can be compared to Lindsay’s Dexter Morgan. Ultimately, both are created by good men who ultimately betray them and leave them to face a world which they simply do not understand. This brings up issues of artifice and conformity in my mind, and which I will want to talk about in the paper.

Poniewozik, James. “A Unkind Cut.” Time. February 2008. Volume 171 issue 8, page 20. < Poniewozik, J. A Unkind Cut [Objection to airing of TV program Dexter by Parents Television Council]. Time v. 171 no. 8 (February 25 2008) p. 20>
I was glad to find this article about the Parent Television Council (PTC) objecting to the idea of the show Dexter rather than the merely the graphic actions depicted. Even after the most violent scenes were edited out of the show, the council still felt uneasy. “It’s the entire premise that’s the problem. You are in a disturbingly queasy way rooting for a mass murderer to kill somebody,” says their president. The article also talks about alternative ways of protecting children from such programming, such as parents doing their job rather than merely trying to restrict television programming. I thought it might be poignant to bring up the different standards the visual and print media are held to, and what limitations are put on both.

Clockers Reality

I found Spike Lee’s use of conflicting stimuli induced an interesting set of responses from me. The strange color quality of the shots mixed with the odd score, can subvert the experience as a whole and create subtext. It could be that Lee is trying to make the viewer aware of their role as spectator and yet taking their power of judgement, which is to say their habit of evaluating the quality of a show based on its similarities to their perceived notion of reality, away. This can leave a viewer unsettled, becasue being aware of one’s viewership brings more questions, like which reality is effecting or mimicing the other. In this sense, I think Lee does a good job creating a sort of hyper-reality which is true and yet false. Strange choice when adapting a work.

Term Paper: Dexter

In our constantly fluctuating society, there is a strong hunger for narrative. Culture is replenished with new commodities and things to trade, such as Youtube videos or viral memes, constantly. We never run out of new things to talk about or new little stories to tell your friends. Needless to say, that television has fed into this desire very heavily and owes its success to our love of a good tale. Also, we demand that TV be a reflection of our real world, so that it feel intellectual and contemplative rather than escapist. Through this constant struggle for realism, we are shown many respected character’s faults uncovered, or at least exposed to the viewer, and many villains exalted, or at least forgiven by the show.

To explore this phenomena, I plan to evaluate the show Dexter, focusing on episode 5 of season 2, in which Dexter connects his modus operandi to that of a comic book character. Connecting two forms of contemporary expression that desire the seen as valid by the general populace, rather than merely forms of entertainment.  Besides exploring the implication of this kind of media interaction, I also hope to discuss Dexter‘s use of satire and mystery and its connection the police procedural genre.

Corner – Perspective

The most striking, and jarring, element of The Corner, besides its graphic drug use, is its use of the first-person perspective camera. In these moments, the viewer can see how the mere presence of the camera changes every aspect of the environment which it presents to us. When the camera turns its gaze to the people on the street, it is noticed and reacted to. People become noticeably uncomfortable or may even walk away from its unforgiving stare. What makes these few scenes even stranger is that the rest of the show chooses to remain in the same omniscient position as most TV, probably so the story can progress in a normal fashion, considering the content is strange enough without having to support a first-person view as well. It would also be very difficult to build a bond with any of the characters if they had chosen the first-person style, as we see in the documentary style sections, the camera merely has a disembodied voice that asks Gary, or whomever it is grilling, a series of cutting inquires into their life. The cameraman plays the role of a curious yet naïve investigator, and oftentimes the characters will get fed up with the interviewers lack of understanding and choose to cut their losses and walk away.

Overall though, these few shots are a nice effort in trying to express to the viewer that what they see may be realistic, but the situation in which it is derived from had another character in it in real life, one which we hardly ever get to see outside of strict documentary. The camera, or interviewer which is represents, played a vital role in gathering the information that the show is using as a template for the characters, and in these first-person moments, we get see it in action.

Art? Not quite.

Anderson is very fervent in his celebration of what he considers the advent of television as an art form, but I fear that he has little idea what constitutes “art.” He often becomes too excited and makes broad statements, such as, if you “adopt an aesthetic disposition” you will be able to “celebrate the transcendence of the artwork over everyday experience and more mundane forms of popular culture” (25). It would seem that Anderson has read some Bourdieu and yet not seen very much modern art. Transcendence has not been at the heart of art for some time now.

Elevating the banal and ironic absurdity of life is today’s central exploration. So, according to art standards, television could have been a medium for decades (video art can be a good example). The place that Anderson’s art gets it’s legitimacy though, is the “social field that creates and sustains a belief in the exalted value of the artwork” (26). This is nothing more than mass culture. Rob rule would decide the fate of art. This is why art cannot sustain this kind of mentality, it renders it too meaningless. The populace is merely a collective which is constantly in flux, ebbing and flowing. That is why the mantle of art can be bequeathed  by the artist alone. Anderson declares that the we all decide things together as though it were an idyllic equal-voiced democracy, rather than the ramble of white noise that is our reality. We have apparently decided that art is not only transcendent, but also painstakingly done by one author, and commercial free. Now we just have to concentrate and believe in our collective opinion and the world will fall into line.

Ultimately, Anderson might be falling into the age-old trap of confusing “art” with “aesthetically pleasing object that serves no purpose.” Just because we have a great TV show does not mean we are dealing with art, no matter how many people say so.

Homicide Ep.11 (S2 E5)

This episode had a lot that is was trying to address, mostly about he inner workings of the department and the intense camaraderie that is created in such a death enshrouded job. Because of this familial environment, there are moments when people must look the other way, as when Lewis allows Felton to help his friend, and then there are moments where justice needs to be satisfied, as in the case off Pembleton’s shooting. This is contrasted well with the general public who arewary of the police and their fraternity, especially the low income minority areas.

The show also doesn’t like the viewer forgetting the racial tensions that are a constant undertone in the city as well as in the workplace. Pembleton did a fantastic job of illustrating this as well as making the point to Giardello that he does not want what he is asking for, which is an easy answer.

Homicide Ep. 6

The series so far has a done a commendable job not criminalizing the characters within the show who are suspected of murder. The viewer never knows who the real murderers are because when the show supplies an obvious choice, such as in episode 2 when a man is brought in for the Adena case who had escaped conviction on another child murder case, it usually pulls it away and we are left with no suspects at all. And when we are given a murderer who has acted without a shadow of a doubt, we find ourselves with a Calpurnia Church, who appears harmelss. The show even makes reference to this through Det. Bolander when he is on a date with Blythe and he confesses “everyone I see nowadays looks like a murder suspect.” And even on what was supposed to be the last episode of the season, in which they could have given their viewers some closure or at least allowed them a scapegoat, they play with this even more. Throughout the episode the viewer is thrown between the possible innocence and obvious guilt of the Arabber, and never really allowed to believe either without making assumptions or jumping to conclusions. The show even brings this to the viewer’s attention when Bayliss, after many tiring hours of interrogation and months of suspicion, reveals that even he’s “not so sure anymore” if the Arabber is truly the murderer.

Essay Proposal:

For my short essay I plan to discuss a scene from Episode 2 of Season 1, in which Detectives  Howard and Felton question a suspected murder outside of his trailer. Howard had just finished searching for the murder weapon on a hunch supplied to her through possibly supernatural means, and this scene expands on the their relationship as partners as well as touches on issues of interrogation, gender, and humor in drama.