After rewatching all my favorite series I needed something new (for me, anyway), so I asked around a bit and a few friends of mine recommended Dexter. Although I knew what it was about - it's kind of hard to forget a plot consisting of a serial killer killing serial killers -, I have never seen any episode before so I thought I'd give it a try.
I knew it was impossible to live up to the level of Mad Men and The Sopranos, but I was pleasantly surprised. The protagonist is extremely well-written, one of the best characters on TV I think, and this not so tiny detail makes me watch all the episodes one after another. Dexter has a lot of flaws (the other characters are often quite flat and many of the dialogues and scenes are boring, sometimes even annoying), but the leading man's internal monologues, his philosophy, sarcasm and indifference save the show, big time.
As you might know, the show (and especially the first season) was based on a novel called Darkly Dreaming Dexter and it's pure genius. It is sad though that it took the creators another two years to come up with a comparably interesting storyline, but it was worth it - the fourth season is just as good as the first one. Currently I am watching the 5th and have yet to decide whether I like it or not... But for someone who's interested in writing (books, articles and screenplays as well), this series is a great lesson; on the one hand, you can learn how to write a character so that it's perfect, and on the other hand, you can wonder how you could improve those people and scenes that aren't so brilliant.
There is only one thing I cannot understand: how is it possible that one component of a series is one of the best things we've ever seen on TV, while the rest is only a so-so...? How can screenwriters be so right when describing a character, writing scenes and sentences for him and be dead wrong when doing the same for other characters of the same fictional world? Maybe it doesn't matter... Maybe we should just appreciate Dexter for what it is - Dexter himself.
I've been rewatching a few of my favorite series this past month and that meant I did not really watch any (new) movies - I just get so attached to the story and the characters that I don't feel ready to bond with any other fictional people. However, tonight I felt the need for something else, for a different world with different problems, so I gave a chance to the Duplass brothers' Jeff, Who Lives at Home. I've had this film for a few months now and I forgot what it was about and who the actors were so it was a pleasant surprise to see Jason Segel's in it, because I liked a lot of his other movies and he really seems like a nice guy.
The plot is about a man who believes that we must listen to (and follow) the signs life (or God, maybe) sends us in order to meet our destiny. Now that's a thought I think many of us has had throughout our lives. Just think about it: you get a wrong number, someone's looking for Kevin, and then a few hours later you see a boy with a sweater and the name Kevin on it. Most of us would stop at thinking it's a coincidence, maybe a sign, who knows, it's interesting, but not interesting enough to distract us from our everyday duties. Needless to say, Jeff, our leading man, is not one of us. He is convinced that this is only the first of signs he must follow to find an answer to his question: who am I, why am I here, what is the meaning and point of it all. So he decides everything else can wait, today he will listen to the signs. This is how he runs into his brother and his wife who may or may not be having an affair, and the rest is a nice independent movie that makes you think, laugh and have a great time.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home has a deeper meaning, an entire philosophy that is omnipresent but never too much, never too forced. Of course we really can't just stop wherever we are and follow something we believe is a sign to maybe get somewhere that is supposed to be our fate but it sure is interesting to contemplate what would happen if we did - and any movie that can help us doing so is worth watching.