People who own a PS3 or are early technology adopters know all about Blu-ray, but DVD still rules the mainstream roost, so seeing TV shows on Blu-ray isn’t entirely common. Suffice it to say, the studios that are releasing TV shows in the new HD format are saving the treatment for the best of the best. This includes, Dexter, which releases this week as the first TV series to come from Paramount on Blu-ray. And what a debut Dexter: The Complete First Season is on Blu-ray.
In the series, the headlining star is a sociopath serial killer who takes out his murderous habits only on criminals — and who works in forensics for the Miami Police Department. Go figure. Rooting for a serial killer is bizarre, but it totally works in this show. And while Dexter himself walks a fine line between vigilante hero and out-of-control killer, his predicaments definitely give audiences pause to think about the moral dilemmas. After all, what’s really “right” and “just” when it comes to killing killers?
As a Blu-ray Disc release, Dexter: The Complete First Season knocks the standard DVD audio and video into the morgue. Although the show itself has broadcast TV as its source material, the 1.78:1 1080p Blu-ray transfer is absolutely pristine. Tight shots of Dexter’s face, blood hitting the sink and an orange being gutted are all vibrantly presented, and their passionate colors contrast greatly with the drab white forensics sets. In addition, outdoor and indoor scenes are generally flawless, a testament to the studio’s solid transfer, though there are a few instances in which the video quality drops to something that appears more like a 480i DVD display.
Dexter’s audio is equally impressive on the whole, with a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless track. Without the compressed broadcast audio, there’s a bit more depth and clarity to dialogue, but really, TrueHD is largely wasted on broadcast TV that focuses more on dialogue than special effects.
Inexplicably, nearly all of the bonus features are only available online via BD-Live, rather than included directly on the Blu-ray Discs. Considering the capacity of these discs, such a move is unacceptable. Leaving basically every Blu-ray owner without a BD Profile 2.0 player completely in the cold is “cold” in and of itself. Hopefully, future Paramount TV show releases will abandon this nasty little trend.
The only bonus feature actually on the disc, in fact, is the Episode Audio Commentaries. The first of two commentaries was recorded for Episode 6 and features a lively group of actors sharing their thoughts about the show’s chemistry. The more useful commentary comes from the producers, of course, who offer their thoughts on the season finale and discuss ideas about the entire season and why they chose to treat certain characters in specific ways.
Unfortunately, the remaining bonus features are available only via BD-Live and not available until the January 6 release date. So, although I can’t talk about them, I can at least tell you what they are: Witnessed in Blood: A True Murder Investigation featurette, The Academy of Blood: A Killer Course featurette, Michael C. Hall Podcast (Blu-ray exclusive), episode one of Dexter: Season Three (Blu-ray exclusive) and the first two episodes of United States of Tara (Blu-ray exclusive).
Still, if you haven’t seen Dexter before, this new Blu-ray release is a fantastic way to catch yourself up to speed and witness Paramount’s first Blu-ray release of a TV show.
Click here to buy Dexter: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray from Amazon.
- Score: 8.8