Friday, May 09, 2008

Now that both Dexter and Underbelly are finished we are on a tv diet of sorts. Of course I have my new season of Big Brother to keep me drooling (like a recently recovered lobotomy patient) in front of teev but I'm talking about quality television. Television written by people who have IQ points in the three digits.

Dexter and Underbelly have held us transfixed and their absence leaves a large hole in our weekly schedule. It is so rare to have two great programs to enjoy at the same time.

The thing with these two programs is their moral ambiguity and how they position us as the viewer. By the end of Season Two I loved Dexter Morgan like he was my own brother. Despite him being a serial killer the idea that he would confess and be incarcirated was too horrendous to contemplate. The beauty of the writing and the characterisation is that the audience so steadily positions itself on his side, we forgive all. Even at the very end, when we know he must kill an innocent police officer in order to carry on, we can forgive him, even encourage him. It is with beautiful slight of hand that the writers get him off the hook at the very last moment. We want him to live happily ever after (and return to us in Season Three) despite his minor character flaws (after all he only kills bad people).

It is a similar scenario with Underbelly. While there is no doubt these are very bad people the writing and the presentation attempts to show them as flawed humans rather than pure monsters. We see them with their wives and children, having bbqs and going to their son's football matches. My hat goes off to everyone involved with this fantastic series - putting this convoluted true story into a very watchable, very engrossing television show is good television production at its best.

2 comments:

Kath Lockett said...

A friend has just given a copy of Dexter the first season. LC and I can't wait to watch it!

Julia said...

*sigh* Dexter. It really is exquisite writing. And acting. Luckily a season 3 is definitely in the works.