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Naming Names: Holding Accountable The People Most Responsible For The Last Season Of ‘Dexter’

By / 09.13.13

dexter-season-8-promos

It’s been a terrible, awful, no good final season of Dexter. This is not really up for debate: It has been objectively bad. In fact, even on comment threads and message boards created for fans of Dexter, the show is getting brutalized. One of my favorite things to see in those threads — especially the Dexter subreddit — is the occasional diehard Dexter fan who comes out and try to defend this season. “It’s not so bad!” they will say, and 50 other Dexter fans will absolutely cream them.

When your rabid fanbase has left your side, you know there’s a huge problem. This is way worse than the final season of Chuck, when half the people who had fought so hard to save the show were like, “Oh, that’s cool. No worries” when NBC finally cancelled the series. This season of Dexter has been a complete failure, top to bottom.

But you know what? Vince Gilligan — and the writers and actors on Breaking Bad — have been given an immense amount of credit for their amazing contributions to the final season of the series. It’s been a collaborative process, and Gilligan has taken pains to single out those responsible for it. But nobody is really calling out the individuals responsible for the final season of Dexter. Ninety-eight percent of viewers agree that it’s been a bad season, and yet, no one is wagging their fingers at specific individuals.

It’s time to assign blame. These people need to be held accountable, just as much as those on Breaking Bad should be praised. If you do good work, it should be recognized. If you do bad work, you should be called out for it. So that’s what we’re going to do below: Here are the individual most directly responsible for a bad final season of Dexter.

1. David Nevins, President of Entertainment Showtime Networks — I know that Dexter is the highest rated television series in the history of Showtime, and that inexplicably, its ratings only increased throughout its run, but David Nevins should’ve been able to look past the easy money, and look instead of the reputation of both a once-great series and the network, as a whole. Showtime is going to be linked to Dexter for years, and for years, people are going to strongly consider what the network allowed to happen to Dexter before subscribing to the channel. “Hey, honey! I hear there’s a new drama on Showtime with Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen! Should we keep our Showtime subscription?” “Why? I don’t trust Showtime, after that terrible last season of Dexter, why should I?” David Nevins should’ve canned the series at least three years ago. He and the network allowed greed to get ahead of the quality and image.

2. Scott Buck, Showrunner for Dexter — Scott Buck was a writer on Six Feet Under, having joined that series in its second season (note: He was not part of the first season, one of the greatest seasons of television ever). He took over as showrunner in season six of Dexter, the Colin Hanks year, which you may recall was the second worst season until this final season came along. Why would Showtime entrust their highest-rated, most acclaimed series to the guy who wrote Tremors 4: The Legend Begins is a complete mystery to me. He, however, is clearly bad at his job, and should’ve been fired after season six. Either he had no interest in creating good television, or he simply doesn’t recognize good television. Whatever the case, he obviously did not put in the work and effort required of a show of Dexter’s caliber.

3. Michael C. Hall — I like Michael Hall. I think he can be a terrific actor, as demonstrated by his six Emmy nominations. He didn’t write the episodes, so it’s hard to blame him completely for the lack of quality and creativity. But, if you’ve heard him in interviews, he speaks of this season of Dexter with a kind of indifference. He’s admitted himself that you can only do the same thing so many times. As an executive producer and the face of the series, Michael C. Hall had a responsibility to the viewers of Dexter to demand better written episodes, to not do the same thing again (how many serial killers can Dexter meet who is he spiritually connected to?). At some point, he should’ve said, “This is not working. Let’s scrap it and start fresh, and bring in some new writers.” He should be held accountable for his failure to do so, in addition to his lackadaisical performances this season.

4. Steve Shill — Shill is a longtime television director, and he’s directed a lot of television episodes, including several episodes of Dexter, Deadwood and The Wire. He also directed last week’s episode, Goodbye Miami, and is set to direct the series finale. He should know better. The scene with Harrison on the treadmill was terribly, terribly written, but a good director might have been able to make it a little less embarrassing than this:

harrison-fell

That is bad directing, plain and simple, and the blame falls squarely on Shill’s shoulders.

5. Jace Richdale and Scott Reynolds — These two were the writers on last week’s episode, Goodbye Miami, and this Sunday’s episode, as well as several other episodes this season. They are responsible for not only the worst episode in a season of bad episodes, but the worst episode in Dexter history. They thought it was a good idea for Hannah McKay — a fugitive whose face had been plastered all over Miami — to take Harrison to a hospital for a chin injury that required only six stitches. That’s just the most egregious problem in an episode full of problems. Scott Reynolds has been working on Dexter since 2007, and should know better. Jace Richdale has been a television writer for 20 years, mostly for (bad) comedies, like Cavemen. He shouldn’t have even had a seat at the writers’ table.

6. Jennifer Yale — Oh, you didn’t think I’d forget about you, did you Ms. Yale? Jennifer Yale’s only previous experience as a writer was as the head writer of Harper’s Globe, a web series designed to complement the quickly cancelled and very bad Harper’s Island. She has also written an episode of Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks. She is a staff writer on Dexter brought in for the final season. Her name is on every episode of Dexter this season. My guess is that she was responsible for keeping the series’ long storyline in order, and ensuring that there were no lapses in logic between episodes. Jennifer Yale did not do a very good job of that.

Here is a list of other names, who have written and/or directed episodes of Dexter this season that should be called into account. They have all played a role — big or small — in the complete annihilation of Dexter this season.

Keith Gordon (director), Manny Coto (writer), Michael C. Hall (in his capacity as a director), Lauren Gussis (writer), Ernest Dickerson (director), Tim Schlattmann (writer), Stefan Schwartz (director), Romeo Tirone (director), John Dahl (director), Alik Sakharov (director), Arika Lisanne Mittman (writer), Holly Dale (director), Wendy West (writer), Karen Campbell.


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