Clyde Phillips, the current showrunner on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, ran Dexter for its first four season, or what we like to call the good seasons. He’s the guy who pitched the Trinity Killer season, and hired John Lithgow. He left after the fourth season, however, and the show has never been the same. Phillips has been on Reddit answering questions about Nurse Jackie and Dexter for days. Literally. In fact, if you go over there now, it may not be too late to ask another question.
Lots of folks, obviously, want to know his opinion on the final season, and Phillips has not been shy about answering. He hasn’t exactly trashed the final season, but he’s certainly not a fan, and he thinks the show has been declined since season five. He did, however, suggest that tonight’s series finale is a strong one, although as he reiterates, it’s not the ending he would’ve chosen (he promises on Monday to reveal the ending he’d have gone with).
I read through the Reddit AMA, and pulled some quotes from Phillips that give us an idea of what he thinks of this season.
Reddit: Do you feel like the Hannah storyline this season just erases all the events of last season? The fact that she tried to kill Deb, that Dexter could never trust her…and now suddenly she is a trustworthy, innocent saint living with Deb and he’s leaving with her and his son! It makes no sense to me and at the same time I feel it cheapens Dexter and Deb’s relationship that he would accept her back so easily after she tried to kill deb.
Phillips: i agree. it just doesn’t make sense to me.
So my only question is, do you think there is some good in this final season that people are missing because it’s not turning out the way they expected?
Phillips: i think the good will come in the final episode. there was a lot of water treading for most of the year. the story didn’t move forward, the characters didn’t grow. but the last episode is a killer.
Reddit: Do you think Hannah should have returned as a villain or at least as a villain/love interest instead of purely a love interest? I feel like they really went out of their way to make that whole thing boring/implausible.
Phillips: honestly, i’m a bit confused by the hannah thing.
Reddit: One thing I really can’t understand about this season is why Hannah hasn’t yet cut and dyed her hair. As a fugitive it would make her life way easier, at least in situations like going to hospital with Harrison. How can a thing like this happen, how come none of the people working on the show have noticed this?
Phillips: i can’t answer for the people working on the show. but i agree with you.
Reddit: Not sure if you’re still answering these but here it goes: if you had stayed the show runner after season 4, would you have ended the series with season 5? I know MCH said he thought the show should have only been 5 seasons long, just wondering if you think it would have gone that way? Thanks!
Phillips: really hard to say. it’s a big financial decision for everyone involved as well and that has to be honored. i would have chosen to end the show when the storytelling well ran dry.
Reddit: As for my question, do you have any bitterness towards the powers that be that changed Dexter from a roller coaster ride of a character study to the jumbled mess of depth-less characters and useless side-plots that it is today?
Phillips: bitterness is not the word. again, it’s really difficult to do a show week after week, year after year. a lot of factors go into each decision. then those decisions add up and you have the final product. i’d have done it differently, but i’m not there.
Reddit: Honestly Clyde, I’m so angry about how my favorite show turned into my least favorite show that I’m going to sell my DVD’s, cancel showtime, and boycott everything Scott Buck does for the rest of his life. What do you think of that?
Phillips: yeah, right, like i’m going to comment on that. i share your frustration. tv shows are unbelievably hard to maintain. even in the first year. all of your points in your first paragraph are valid. don’t be angry. it’s a tv show. there are many more important things in life!
Reddit: Was curious as to what you think the worst decision made in the recent seasons (5-8) is? And what do you think the more recent seasons have done right? Do you have a least favourite episode? If so, why do you dislike it?
Phillips: thank you for the compliment. i’m not here to slam the last four seasons, but to restate, i think the show lost the confidence of the viewers by breaking the code it had so carefully set up with the audience. also, i think dexter, the character, got a bit sloppy and suddenly we didn’t recognize him anymore
Reddit: Why is season 8 of dexter crap?
Phillips: couple of reasons. they broke the code with the audience. it’s so important to keep the rules in place when doing a show like that. also… i’m not there anymore!
Given how honest he’s been about the rest of the season, maybe there is some hope that tonight’s final will, as Phillips’ suggest, be “killer.” If it’s anything like what’s leaked online, however, I have strong reservations.
We’ll have the recap up tomorrow.