— Dexter (@SHO_Dexter) November 26, 2015
In the pantheon of “Best TV Shows of All Time,” there’s certainly a case to be made for Dexter to be among the upper echelon. The final seasons notwithstanding, there’s no denying the influence its had on the antihero genre since it went off the air, featuring some of the greatest plot twists and characters we’ve ever seen. It made it that much more disappointing when Dexter stayed on the air well past its expiration date, wrapping up with one of the least satisfying endings this side of The Sopranos.
This last Thanksgiving, interest was piqued once again, following a cryptic Tweet from Showtime that many interpreted as a tease for a full-on Dexter revival. Reports have varied since, but the general consensus seems to be that no new seasons are in the works. Even so, The Hollywood Reporter does reference an interview with Showtime head David Nevins from 2014 that left the door open should the stars align. Even an astrological miracle couldn’t justify a return though, and here’s why.
1. Dexter has already delivered its masterpiece season
The greatest achievement the serial killer-centric series has to its name is its fourth season. Many critics have called it one of the greatest seasons of television ever made, and for all intents and purposes, it was the magnum opus of Dexter‘s showrunners. The season starred John Lithgow as the chilling Trinity Killer, acting as a sort of id to Dexter Morgan’s serial killer lifestyle, and wrapped up with a stunning twist that changed the landscape of the series for the remainder of its run.
The big problem with hitting your peak as a series though is that the only direction to go from there is down. Subsequent seasons dove off a cliff in terms of quality. The byproduct of Season 4 was an impossibly high bar that the show never managed to reach again, and any new seasons that may occur in the future will be measured by the same standard.
2. There’s nowhere for the Dexter story to go from here
Any revival for Dexter would have a steep hill to climb in figuring out a new direction for our titular antihero. The final season was just that: Final. (Spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t seen it) Dexter faked his own death, grew a beard, and moved to Canada to be a lumberjack. His sister Deb died, his children are being taken care of by someone else, and there’s quite literally no story left to tell here. A rebooted series would have to feature a whole new cast of characters, essentially acting as a different series altogether. Which brings us to our next point…
3. A new season would make a bad ending even worse
There are no ifs ands or buts about it: The final episode of Dexter was bad. It was really, truly, profoundly bad. It had no business running for eight whole seasons, and the lackluster finale the showrunners drew up demonstrated that the people behind Dexter were just as tired of the show as we were. A new season of the show could be one of two things: A redemptive return to form, or an even deeper grave for a long-dead show. Given the high bar of Season 4 and the finality of Season 8, the latter of those options seems to be the most likely.
Thankfully, there are no imminent plans to bring Dexter back from the graveyard of dead shows. Perhaps someday down the road the discussion will begin in earnest, and not following a misinterpreted holiday Tweet. When it does, it’ll be important to remember that this is a show best left alone, and remembered both for its disappointing end, and its masterful early run.
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