This Episode of the Week feature is going to have quite a Showtime flavor to it, and for good reason: There was not much in the way of heavy scripted competition on the air. Both Wednesday and Thursday were almost entirely repeats thanks to the 4th of July holiday, and we just waved farewell to both “Mad Men” and “Veep,” two shows that had good and fantastic seasons, respectively.
So while we took some time trying to figure out who we were going to give the honor to leading up to another weekend of shows, at the end of the day, we opted to select a program that really had to work hard at preserving its quality, and handling criticism that the show had lost its way and would never end in the way in which fans wanted it to.
Episode of the Week – “Dexter” season 8, episode 1, “A Beautiful Day” (Showtime)
Oftentimes, “Dexter” premieres are not particularly good in that they have to waste a good thirty minutes on exposition, and really only start to get into what matters towards the end. However, that did not entirely happen here. The majority of the hour was spent actually pushing the story forward, and showing us that there was something significantly different in the life of Dexter Morgan than when we last saw him: Deb was gone. While she still had a physical presence on the show, she was emotionally vacant from his life, and has no interest in going back. This changes the game dramatically for the series, since he has always relied upon her more than the other way around.
Also, the show did a stellar job of introducing one of their big guest stars of the season in Dr. Evelyn Vogel, played effortlessly by Charlotte Rampling. She is the sort of person that Dexter has to be genuinely afraid of, but not because of her physical strength. It is instead because she does not qualify under Harry’s Code, but still knows enough about who he is to ruin his life forever. A great start to what will hopefully be a great final season.
Runner-up – “Ray Donovan” pilot (Showtime)
Sure, it is a bit too much like the love child of “Scandal” and “Entourage” right now, but the Leiv Schreiber show has some promise to deliver an interesting, different sort of series that actually seems perfect for the summer months. It is still early to really judge the show as a whole, but not bad for just starting up.
Want to see some of what is coming up on “Dexter” moving forward? Then check out some sneak peeks and other goodies from Sunday night’s new episode at the link here.