Thoughts I wish I had expressed:
It didn’t last. Dexter would never again rise to that level [second season] of quality, and the one time it commanded as much critical and audience buzz as it did in its first two years came almost entirely because of guest performer John Lithgow, who was killed off in the finale of the same season he joined the show. After that fourth season, the show staggered on for another four years of increasing irrelevance, and it will wrap its run on Sunday at the end of a season that has been almost completely free of drama or conflict… Dexter did most of this to itself. Its fifth, sixth, and eighth seasons are frequently and stunningly incompetent, and its seventh season wastes a promising beginning in favor of the same old, same old.
Indeed. Season four is the only exception to the long-term decline of the series, and in retrospect that looks like a stroke of luck, combining a fantastic Lithgow with writers who somehow managed not to fuck it up. The later seasons each held a bit of promise, but in trying to recapture the feel of season four the show managed to utterly waste the talents of Ray Stevenson(!), Edward James Olmos(!!), and Charlotte Rampling (!!!). I may, or may not, manage to struggle through the three episodes I haven’t seen.