Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Dexter" finale: Delicious. "Extras" finale: Extraordinary.

It was a big Sunday, no doubt. I spent it Christmas shopping, but only because I had long ago watched the "Dexter" Season 2 finale and the "Extra Special Series Finale" for "Extras." I'll leave this post for fans of both to mix up the serial killer seriousness with the comedic brilliance of Ricky Gervais exploring the dark side of fame. I've said a lot about both shows, but I'll leave you with a few quick thoughts and, just in case you need the reminder, some SPOILERS:

1. I was worried that "Dexter" painted itself into a corner this season but ended up loving this one more than Season 1. Having a serial killer with doubts and moral quandaries was good. I hate to see Doakes go but a good series doesn't flinch to kill off one of its own.

2. I'll put up something later in the week about expectations, since finales always - for some reason - tweak people's brains about what they want to see and how they want their characters portrayed at the end. I think the idea of the finale is way overblown in television. This is a continuing story. Why the last episode is expected to be ten times better than the penultimate episode - well, I've just never understood that. However, I can guess readily that "Dexter" fans may have something to say about this one. I loved it. I was fine with everything. But for the record, Mrs. CrankyPants thought it was too much closure, too pat to have Dexter go kill Lila abroad. She's probably right on that one. Why not let her slip back to Europe?

3. I can't say enough about the "Extras" finale. I think it hit on all cylinders. (OK, maybe the Smiths song and the drama of Maggie in the car was a little too much of a music video moment, but that's being extremely picky.) This was one of the all-time great finales to a series. Obviously Gervais had a lot to say. He constructed this series ender in a way where the laughs were plentiful, the drama and outrage were high, the painfully hilarious moments were spot-on, there was some surprising emotion. One of the best things I saw in all of 2007.

4. I'm on vacation and blogging. For me. And for you. Read into that what you will, but I feel pretty good about it.

5. There is no No. 5.

17 comments:

Almondboy said...

Hi Tim. Love Dexter but not very sure about this CBS move to run Dexter while the strike is on. Apperently they have "clean" versions since they had planned to syndicate but I have never found the made for TV versions of shows appealing. I know that SATC and Sopranos have made the jump but not all the way down to the major networks. I would rather see and hear the blue dot and beep a la Arrested Development than deal with the altered script but I know its a business and people want to get paid. What are your thoughts on the soon to be Les moonvesification of Dexter?

seamusfurr said...

I was cool with the final extermination of Lila. In fact, it would have seemed very un-Dexter like for Dexter to have let her get away, when she still obviously posed a threat to him and his loved ones.

As for Extras, wow. I thought it could have been 20 minutes shorter, but some of the scenes -- the "What do you want?" scene, the carphone warehouse scene, and of course the last 5 minutes -- were the kind of rare, special thing that keep me paying my HBO bills.

Melissa said...

I feel pretty good about it too.

Covebum said...

I loved Dexter, but questioned the tidy nature of the ending. On the second viewing it made sense. He was able to use his old code to justify finishing the job. One of my favorite scenes was when he rolled into work chipper, on top of the world and offering donuts while others mourned Doakes. It will be interesting to see where they go with this idea of a new code.

I thought Extras was great, but the whole thing felt like an 80 minute recap of Season 2. The acting was superb, of course, but it was an arc that we had seen before. Mind you, I'm very glad we were lucky enough to get more time with the characters. Maybe I need to watch it again in a different mood.

smckenna752 said...

My wife and I watched the Extras finale and I was surprised how heart-breaking it was. However, the last 5 minutes was a payoff that was almost in a class with It's A Wnderful Life....

MJ said...

Dexter seems uneasy with loose ends. They wouldn't let the bro slink around in season 1 (too uncomfty for the audience) and wouldn't let Lila do so either, this season. I'm surprised that a show like Dexter would be so itchy about loose ends. Leave 'em I say! Let them fester for 2-3 years and then come back!

nootsmaak said...

We loved the Extras finale - the depth of emotion from both Andy and Maggie was wonderful. But I think my favorite part was Karl's cameo - I almost spit out my hot cocoa.

Trixie said...

Loved the Dexter finale. Too tidy maybe, but there hasn't been a more satisfying death scene since Glenn Close (I will not be ignored, Dan) in Fatal Attraction. I did think they were going to leave her to slither around Europe so that she could reappear when we least expect it. But, you know, that's been done. I'm all for tidying up and moving on. Can't wait for Season 3.

I'm looking forward to the finale of Extras, but I'm catching up first on On Demand.

Had to watch the Survivor finale last night. I thought this was a good season with beautiful China scenery. I know Tim used to watch. It was the subject of perhaps my favorite Bastard Machine title ever, "Bruce Can't Poop."

muddler said...

Lila is no Russian in the Woods, and Dexter is no Paulie. I'm ok with wrapping up this loose end.

c_in_c said...

I loved Karl's cameo too and I think that Stephen Merchant is an unsung hero.

novelera said...

I thought the Dexter finale was great, and agree with your assessment that too much emphasis is placed on perfect final episodes. I was SO itching to see Lila get hers that I couldn't have borne her flying off to Paris scott free. Showing Dexter placing a new blood slide box in the fake airconditioning unit was a nice touch. I also loved the smiling Dexter bearing doughnuts. I sure hope Michael C. Hall wins SOMETHING this year. I feel that somehow the subject matter may weigh against his winning, but that would be a shame.

Anonymous said...

The Clive Owen scene on extras brought tears to my eyes, fabulous. A bit long, ended well. Anything Ricky Gervais does is worth a view

Susaleenah said...

Thought there would be more comments on the Extras finale. I love Ricky Gervais even more. His comments on fame and the pursuit of are so spot on. The whole celebrity thing just amazes me.
I wonder if US viewers got some of the Brit references. I loved when
Stephen Merchant was back at Carphones Warehouse with Barry off the EastEnders and the other employee was Dean Gaffney, formerly Robbie off the EastEnders (who has appeared in the tabloids for his sexual exploits and his time on the reality show "I'm a Celebrity..Get Me Out of Here" in the jungle).
Celebrity Big Brother is huge in the UK.
And my heartbroke for Maggie. Clive Owen (be still my heart) was such a swine. She held her head high even though she was cleaning out toilets. I loved the scene where she goes from the kitchen of the Ivy to join Andy for lunch and he is totally consumed by his own life.
Can't wait for more Ricky~

Sheri said...

We loved the Dexter finale here in The Vale. Loved it! The series stuck pretty close to the book for the first season, which really pleased me. Except where Doakes was concerned. I kind of saw it coming, but maybe that's because I expected Doakes to exit the picture at some point.

zoz45 said...

Loved both, but especially Extras for following Maggie to a close as well. As for Lila on Dexter, I'm sure the actress will wind up on Boston Legal soon {any other Boston Legal fans out there?). Nice circle back tu the openig credits when he felt free.utaaj

suzyq2 said...

I loved the Dexter Season finale. Lots of great moments. And I thought it quite right to tidy up the Lila loose end. What's the first rule? Don't get caught. With Lila out there, there's too much of a possibility of that rule getting broken. I'm sorry to see Doakes go too, he was a great character but there will be others, no doubt. (How great is it that The Wire starts on Jan 6!!).

Also loved the Extras finale. I've watched it twice and am in awe of what it said and how it was said. Went much deeper than the series, which I enjoyed tremendously. Bravo! Maggie was wonderful. And Clive Owen was hilarious, but what about George Michael!

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