Friday, November 03, 2006

Dexter and Characters who break all the rules …. And why I love Daniel Craig

Molly got me started on my new love, Dexter. Great recommendation, Molly. I love, love this show, and especially him.
Well, he is the show really. That they had the balls to create a show around a serial killer, without any real emotions, or much a conscience is amazing. They’ve pulled it off, and I’ve been thinking about how, lately.

First off, they gave him moral guidelines. They’re not his, but his father’s but the character, in a way, that is really true to character, has made them his own. So he’s a serial killer who doesn’t really kill good people, but he really enjoys killing bad people.

Secondly, they’ve surrounded him with vulnerable supporting characters, who are great foils to his character. The sister especially. He loves her as much as he’s capable (which isn’t a lot) but he gives her leads on cases because he has no ego unrelated to killing, and therefore no need for glory in his job. These are small touches, but go a long way towards humanizing his character.

They’ve made him really good at his job, which is, not surprisingly, blood related.

They even gave him a girlfriend and a nice way with her children, which we know is an act, but still manages to make him more sympathetic.

Then there’s the subplot with the serial killer. Spoiler Alert: His admiration for the other serial killer, their little game, and his absolute lack of empathy for the victims of the other serial killer, nicely shown in a scene with his sister, who has nothing but empathy for the victims. It’s brilliant. I love this subplot.

So the writers and actor, took what should be a standard villain, and made him fascinating, and funny and completely watchable.

This is a perfect instance where the rules would say this character would be the nemesis of the hero. Screw the rules.

It’s also why I’ve loved great TV shows more than the movies I’ve seen this year. I find the writing sharper and the characters better defined and more interesting. Shows like Firefly, Buffy, Dexter, 24, have all gripped me more than all the movies I’ve seen on the big screen this year. (There are a few others that should be on the list, but we’re still playing catch up. Right now, I have DVD seasons of Battlestar Galactica, Six Feet Under and Band of Brothers still to watch)

Why I love Daniel Craig. Well, I’ve seen him in a few movies, but a movie called Layercake, (Molly has already blogged on this) will explain why he’s going to be a great Bond. He has this undercurrent of dark, something in his screen presence says he’s capable of being bad if required, and I believe the character of Bond desperately needs it. Or else we’re back to the Roger Moore days… shudder.

Plus, like some other actors, Clive Owen jumps to mind, Edward Norton has the same thing, minus the British accent, they come across like men, not boys playing at being men. No offense to Jude Law, or Tom Cruise.


Molly O'Keefe said...

Nice post Sinead -- how to create symapthetic serial killers - 101. I think the big point is the vulnerable characters surrounding him that he protects and cares for (not as in feeling but as in gets Pizza and helps them slove murder cases). That helps his character get away with a lot in terms of how far the viewing audience will sympathize with him.

Romance is seeing some of this character rule breaking but we need more - we'd lose some readers but I think we'd really gain more.

Maybe it's just because we have babies that fall asleep at 6:30 - but I'm with you. TV is amazing these days. Even the bad stuff. (Friday Night Lights -- masterful! I can't believe I'm saying it - but yes! There are things to be learned from that show!)

How do you think Dexter is doing in the states? What a show. What.A. Show.

Sinead M said...

Like all my favourite shows. Firefly, Arrested Development, I'm sure it's doing poorly. But I hope not, because I end each episode with a grin on my face and an astounded, 'what amazing writing'.

It's his interractions with his girlfriend, and sister. How he watched the guy take the girlfriend's car and ultimately did nothing, except get her a new car. So true to character. He never acts out of emotion, but out of the code given to him by his father.
Great stuff.

I agree, romance needs a ton more rule breaking. I think that's going to pull in the younger readers. And get me reading again.

Darker, more dangerous characters, both hero's and heroines. More room for them to be unlikeable initially, just as long as they are interesting.

I hear the hero from Anne Stuart's latest, is different.

Maureen McGowan said...

Can't bring myself to watch Friday Night Lights yet, Molly... though your recommendation goes a long way toward convincing me...

I've only seen the first episode of Dexter. Must get caught up this weekend. Gotta love TMN on demand.

Has anyone but me watched Six Degrees? Now that's the kind of TV I love and we don't see enough of and will probably be cancelled because there's not enough action for most people...

Amazing actors, great stories, lots of quiet tension. I heart Campbell Scott who just seems to get more attractive with age. Perhaps I'll save an ode to him to another post.

Sara Hantz said...

And have you seen Daniel without his shirt on.... I just saw the trailer for the new Bond movie.... all I can say!!!

Maureen McGowan said...

Yes, Sara. Very yummy. I first saw Daniel Craig in Enduring Love at the film festival a couple of years ago and fell immediately in love. He may not have a classically pretty face, but he sure is sexy. And he can do dark. Can't wait for the new Bond film.

Christine said...

I love Clive Owen! He was very dark and yummy in Sin City. And even the little internet movies he did for BMW a few years back were cool.

I'm looking forward to seeing Daniel Craig as the new Bond. From the ads alone, I think he's pulled it off and is going to save the franchise. *fingers crossed*

Martini anyone?

Sinead M said...

Martini - definitely.

Am so looking forward to new
Bond movie, I have to admit I have a secret weakness for them, even the bad ones.

But Daniel Craig. Yum, and Clive Owen, two not classically handsome men, but really sexy.

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