Deceptive Daddy DEXTER: Season 4 Begins Tonight (Spoiler Alert)

I have seen the first four episodes of Dexter, and will caution you that there are spoilers contained in the preview below

There is not a father on television more flawed than Dexter Morgan. The fourth season of Showtime’s hit series Dexter kicks off tonight, and there are a few rather large surprises in store for more than just our favorite serial killer.

Dexter (Michael C. Hall) and Rita (Julie Benz) are now a party of five; married and living in a new house with their baby Harrison and her children Astor and Cody.  It is safe to say that Dexter has been taken out of his comfort zone, which used to be a dark apartment for one, housing beloved blood samples from his many vigilante kills. Balancing family, work, the dark passenger (his inner voice) and his domineering ghost father Harry (James Remar) proves to be more than Dexter can handle, and the exhaustion that ensues certainly takes its toll.

John Lithgow joins the cast of Dexter this season as the Trinity Killer, Arthur Mitchell. His character makes the Ice Truck Killer (S1) seem benign in comparison. Lithgow is simply brilliant, mesmerizing and creepy as Mitchell, who kills his victims in threes. Although he is primarily known as an Academy Award nominated (The World According to Garp and Terms of Endearment) and Emmy winning (3rd Rock from the Sun) actor, Lithgow is no stranger to the villain role. Richochet or Cliffhanger, anyone? Of course there are some who consider his turn as the reverend in Footloose to be villainous, given his ban on dancing and fun in Kevin Bacon’s small town. 

Detective Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) faces more turmoil in her personal life, as FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) returns just as she has settled into a normal relationship with Anton (David Ramsey). Her fellow detective, Joey Quinn (Desmond Harrington), continues down a slippery slope by making questionable choices both on and off the job. And expect an interesting power struggle this season between Lieutenant Laguerta (Lauren Velez) and detective Angel Batista (David Zayas). 

There are two very significant surprises within the first four episodes of Dexter; one is more of an eyebrow-raiser, the other a jaw-dropper. The addition of suburban bliss to Dexter’s already complicated life results in a very compelling and entertaining beginning to the fourth season of this stellar series. 

Dexter returns tonight on Showtime at 9pm ET/PT; here is a sneak peek of Episode 401, “Living the Dream.” If you’re not already caught up, visit the Episode Guide for recaps from all previous seasons. You can also follow Dexter on Twitter and become a fan of the series on Facebook

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TV & Film Recommendations for This Week (9/21/09)

I am going to try to provide a weekly list of links to shows, films and general pop culture that I think you would enjoy. Let me know if this is something that you’d be interested in!

Television: Series Recommendations & Reminders

In addition to the following, I will also be checking out the series premieres of Cougar Town (ABC, 9/24) and The Good Wife (CBS, 9/22).

SHO, returns Sunday (9/27)

I will reviewing the first four episodes this week – stay tuned for an extensive (spoiler-free) Season 4 preview right here, on or before Sunday!

FOX, returns Friday (9/25)

One of the most unique new shows of 2008  returns for a sophomore season, following a mind-blowing DVD & iTunes only episode (“Epitaph One”) that did not air with the first season. 

ABC, premieres Thursday (9/24/09)

This is, without question, the best pilot I have seen in five years. Stunning cinematography, fantastic script and cast, immediately intriguing. I have already started a website for the new series, and will be giving away copies of Robert J. Sawyer’s book FlashForward there later this week.

At Comic-Con earlier this summer, I recorded a personal FlashForward video, and had the opportunity to interview the cast after the panel.

I highly recommend that you visit and bookmark the official FlashForward websites, JoinTheMosaic and TruthHack (which are confirmed to be canon), as well as the official message board with both cast and creative team participation and interaction.

Grey’s Anatomy
ABC, returns Thursday (9/24)

Here is my spoiler-free preview/review of the two-hour season premiere. 

FOX, returns tonight (9/21/09)

TiVO/DVR alert: the season premiere runs 2 hours and 1 minute long.

I am giving away House S5 on DVD; if you haven’t entered already, click here for a chance to win! The contest has been extended through tomorrow.

CBS, returns Friday (9/25/09)

New network and night alert: Fridays on CBS.

Modern Family
ABC, premieres Wednesday (9/23/09)

My favorite new comedy series of 2009 (aside from Glee, which is more of a variety comedy show). Original premise, very likable cast and more than a few laugh-out-loud moments in the pilot alone.

Fall Film Recommendations, Part 1

Bright Star
Written & directed by Jane Campion. Starring Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw.
In wide release: 9/25/09

A beautiful film about the secret affair between poet John Keats and his outspoken neighbor Fanny Brawne, in early 1800′s London.

The Informant
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, written by Scott Z. Burns
Starring Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale and Melanie Lynskey
In wide release: now

You can’t go wrong with Soderbergh and Damon, and it’s nice to see McHale both on the new NBC series Community and on the big screen. And of course Lynskey, whom I have enjoyed since her film debut with Kate Winslet in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures (1994).

The Invention of Lying
Written & directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson
Starring Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, Fionnula Flanagan, Rob Lowe and Tina Fey
In wide release: 10/2/09

Great cast and very funny trailer; I may be attending a screening next week and will then post a review.

Precious (Based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire)
Directed by Lee Daniels, screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
Starring Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz and Gabourey Sidibe
In wide release: 11/13/09

There is early Oscar buzz about a potential Best Actress nomination for Mo’Nique in this film, which is Executive Produced by the powerhouse combination of Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.

DVD Release of the Week

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Download

Some people love Jennifer Aniston; to each their own. I simply prefer another Jennifer (Garner), given the choice, when buying or renting romantic/relationship films. 

Have a great week!

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I’ve Got a HOUSE I’d Like to Give You…

In honor of the new season of HOUSE, which kicks off with a 2-hour season premiere on Monday, I have one House Season 5 DVD to give away!

If you’d like to enter to win, leave a comment here or on my Facebook wall with your name and email address, stating WHY you’d like to win the DVD. The only rules are that you must live in the U.S. and can only enter one time. 

This contest is open until Monday, September 21 at 8pm PST. I will then put all of your names into a hat and randomly select one winner, which I will announce either later that evening or the following day. 

Simple enough? Bring it on. Win a House of your very own.

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Fringe Season 1 DVD & Blu-Ray Preview

Whether you watched the first season of Fringe or are interested in exploring the series for the first time, I recommend that you pick up a copy of the Season 1 DVD or Blu-Ray when it becomes available tomorrow! Because I had the opportunity to review this 7-disc set before it was released, I experienced Fringe all over again during the last few weeks, and found it to be extremely entertaining and compelling to watch from start to finish (and without the distraction of commercials). 

There are over six hours of Special Features, and they are fantastic. From Behind The Real Science of Fringe to Roberto Orci’s comprehensive Production Diary, to unaired scenes, a gag reel and even a Gene the Cow montage, I have a brand new appreciation for the creative and production teams who bring Fringe to life week after week. To be able listen in as series co-creators J.J. Abrams, Orci and Alex Kurtzman discuss the genesis of Fringe during the pilot episode commentary is worth the price of admission alone. There are two additional full-length commentaries accompanying episodes on the DVD and Blu-Ray. 

The exclusive, additional extras on the Fringe S1 Blu-Ray include BD-Live enabled features and Fringe Pattern Analysis, with experts who dissect various scenes from the first season.

For more details, visit the official Fringe DVD site.

Last week, the cast and crew of Fringe celebrated the launch of the Season 1 DVD and Blu-Ray in Vancouver, where filming is currently underway for Season 2. From left to right, Roberto Orci, Blair Brown (Nina Sharp), Lance Reddick (Agent Broyles), Jasika Nicole (Astrid Farnsworth), John Noble (Dr. Walter Bishop), Josh Jackson (Peter Bishop), J.J. Abrams and Anna Torv (Agent Dunham). 

Among my favorite features on this S1 DVD – discovering who originally auditioned for different roles, how they integrate scientific fact with crazy theories, and what inspired the creation of this series (hint: rent Altered States and start adding David Cronenberg films to your queue)!  

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