Identifying with Dexter

Open access

Abstract

Many contemporary high quality TV series tend to enable identification with protagonists who engage in morally dubious or outright abject acts. This essay takes Showtime’s series Dexter as a pre-eminent and extreme example of this tendency, and explores how the viewer’s identification with the serial-killing protagonist of the show is constructed and altered throughout several seasons of the series. In order to analyze the specific relation between Dexter and its audience, this essay first examines the more general possibility television series to produce firm identification of viewers with protagonists by comparing the format of the television series to two media that can be understood as its predecessors: literature and film.

Amper, Susan. “Dexter’s Dark World: The Serial Killer as Superhero.” In Serial Killers and Philosophy. Ed. Sara Waller. Malden:Blackwell, 2010. 103-114.

Bruijn, Peter de. “Beter dan Film.” NRC Handelsblad 5 November 2010.

Canby, Vincent. “From the Humble Mini-Series Comes the Magnificent Megamovie.” New York Times 31 October 1999.

Brophy, Matthew. “Sympathy for the Devil: Can a Serial Killer Ever Be Good?” Serial Killers and Philosophy. Ed. by Sara Waller. Malden: Blackwell, 2010. 78-89.

Freud, Sigmund. Beyond the Pleasure Principle. First published in German in 1920. Trans. John Reddick. London: Penguin Books Ltd, 2003.

McGrath, Charles. “The Triumph of the Prime-Time Novel.” Television: The Critical View. Ed. by Horace Newcomb. New York: Oxford U.P., 2000. 242-252.

Mittell, Jason. “Narrative Complexity in Contemporary American Television.” The Velvet Light Trap 58 (2006): 29-40.

Modleski, Tania. “The Search for Tomorrow in Today’s Soap Operas: Notes on a Feminine Narrative Form.” Film Quarterly 33.1 (1979): 12-21.

Porter, Michael J., D.L. Larson, A. Harthcock, and K.B. Nellis. “Re(de)fining Narrative Events: Examining Television Narrative Structure.” Journal of Popular Film and Television 30 (2002): 23-30.

Silverman, Kaja. The Threshold of the Visible World. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Thompson, Kristin. Storytelling in Film and Television. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U.P., 2003.

American, British and Canadian Studies

The Journal of Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu

Journal Information

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 107 107 39
PDF Downloads 25 25 10