With all the hate that's been thrown at "Dexter" since the show's controversial finale, it's hard to remember that "Dexter" was once a critically acclaimed, cutting-edge TV series. "Dexter" broke a lot of new ground in its time and irrevocably changed the TV landscape. Here are some of the most important contributions that "Dexter" made to the medium of television.
The rise of the anti-hero
When "Dexter" premiered back in 2006, there weren't very many TV dramas that centered on anti-heroes. The very idea of a show about a sympathetic serial killer was shocking to many TV fans. Since "Dexter" premiered, many other TV shows that focus on dark, unconventional protagonists have premiered. Without "Dexter," shows like "Bates Motel," "Revenge," and "Boardwalk Empire" might have never made it out of development. The success of "Dexter" proved that audiences love a good anti-hero.
The increased importance of music
One of the reasons that "Dexter" resonated with TV fans was because of the show's tense, minimalist score. Composer Daniel Licht was mostly responsible for setting the haunting, unnerving tone of the show, and his excellent compositions really set the bar for TV show background music. The next time you're watching old episodes of "Game of Thrones," "Sherlock," or "Breaking Bad," thank "Dexter" for setting the trend of exceptional soundtrack music.
The reinvention of John Lithgow
Over the course of "Dexter," many guest stars were able to indulge in some dark roles. But perhaps no guest villain received as much acclaim and adoration as John Lithgow, who played the Trinity Killer in Season 4. Often cited as the show's best villain, Lithgow stunned fans with his creepy portrayal of Trinity. For an actor who is arguably best known for his comedic roles, this guest role was a great chance for Lithgow to reinvent himself.
The importance of a great finale
The "Dexter" finale may have disappointed many long-time fans of the show, but that doesn't make the finale itself any less important. The lackluster finale was still an important contribution to the TV landscape, as it reinforced the lesson that the "Lost" finale taught TV execs many years ago. The way a show ends is just as important as how it begins. The negative fan response to the "Dexter" finale will serve as a cautionary tale for future showrunners and help to ensure that future TV shows take the time to craft a finale that will satisfy fans. By satisfying fans with a great finale, the show retains its cachet, and the TV franchise itself remains prestigious and lucrative.