The season finales of Dexter and Homeland were both last night, and I had somewhat different reactions to them. We've loved Dexter for years, but I tend to think that this year's story line marked the point where the show jumped the shark. Too many logical gaps, too many deus ex machinas, too much voice-over narration. It's become basically a standard one-hour TV drama, not much better than Burn Notice (also set in Miami). You know a show has lost it when you can call the ending fifteen minutes before it happened, which is what I did last night.
By contrast, Homeland is riveting, easily the best thing on TV right now, and while Claire Danes dominates the series with her portrait of Carrie Mathison, the bipolar CIA analyst, Damien Lewis as the returning Iraq war hero/Muslim convert-terrorist, is rapidly getting his game up to her level; and Mandy Patinkin as Carrie's mentor, Saul Berenson, is fantastic. Last night's hour-and-a-half finale was fantastic, with twists I didn't see coming, including a great cliff-hanger moment at the end. It'll be a long wait until next fall for Season Two.
Meanwhile, looking forward to Downton Abbey and Justified starting up in January. (Does the Regular Guy watch too much TV, or what?)
At some point I will write a post on how the long-form dramatic TV series has essentially become the novel of the 21st century. Have there been better novels over the past ten years than Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Wire, Deadwood, etc.? I haven't read them.