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January 07 2008

CBS to air edited episodes of Dexter. The network has come up with a creative way to get around no new scripts by pilfering from its sister network, Showtime. The episodes start airing February 17, in time for sweeps.

CBS will air the episodes at the later 10pm [Eastern] slot on this and subsequent Sundays through the 12-episode first season.

On one hand, it sucks that they've figured a way to stall negotiating with the writers, but on the other, it's a great move for the wonderful show, which will now air to over 15 million potential new viewers.

I'm just wondering how much they can edit the episodes to broadcast standards and still have a show that matches the intensity of the original versions shown on Showtime.

The episodes air 1 hour long with no commercials so I'm pretty sure they'll be able to pull it off. Niiice.

They asked if people who didn't watch the show on Showtime are going to watch it on CBS. Why would only the people who have already seen it watch it? I don't even think I will... I mean why would I want to watch it edited if I've seen it?
I'm really afraid to see how they're going to attempt to edit the show and still retain the show's essence. Hell, to be honest, even the simple addition of commercials is going to fuck it up because an episode of Dexter is designed to move move move for fifty minutes, leaving you breathless and wanting more by the end. Breaking the tension up with ads is just wrong.

And what the hell are they going to replace Doakes's and Deb's dialogue with? And how much will they let Masuka get away with?

Not to mention that there's a very important scene with a naked woman wrapped in plastic, along with a naked dead woman in the next episode. Plus...the sex and violence. And none of it's gratuitous; it's part of the story. It's all a part of the Dexter package.
The whole idea of "editing for broadcast standards" is hilarious. This is a show that makes you sympathize with a serial killer. The idea that cutting out the naughty words and a bit of gore will somehow make it more's just bonkers. (Don't get me wrong--I love the show--I just think editing it is beyond pointless.)
Wow--Polter-Cow, reading your concerns makes me want to run out and get the unrated DVD's. Sounds like a fun show.
alexreager, check out my pimping post! You should definitely go out and watch the first season on DVD. It's an amazing show and an amazing season of television. There isn't a wasted scene in any episode.

I really wonder what they'll do with Doakes, whose every other word is "motherfucker." And Deb is characterized very specifically in the pilot as having a dirty mouth, and it's important to her character that she talks like that. And most of Masuka's dialogue consists of raunchy sexual innuendos.

And part of Dexter's character arc is his attempting to become comfortable with being sexual, and it's hard to do that when you can't see how incredibly awkward it makes him. Michael C. Hall's facial expressions are priceless.

Also, Dexter KILLS PEOPLE. And there's a lot of blood, although the violence is far less graphic in general than you might expect.

Finally, jcs is right on the money about the very idea of the show being not really suitable for network television. Profit wasn't successful ten years ago on FOX; I don't know how Dexter will do on frickin' CBS, which is not really known for being that edgy. I'm not sure the CBS audience wants a sociopath for a main character.

[ edited by Polter-Cow on 2008-01-07 21:34 ]

[ edited by Polter-Cow on 2008-01-07 21:35 ]
I think that this is an exciting choice, way better than trying to bring back 'Big Brother'. I'll definitely check it out, but if I like it then I'll have to get the DVDs!
I highly suspect the editing of this show will be hilarious, and lead to much wank. Plus the PTC group will be up in arms with complaints to the FCC.
Dexter? Dexter? Seriously?

I may watch it when it airs, but strictly out of morbid curiosity. Not for the show itself, but for the fact that they're putting Dexter on network TV.

I have to start working on a censorship drinking game right now
rianeiru: even more hilariously, they've talked about putting Weeds on CBS too. Which is even more ridiculous, given all the sexual antics on that show. Plus, the weed.
This show isn't going to work the same way it does when it's uncensored. Plus, how are they going to show that awesome beginning to "Seeing Red?"
"Weeds" airing on CBS primetime???? Are they high?

But seriously, they're going to have a lot of issues with that show too. Aside from the sympathetic view of marijuana smoking and dealing, profanity, sex and violence, the latter half of the most recent season took big potshots at evangelical Christians, which is becoming a big no-no in the U.S.
I knew they were positioning "Dexter" for airing elsewhere when they cut the episodes down to 47 minutes in season 2. they also cleaned it up a bit so there would be less editing.

I hate to see what's left of season 1 after they butcher it and dump all the pieces in the harbor.
rianeiru, I love your idea of a censorship drinking game! I am among those that will watch just to see how they edit it. Then I will promptly turn it off the moment that editing pisses me off. I suspect I'll last about 3 minutes.
I think the violence will be pretty easy to edit around for the most part, there's probably less actual gore in 'Dexter' than there is in e.g. 'Bones'.

The swearing and general adult content though ? Just don't see how they'll do it. Maybe Doakes could be a mute or something ? Or they could go the (unintentionally) hilarious 'Top Gun' route and substitute "Don't fool me" for "Bullshit". "Motherfucker" could be harder. "Motherfornicator" ?

It'll castrate the show though, lose a lot of the natural flow of the dialogue and probably a fair bit of the wry humour (a couple of times Dexter has made me laugh out loud with a well timed, deadpan "Shit" or "Asshole" in voiceover). If they take the worst of his acts out it'll also lose the element of doubt introduced when, every now and then, you're forcibly reminded that this guy you laugh with, root for, maybe even admire is, at the end of the day, a stone cold serial killer.

To anyone interested in 'Dexter' I strongly recommend that you check out the DVDs or find some other way of watching it in all its unadulterated glory. It's an amazing show that treads the finest of lines and asks the biggest of questions (like Is morality absolute ? Is it inherent in us or do we merely follow some "code" we're taught, and if so, what difference does that make ? How many pieces can you take out of a human being and still have a human being afterwards ? among others) and it does it all with wit and a rare deftness.
Then I will promptly turn it off the moment that editing pisses me off. I suspect I'll last about 3 minutes.

Same here. Also, I strongly suspect that if I go through with my drinking game plan, this will be the only thing saving me from acute alcohol poisoning.
they also cleaned it up a bit so there would be less editing.
Cleaned up? What about Little Miss "Pardon My Tits"?

(like Is morality absolute ? Is it inherent in us or do we merely follow some "code" we're taught, and if so, what difference does that make ? How many pieces can you take out of a human being and still have a human being afterwards ? among others)
Exactly, Saje!!
To bring this thread to something more directly Whedonesque, we might recall that the BBC felt they had to edit BtVS heavily in order to air it at 6:45 p.m., as Viv Burr discusses in Buffy vs. the BBC
I'm hoping this will merely be promotional for the DVD box sets - because of all the shows to be edited for prime time network airing, Dexter will be eviscerated.
I could never watch the edited version of OMWF. So this? No way.
Can I be the one who asks the obvious question of "Why are there, so-called 'broadcasting standards' on network TV in the States?"

If it's aired after 9pm when most kids are in bed, why on earth does it matter if there's swearing, sex and violence in it? Surely any adult who is offended by such things can just change the channel?

In the U.K they generally air whatever the heck they want post-watershed, and it hasn't resulted in anarchy here.

[ edited by onthemightofprinces on 2008-01-08 03:03 ]
You must remember who lives in the real nanny-state. And it isn't those in the U.K.
I'm a huge Dexter fan who doesn't have Showtime. It's a dilemna of the highest order.

Much as I love the word pilfer, I cannot watch edited episodes of Dexter anymore. The first two seasons Showtime has offered the first episode for viewing on its site. Guess how generous Showtime is? The free episodes are edited. So I say Bugger CBS and Showtime's freebies (It was the same thing with The Tudors ... Double Feh!).
I'll check out the first episode just to see how much they edit it, but it sure won't be the same show at all.
It's interesting news, no doubt, but as Maeve averted to above, it's actually not a Whedonesque-enough post - yes, Dexter does feature Julie Benz, but this story makes no mention of her, and "strike-related" is not quite there either. Since there's a viable thread going, I'm tempted to let it lie (admins may feel different), but I'd have strangled it at birth - to keep up the serial killer metaphor - if I'd seen it before now. Just sayin'.
Drew Z. Greenberg was also a producer and a writer (of two of the best S1 episodes, imho - Truth be Told and Let's Give the Boy a Hand) for S1 of Dexter. Does that add to its Whedoneque-ness?
What on earth will they do with Deb's dialogue? Every other word is fuck. It's part of her character and she's a huge part of the show. It'll be like watching the network-edited version of Pulp Fiction (which I did see once, and it was hilarious).
Deb and Doakes will basically spend most of the show walking around with their mouths open and no sound coming out - they'll be like Bowdlerised goldfish (Masuka will probably have to be cut completely, when he's not swearing he's making entirely inappropriate sexual comments). Tempted to check it out just for curiosity's sake.

... we might recall that the BBC felt they had to edit BtVS heavily in order to air it at 6:45 p.m., as Viv Burr discusses in Buffy vs. the BBC

Yeah, they're a lot more sensitive to programmes showing before the 9 pm watershed - afterwards though you can have much more swearing and adult content than US networks seem to allow (just NOT the dreaded head-butts, heaven forbid ;) - though 'Dexter' might be more suited to e.g. Channel 4 anyway (which showed stuff like 'The Sopranos' and 'Six Feet Under' and has a mandate to be edgier and offer "alternative" content).

Skimmed that Slayage article Maeve and it's interesting but I must confess it feels a bit like a storm in a teacup to me. I watched the 6:45 pm showings of Buffy and was never in any doubt that Willow and Tara's relationship was a sexual one or of the exact nature of Buffy and Spike's sexual encounters (though we did lose out on seeing just how low Buffy had sunk as with the tearful "public" sex in 'Dead Things').
Happy that Dexter will be more easily seen by more people for just the cost of a basic cable subscription...but this show in edited form will lose a lot of its impact. I hate censorship. If the networks would just give it up already, post-9pm, anything goes. But the "special interest" groups and the lame parents who won't control what their little ones are watching would never allow it.

Folks would do better to cancel their regular cable and apply that monthly bill money to renting quality TV-on-DVD. Like Dexter in unedited form (unless you're a serious news and sports junkie or you have to see 24 and The Office as they air--and I love both those shows, but I'm going back to DVD for 24 whenever Season 7 starts up and The Office would be tough to give up and go back to DVD for, but I'd do it if I had to).

I know I've advocated cancellation of regular cable before in favor of either premium-only or, better yet, TV-on-DVD renting and buying...I'd do it in my own home if I was the only one living TV, commercials, it's all pretty lame. The good shows that network TV does put out would be better-seen without ads and pop-ups obscuring the subtitles anyway (I have huge issues with pop-up ads when Global airs Heroes up here. I've missed so much Hiro & Ando dialogue).
I probably won't watch just cuz I'm so spoiled by the Showtime version, but I'm sure the actors did a second take using a not-swear-word. I agree on wondering what they are going to do w/Deb, though.

They are also thinking of broadcasting Deadwood, so this reminds me of Al or Trixie. How can they possibly convey the character without a single "cocksucker"?
I'm pretty sure I'm the only person in the continental U.S. without cable. I've heard a lot about Dexter, but never had the opportunity to see it before. I'll tune in-if even vaguely intriguing I'll check out the DVDs.
sorry for the double post!

[ edited by Betsy on 2008-01-08 18:02 ]
Love this show! I have to say that Dexter is one of my favorite shows. The last few episodes of season 2 had me literally on the edge of my seat. Edited Dexter? Waste of time. Rent the first season if you haven't seen it. Wonderfully gruesome, addicting show with great actors. Michael C. Hall deserves an Emmy, IMO.

[ edited by luvspike on 2008-01-08 19:50 ]
Nope, Betsy, I don't have cable either. In fact, I'm going to one-up you: I don't have terrestrial TV either. And yet somehow I survive. ;-)
I have basic cable (satellite) .... without which I'd have no TV reception at all, living at the foot of two 13,000 ft plus volcanoes .... plus HBO and Cinemax "premium" packages, but can't afford to add Showtime or more premiums.
But I wont be watching Dexter censored, I'll take the advice of friends and rent it instead. Been meaning to do that anyhow but a little issue called being broke, keeps me to my priorities.

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