Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sleeper Cell

Having raced through to the finale of series one of Dexter I am yet again in need of another US series to fixate on before the others all renew in the Autumn.

Dexter just got better and better. I was reminded of Milan Kundera's remarks in The Curtain to the effect that the best kind of novelist is usually one that has suppressed his or her (though as far as Kundera is concerned definitely his) soul, for in this series we witness how the 'empty' sociopath has privileged access to a certain kind of truth, and in the case of Dexter Morgan, a heightened sense of the redemptive possibilities of love. It's a theme that crops up again, though more bleakly, in the novels of Michel Houellebecq.

And so I have started to watch Showtime's other hit series Sleeper Cell. It's just a pity that I happen to be reading Updike's excellent Terrorist at the same time, because it is serving to sharpen the stabs of intellectual pain caused by the lack of real insight in this series, though it is undoubtedly entertaining enough. In the place of such insight we have an attempt to impress viewers with simple expectations by confounding the more obvious stereotypes. Not only is it a poor guide to the make-up and motivations of would-be Islamists operating in mainland USA, if that was really how the security services intend to combat the threat, then thousands of Americans could probably kiss their asses goodbye.

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