Channel hop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 June, 2010, 12:00am

The football World Cup generally means a month of sleep deprivation. New fatherhood means a lot more. When, however, the caregiver in question does triple duty as a police blood-splatter specialist by day and a vigilante serial killer by night, fatigue-related mistakes reach the ridiculous.

Take Dexter (Fox Crime; Mondays to Fridays at 10pm), for example. Between snuffing out a violent daddy-killer and rushing home to his sick child, Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall; Six Feet Under) misplaces a body - out of keeping with his usually meticulous methodology for murder. To complicate matters, a freak accident mangles his memory.

As we watch Morgan race to find his victim's remains before his pals at the Miami Police Homicide Department do, the brilliance of the series pulses through our veins like the Red Bull energy drink he downs to stay awake. When else can we root for a psychopathic killer who tells his newborn that 'daddy kills people' during a 3am bottle-feed? Let's hope the child doesn't have a pre-verbal didactic memory.

The fourth season pits the vigilante against a formidable nemesis when a vintage crime is discovered beneath a fresh one. Without doubt, the most graphic kill in the season premiere belongs to the newcomer known as the Trinity killer and it brings psychopath hunter Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) back to town - to Morgan's and his sister Deb's discomfort. Meanwhile, the foul-mouthed Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) is busy with a new romance and her own investigation into their father's past - the findings from which are likely to haunt Morgan.

The confidence with which the series navigates morality has grown with its popularity. Easing our consciences somewhat, in the Dexter universe, Morgan is clearly a lesser evil than his murderous peers. As with most sticky subjects, the best coating is humour. More than ever, fans of the show will find themselves laughing, albeit darkly.

Speaking of fathers, Mumbai actor and cricket-team owner Shah Rukh Khan (Om Shanti Om) tries to show he is a family man first and Bollywood megastar second in reality series Living With a Superstar: Shah Rukh Khan (above right; Discovery Travel & Living, Thursdays at 9pm). Finally, a celebrity worth stalking. Raj K. Gopalakrishnan and his crew at Blue Mango followed King Khan around for a year to produce 10 episodes documenting the personal life of one of India's most revered entertainers. Khan also indulges us in Q&A form.

The first episode sees the Khans on holiday in London, one of the star's favourite cities. We see him buying coffee, riding a pedicab, having lunch with friends, playing football in the park with his son and daughter, and generally demonstrating what a 'normal' guy he is. No easy task when you have a wax replica close by, in Madame Tussauds.

Peppered with surprisingly candid bites ('As wrong and politically incorrect as this may sound, I understand the way Michael Jackson loves children; I have for a long time'), Living with a Superstar is mostly pleasant and, occasionally, remarkable.