True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray Review
As a big fan of HBO’s ‘True Blood’, it pains me to say that the series jumped the shark in season four. I refused to accept that last season because I was waiting to see where they’d go with season five, but after finishing up the last episode, I feel comfortable calling the time of death. The moment the show died was when Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) and Sookie (Anna Paquin) became a romantic item last season. The show hasn’t been the same since and the fifth season kept going down the wrong path that season four started.
Season five is about new characters and a new direction for the show. Although it’s still set in Bon Temps, Louisiana, the scope has drastically expanded. After Eric and Bill kill Nan Flannigan (which happened in the fourth season finale), the Authority capture them. But when they get there, they quickly realize that things are not as expected at the Authority and so Bill and Eric reveal that Russell Edgington is still alive and has since escaped. When they offer their services to track him down and kill him properly this time, the Authority agrees. But the politics within the Authority take up a lot of season five as the mainstreaming movement clashes with the Lilith believers (the belief that humans are food). Back in Bon Temps, Tara is turned into a vampire and a group of rednecks are running around killing all of the supernatural creatures they can find.
I don’t know how closely the show follows the novels from Charlaine Harris, but my understanding is that each season at least loosely follows a particular novel. Supposedly, season five borrows heavily from future novels and so that might explain some of the problems with the story. The fifth season feels like a hodgepodge of storylines and never flows smoothly. As Bill and Eric are caught up in the politics of the vampire world, things start to happen around the world that impacts the vampire-human relationships. But the show addresses these happenings by showing little news clips on the TV and never fully explores the entire impact of the Authority’s change in leadership. Is there a war? How is the American government reacting? If vampire-on-human crime is rising so fast, how is the rest of the world handling it? In other words, it felt cheap of the show to present such grand issues and not deal with them properly.
Alcide is criminally underused until the final episode, Bill is virtually unrecognizable for most of the season and although Eric is back to his normal self, his character had a tight leash on for most of the season. Sam, Jason, Tara and Lafayette continue their supporting roles, but it was hard to get involved in any of their storylines. The fifth season moved along at such a quick, sporadic pace that almost all of the characters felt like supporting players that never got developed. Sadly, aside from Alcide, I can’t point to any other character that I would have liked to see more from. I realized that I had just lost interest in their situations.
If you watched the first four seasons of ‘True Blood’, then there’s no reason to avoid the fifth season. Maybe I’ve been too hard on it, but it’s only because of how great the first three seasons were. I’m curious to see where things go from here, now that series creator Alan Ball has left and the sixth season is going to be trimmed down. I fear the end is nigh for ‘True Blood’ and I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.
TRUE BLOOD: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: ‘True Blood’ still looks amazing on Blu-ray, making it one of the best looking shows on HBO, which is saying quite a bit.
Audio: The audio is equally impressive.
Commentaries on five episodes: Stars Stephen Moyer, Anna Paquin and others show up and talk about individual episodes, as do various crew members. Moyer also directed an episode, so I found his commentary on “Somebody That I Used To Know” to be the most informative. The other commentaries get into superficial territory, with the possible exception of “Save Yourself” with Alan Ball.
Enhanced Viewing Mode: Each episode has the option of watching it in “enhanced” mode, where featurettes and tidbits pop up about the episode. This is okay, but not as extensive as you might be expecting, especially when compared to other HBO shows.
Inside the Episodes: You can also watch a brief recap of every episode. Obviously, don’t watch these first as they’re very spoiler-heavy.
Autopsy: True Blood Episode Six (1:04:02): This is the kind of feature a lot of people would like to see on every episode. This is an extensive, Picture In Picture feature that gives you an exhaustive look at the making of this one episode.
Authority Confessionals (30:58): The members of the Authority discuss their characters in a very awkward, strange feature. I was hoping this would be more insight into the history of the characters, but it was more fluff than I was betting on.
True Blood Lines interactive map.