True Blood returns for a sixth season of twisted sex, bloody gore and political shenanigans. So how will this show go on without the calming <snicker> hand of creator Alan Ball (who stepped down to focus on his new series, Banshee)?
Judging from the first episode, it’s business as usual.
Let’s bitch it out…
Game Of Thrones is sooooo last week. The antics of the seven kingdoms of Westeros is already in the rearview as HBO brings back its second most successful series (after The Sopranos) for another summer of over-the-top spectacle. As far as madness goes this season premiere is a bit underwhelming. Last year at this time we were dealing with Sookie’s (Anna Paquin) and co. attempts to resurrect Tara (Rutina Wesley). Now we’re hanging out at the beach?
Like Game Of Thrones, True Blood has a large cast and spends a significant of time jumping between characters in order to give them lip-service each episode. It is significantly more problematic here because at any given time, approximately half of True Blood‘s storylines are terrible. The first twenty or so minutes of ‘Who Are You, Really?’ work best because we’re focused on our main characters escaping from the shell of the vampire Authority, and more specifically, Billith (Stephen Moyer, showing a bit too much ass). As soon as they make their escape and separate into their respective stories, the show settles back into its dysfunctional narrative structure and things grind to a halt. Suddenly we’re forced to sit through Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) yammering on unknowingly to Warlow (Rutger Hauer), Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) discovering his brood grows rather quickly or a Bleu Nuit-worthy menage-a-wolves that feels worthy of Netflix’s abysmal Hemlock Grove.
The problem is that not all of these stories are created equal. Many viewers have bemoaned the expansion of the cast (more or less from S2 on) and how it has needlessly dragged down the momentum of the story and reduced the screentime for the main characters. We may love these supporting characters, but do we need to see them battling smoke monsters? Short answer: no. Long answer: we don’t have a choice.
Alan Ball’s legacy lives on, much like the eternal characters who comprise the show’s cast. So welcome back True Blood! Looks like some things don’t change.
- Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) remains as hilarious as ever, especially in her reactions to Nora (Lucy Griffiths). Bauer van Straten is always good for a laugh, but she can deliver the pathos nearly as well. I don’t think the show has done a great job selling why Eric’s (Alexander Skarsgard) dismissal hurts her so much (simply reinforcing the 100 years feel too expository) or why Tara is doubling down on their relationship. It’s just too much, too soon – as Pam rightly suggests
- I’ll be interested to see what fans make of Sookie’s decision to rescind Eric’s invitation. After signing back her deed (Side Note: the blood signature is silly), Sookie decides she wants to go it alone and since she’s already staked Billith, she’s secured herself some solo time
- Speaking of Billith, although I’m still not sold on his transformation (nor do I care about his possession by the spirit of naked bush lady), but I do like the impact on Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll). I’ve long considered Ann Woll True Blood‘s secret weapon because she can play every scene. Her uneasy relationship with Billith gives her a good start to the season. Any guesses on how long he wants her to remain honest, especially now that he’s no longer himself?
- Ummm…hello? Where’s Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis)? You don’t sideline Lafayette to a single scene playing off Sam (Sam Trammell)! Why the hell does Andy get his own faerie baby storyline and Lafayette gets little more than a cameo?
- I totally teared up when Luna (Janina Gavankar) died…Nah, just kidding. I totally cheered because I hated that b*tch
- Oh Joe Mangianello. I’m glad that you’re still getting work, but I literally do not care about any of this boring wolf stuff. Plus: the show has never been more gratuitous than that stupid sex scene. I feel sorry for Rikki (Kelly Overton) and newbie Danielle (Jamie Gray Hyder), who is apparently also rocking the lady bush
- I’m already bored/annoyed/done with Jason’s “down with vampires” attitude. We’ve gone round this bend before and it wasn’t that interesting before. Also, the Warlow reveal is too obvious. Rutger Hauer = villain (especially when he looks like he’s just stepped off the set of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer the movie)
- Finally, the title (and final song) is courtesy of Mikky Ekko, who everyone should become more familiar with
- Pam (to Eric, about Nora): “Who the fuck is Mary Poppins and why the hell can’t I kill her?”
- Andy (when told he needs to own up to his responsibilities): “Well hog-tits, Arlene!”
- Rikki (to Alcide): “I’m your number one bitch, don’t you forget it.” This line almost saves this scene. Almost
And with that, True Blood is back! Did you miss the show and its madcap craziness? Are you excited to see where this Billith storyline is headed? How long can Sookie possibly stay single? Who’s trapped in the worst storyline so far? And do you watch for the gratuitous nudity/sex scenes? Sound off below
True Blood airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO