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Tuesday, July 22, 2014



Featured TV on DVD Review: True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season

True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

For the past couple of seasons of True Blood, there have been troubling signs. The show was clearly off its peak in terms of quality and this was adversely affecting its ratings as well. It was still a good show, but no longer a great show. Season Six saw the show earn its weakest ratings since season one, which was before it was discovered by most people. Is this also a sign that these troubling signs finally broke and True Blood is now just a shadow of what it once was?

The Show

In a word, yes.

First a brief recap. True Blood takes place in a world with vampires. And werewolves. And fairies. And shifters. And probably time traveling cyborgs at this point. I've lost count. Last season, the Vampire Authority decided to go to war with the human and all hell broke loose. In the climatic battle, a bunch of main characters break in and try to rescue a bunch of other main characters from the Authority, some of which make it, some of which don't. The biggest don't is Bill, who drinks the blood of Lilith and becomes an uber-vampire. This, naturally, freaks out the rest of the main characters who realize what's going on at the beginning of season six.

What also happens at the beginning of season six is Governor Truman Burrell declares war on vampires and he's been using science to come up with weapons against them. This includes silver bullets that emit UV light, contact lenses that protect from glamouring. He's been able to do this, with the help of Sarah Newlin, by capturing and experimenting on vampires in secret camp. Eric decides to lead a group of vampires, including his sister, Nora, against the Governor. While Bill and Jessica try and figure out what happened to Bill.

The other main plot threat involves Warlow, the first vampire created by Lillith. He has returned and is after Sookie, because of course he is. She does have a new ally, Niall Brigant, her grandfather and king of the Fey. She and Jason learn a bit more about their parents, what they did and, more importantly, who killed them.

There's also a ton of other storylines involving a battle between the Shreveport Pack of werewolves and Sam, a shifter, over who will take care of Emma (Chloe Noelle), who might be a shifter or might be a werewolf. There is also a battle among the members of the Shreveport Pack, who think Alcide isn't a strong enough leader. Andy Bellefleur had sex with a fairy and now has four fairy girls, who grow up really, really fast. Terry Bellefleur can't get over the guilt of killing his friend. There's the Vampire Unity Society, who want peace between humans and supernatural beings and are led by Nicole Wright. There are also probably a few others that I can't remember at the moment.

This is problem number one. There are only ten episodes per season, but there are so many characters that it is nearly impossible to deal with all of them in any real regard. However, the show still has to deal with these characters, but do so poorly due to lack of time. This means a large chunk of each episode deals with plot threads that are uninteresting. Unfortunately, much of the main two plot threads are also uninteresting. I really, truly don't care about Sookie's love life. Not at all. She used to be the most interesting character in the show, but those days are over. She also seems to have less agency than she used to have, while I was particularly annoyed that the climax to her storyline was her being tied up and rescued. That's a lame cliché to be using and it was one twirled mustache away from being self-parody. I did like some of the political elements and the humans using science to battle vampires, but those were the only elements of this season that I really liked. Some of the new characters were good, including Niall Brigant and Nicole Wright. But overall I'm giving up. If I get a chance to review season seven, I will, just to complete the show's run, but unless it really rebounds in terms of quality, it will be a sad end to a once great show.

The Extras

All ten episodes have Inside the Episodes, three or four-minute long looks at each episode. There are also audio commentary tracks on five of the ten episodes (4, 6, 7, 9, and 10). On disc four, there are two additional extras starting with an interactive View Camp Files hosted by Sarah Newlin. Finally, there's Blood Lines, which is an extra that helps you keep track of all of the characters and their relationships with each other. It is also a testament to how bloated the show has become. Both of these two features are exclusive to Blu-ray.

Like all HBO shows, the technical presentation is amazing. HBO arguably puts out the best Blu-ray TV on DVD releases and this season is no different. The level of detail is right up there with blockbuster Hollywood movies. The colors are lifelike and the shadows are inky deep without damaging the details. The ten episodes are spread over four discs, so it goes without saying that there are no compression issues. The audio is always crystal clear and the 5.1 surround sound track is immersive.

Given the technical presentation and the exclusive extras, you would expect the Blu-ray to cost a lot more than the DVD. However, on Amazon.com, the Blu-ray only costs $5 or 15% more than the DVD. That's an excellent price.

The Verdict

Season six of True Blood is a huge step down from the previous seasons of the show. So much so, that I'm wouldn't blame longtime fans if they gave up on the show. However, I wouldn't blame the fans for wanting to pick up the show regardless, just to continue the journey. The DVD and Blu-ray are loaded with extras and the latter is especially worth the price.


- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-07-11