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True Blood Review: A Case of Anemia?

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Sex between siblings. The devouring of werewolf intestines. Super snatches, erection-like fangs and countless storylines rotating around so many times in the course of an hour that one's head spins like a Maenad.

Oh, yes, True Blood is back.

The Season 5 premiere returned us to the night of the True Blood Season 4 finale, giving us an idea of what everyone was up to just as Tara was shot and in the 24 hours following that thankful tragic event. Aside from discovering that Eric could make an incredible living as a maid, what did we learn?

That True Blood has way too many characters and spends far too long trying to service each one. Do we really need to bring Terry into the forefront? Or give Andy his own arc? There's always a lot going down in Bon Temps, but "Turn, Turn, Turn" may have upped the action-packed ante a bit too much. Let's rundown each storyline below, from most interesting to most WTH....

Pastor Steve

The Adventures of Marcellus and Ike: Taking Eric and Bill away from Sookie and teaming up these one-time rivals was easily the best decision the show could have made. Their interactions now feel fresh and funny.

Add into this partnership Eric's championship-banging "sister," the impending introduction of The Authority, the factions apparently rising up within that council and my interest is very much piqued.

The Return of Russell: Granted, this didn't actually happen. And it feels a bit random overall, as if the show simply couldn't let go of Denis O'Hare. But can you blame it? That guy rules! The storyline opens up the question of who dug Russell up and it will simply give us more Russell. That's always a good thing.

Jason and Jessica: I guess I should throw gay American vampire Steve Newlin in here, too. Did he only come back to give Jessica an excuse for coming to Jason's rescue in all her scantily-clad glory? I'm not really complaining if so (see glory, scantily-clad for the reason why). The party and the dueling near hook-ups felt like a bit of a contrived way to drag out the Jason and Jessica romance, but whatever. Jessica is downright awesome.

Hungry Like the Werewolves: Noble Sam can be a bit tiresome, but at least he's now intertwined with an angry pack. An angry pack who apparently enjoys feasting on the remains of their master. To quote Summer Roberts: Ewww.

But one of the appeals of True Blood to me is going inside these various supernatural sects. I thought it was cool that Martha said there's a ceremony for dealing with the dead. I'm now curious to find out what else goes on within a pack and I also love me some Alcide. There's potential here.

The Turning of Tara: I've got multiple reasons for not thinking much of this development:

  1. It was obvious the moment HBO announced the premiere title of "Turn, Turn, Turn."
  2. Moreover, the exact ending was obvious the moment Tara's body was placed inside the grave.
  3. The turning of a human into a vampire is done on every supernatural franchise at this point, and True Blood simply has bad timing: we've just seen this it on The Twilight Saga (ummm... or so I heard) and The Vampire Diaries.
  4. It's safe to assume Tara will now be quite angry over being forced to transition into what she hates. But Tara is always quite angry. She may be a lot more dangerous now, but I don't foresee any major character transformation going forward.

The one positive, as always? Pam, in all her Walmart sweatshirt-wearing hilarity. She's anything but f-cktarded.

Where Would Jesus Go? I don't care. Lafayette is a fun character, but the witchcraft from last season was really out there and really random. Yes, even for True Blood. There was just no real sense or direction to it.

Dirty Andy: I really don't care. Andy Bellefleur is the epitome of a perfect supporting player. He's now dating Holly? Taking a bribe from a judge? Okay. Great. Whatever. Please don't waste our time by making this a central storyline.

They Didn't Start the Fire: Sorry, Terry. I know you've been through a lot and I'm sorry for the whole PTSD thing. But I didn't wait months for this show's return so I could delve into your backstory. Even if it does involve Scott Foley, an actor pretty much everyone on the planet adores.

I think I covered them all. I obviously don't watch True Blood for any kind of realism, but all shows require a sense of flow or continuity. It was hard to feel either on this episode. It suffered from Game of Thrones-itits, jumping from one story to another and not giving viewers any specific idea of what lies ahead this season.

I'll be along for the ride, don't get me wrong. I'm not going all Lafayette here and claiming I'm done with all this "supernatural bullsh-t."

There are always enough witty True Blood quotes, sex, nudity, gore and all-around fun ridiculousness to keep me entertained. But it's hard to argue that the show is all over the place right now, isn't it?

What did you think of the season five opener? And which storyline has you most excited?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (133 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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    26 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    First, I love True Blood simply b/c it is so different from anything else on TV. Second, the Tara turn was absolutely ridiculous & seemingly served no viable purpose. Let her crawl back in the dirt and decompose like a good girl. Sookie needs some male attention badly--her character is floundering w/o it. I feel sorry for Layfette b/c he just continues to lose; he needs something good to happen for him. Insofar as Terry and his family; quite frankly, I could do without them. Let them all turn into werewolves and get lost in the woods 4/ever. Also, let's not keep Bill and Eric away for too long, they are far too good-looking to be stuck elsewhere--same goes for Sexy Sam!

    Avatar

    "True Blood has way too many characters and spends far too long trying to service each one. Do we really need to bring Terry into the forefront? Or give Andy his own arc?" - Agreed. Along with everything else said in the review.

    This opening episode had its moments especially with Tara/Sooki/Pam, Eric/Bill and I guess Jessica/Jason but the rest of the time I found myself zoning out due to boredom. Too many storylines for one too many characters I don't care about.

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    The characters on this show are funny & enjoyable but what really sucks are the insane premise and pc agenda. Its a horror show but if we are scared of the monsters we are called bigots. The stupidest scene this episode was when the college students showed how open minded they were by calling jessica cool and saying their school was pro vamp. Hey Mr Ball, vampires are not gays. Jess did not hit puberty and discover she likes to drink blood. She was killed by bill. She can never c the sun. She has killed and would kill everyone in college if she doesnt drink TB. The insane premise also takes the choice away from the audience. We have to like the vamps,or be bigots. Ball and co try to get around all this by calling it satire. Sorry the writers r not that good. Satire is subtle. TB is as subtle as an army of vamps and werewolves.

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    You can't fairly accuse True Blood of being the "last" to go the human-to-vamp route simply because it aired after the other shows, especially since this storyline was established last year. There was no way Rutina Wesley was leaving the show, and this was the only logical avenue at the conclusion of Season 4. Anyone who thought otherwise wasn't paying attention. I'll also point out that this True Blood episode most likely was filmed before the season finale of Vampire Diaries was filmed.

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    G O T has over arching themes that hang together to form one single storyline. True Blood doesn't seem to have that its been lost. Thats why GOT is better because it is telling one story from many angles. They are all forging ahead towards the iron throne and there is a number of things that will happen to get in the way of power. In Trubi its just stories all over the place and no cohesive element. So thats why I think GOT is far superior to Trubi because it is so much better written. I think they should form all storylines around Sookie. She is the focus of the show and at the moment she's neither here nor there. To do that they need to get rid of andy, arlene, terry, sam and focus on the rise of sookie as an arch nemesis to the dark archetypes vamps , weres etc. I think they should have her evolving into something even the sups community has never seen before. Make her some kind of evolving freak of sup nature and she becomes all powerful. Then watch as the old structures of power surrounding the weres and vamps etc fall apart as they place themselves politically and stealthfully to either knock her off or gain her favour. But done very quietly a little by little but as one person suggested before they have to start knocking off people who don't matter its dragging the show down. They totally stuffed up the fairies big time - they had a lot of scope to make that really good and instead it turned out to be really bad. They should have kept claudine as the amazon. The frst season was the best and then they stuffed it.

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    Well first episode wasn´t that bad. But then last seasons first episode was very promissing as well. I just hope alan ball leaves us with a bang this season and does not chicken out into some pathetic eric-bill-saving-sookie-wtf.

    I think the terry and andy storylines are actually intriguing. Much more than the jessica/jason romance. Honestly the charcter of jason has the brains of peanutbutter-jelly sandwich, it´s unbareable.

    Just love Lafayette; you go tell that bad wolf to move it, boy!!! Yeay Lafayette.

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    well true blood isn't as good it used to be it but, afterall it is true blood! A beloved summer habit....
    Loved: Pam (best lines,interesting SL being tara's maker), Eric(for everyt
    hing we saw and heard,especially Nora and the ''Fuck Sookie!'' Lol!), Bill(not pining over Sookieand next to eric he is much more likeable), Jessica (just great) Jason and New Entry :Nora!
    Hated: Alcide, Lafayette,Arlene-Terry and his buddy.
    Uninteresting: Sookie, Sheriff,Holly
    Hopeful: Tara
    Best scenes: ERIC&NORA and Jason&Jessica karaoke
    Let's see! it might get better with The Authority & Russel!

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    Sorry game of thrones was true blooded not the other way round. GOT has been suffering from too many plots and no clear direction from season 3. The only good storyline is bill & erik. (although jessica may make me watch a jason storyline.) Unfortunately tara may be back. Thought we were free of her whininess at least. TB writers should watch original Dark Shadows to see how a gothic horror tv show is really done.

    Neejan

    All these storylines may seem confusing at first, but what if the producers manage to bring them (somehow) to one point?! That would be awesome!

    Terrie

    Yes, the show would be boring it if EXACTLY went by the books, but Alan Ball has went so far from them it doesn't even matter anymore. NO, the books weren't solely about Sookie. Yes, she is the main character, but the books are not solely about her.

    Yes, Matt, Tara is non existent in the books and is barely mentioned, as she runs a boutique that Bill owns. She was mentioned more in the one where Sookie goes to find Bill when he was kidnapped.

    @HJ I do not think Russell regained enough strength to bust out of his concrete grave--He would have needed to feed in order to do that. Some of the werewolves were loyal to him so I am thinking it's a werewolf that has dug him up.




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