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Blu-ray Review: True Blood The Complete Fifth Season

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by Chelsea Doyle, Editor

It’s been a long winter, and as soon as it starts getting warm, I think of the summer. And with summer comes True Blood. On June 16th the show will be back for its sixth season, but they didn’t want to make their fans wait too long. We got the DVD and Blu-ray releases of True Blood The Complete Fifth Season out, so it’s time to close out the sun, lock ourselves in an underground facility with a pack of half-mad vampires, and hope Sam Merlotte isn’t looking to kill any of us. Because damn does he know how to make something hurt. Let me get my sweet tea and sway to the sound of “Bad Things” by Jace Everett.

I’ve read all of the Sookie Stackhouse books, except for the most recent one, and I was a fervid viewer of seasons one through three. I’ll admit four was not that interesting to me. It was my least favorite book. The books and the show don’t have a huge amount in common, sometimes big plots will be covered in a general way, and the characters have familiar arcs, but Alan Ball really has put his own spin on the story. For those of you just tuning in, True Blood is about Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), just your average young woman living in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and ha ha just kidding she’s a fairy. Which means she’s a telepath and can occasionally shoot blinding light out of her hands that can slow even a very old vampire. A lot of the show revolves around the increasingly disturbing and violent supernatural world at large since vampires are now public. The plots are strange, intense, and often hilarious, and the cast is varied. If it sounds interesting, go try out the first season, but I’m slipping into spoiler mode now and jumping into Season Five.

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Previously in Season Four, Sookie voluntarily went to fairy land, only to realize it was a dark place itself and she escaped thanks to her grandfather. She came back to find it was a whole year since she went missing, and people thought she was dead. Her friends and family moved on, so she had to start over. Eric angered a group of witches and they wiped his memory. Sookie spent the season watching over the amnesiac Eric, and eventually they became lovers. The witches were the major villain arc of the season, including one witch in particular Marnie who forced Lafayette to kill his boyfriend Jesus. Alcide asked Sookie to try and have a normal life with him, but she said no, and that didn’t matter much because his girlfriend Debbie blamed her for their break up. At the end of the season, Debbie attacked Sookie in her home, shooting Tara in the head, and Sookie murdered Debbie. That’s how the season ended.

True Blood The Complete Fifth Season picks up seconds later as Sookie tries desperately to figure out what to do with her dead best friend. Lafayette comes over and together they choose to turn Tara into a vampire. They ask Pam to help turn her in exchange for Sookie speaking up for Pam to Eric. It doesn’t matter much what Sookie would say, because Eric and Bill are being taken in to the Vampire Authority. They murdered Nan Flanagan and had to pay for it. Meanwhile the police are looking for Debbie, and her family too, and Sookie has to answer to Alcide. The season revolves around Tara’s transition to being a vampire, Sookie learning more about being a fairy and getting herself almost killed at least twice an episode, Eric and Bill getting sucked into the Authority, Sam hunting down shifter-haters after they shoot him and his girlfriend, and Jason coping with sleeping with Jessica and their feelings toward each other and Hoyt. If you want more detail than that, you’d best go buy the show yourself.

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I liked this season. It had plenty of twists and turns. It moved all the characters forward and wrapped up the leftover plots from last season. I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of this strange vampire religion and what it ended up doing to the vampires in the show.  I feel like Jason’s character might be regressing rather than progressing, and that feels unfortunate to me because he’s done so well becoming a better person. It ended on a note that made me go ‘what does that even mean?’ and also ‘wait what happens next!’ That’s always a good sign. It took the books a long time to get into the fairy aspects of Sookie’s background, but this show went head first into it instead, and I prefer it that way.  There are a few storylines that clog up the constant movement of the plot, such as Hoyt and Andy and the Bon Temps parts. It’s nice to have something other than crazy supernatural shenanigans all the time, but not if it feels like an overall detriment to the show. Still, I appreciated the season even more on a second run through.

True Blood is perfect for Blu-ray, most HBO shows are. It’s beautiful and they take full advantage of some of the best cameramen and video editors in the business. It looks fresh and crisp and sharp. It has perfect sound and visual quality. My favorite part of the True Blood special features are the audio commentaries. There are five in this one, and I find them fascinating to listen to. Alan Ball in particular is excellent while he explains his thought process. There are “Inside the Episodes” with backstories and interviews, a detailed special on The Authority and how it works, a behind the scenes about episode six, and enhanced viewing options for all the episodes. If you choose those ones, there are hints and ‘remember this’ explanations on the screen as the scenes play out. It’s definitely worth a buy for fans, both casual and obsessed.

Rating: ★★★★☆
ComicsOnline gives True Blood The Complete Fifth Season 4 out of 5 naked bloody Biliths.

 

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True Blood: Season 5 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)

Director: Michael Lehmann, Scott Winant, Daniel Minahan, Michael Ruscio
Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Chris Bauer
Rating: Unrated

Returning for its fifth season, True Blood is HBO’s sexy, scary, wildly entertaining drama series from Oscar®- and Emmy®-winner Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) and based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. In addition to returning cast favorites – human/faerie waitress Sookie Stackhouse, her vampire suitors Bill Compton and Eric Northman, soul-searching pal Tara, shape-shifting boss Sam, rakish brother Jason, clairvoyant Lafayette and teen-vamp Jessica – Season 5 introduces a whole new wave of otherworldly characters. There’s Vampire Guardian Roman, president of the Vampire Authority, who wants co-existence between humans and vampires; vampire zealot Salome (yes, the Salome), intent on recreating the world in God’s vampyric image; Authority Chancellor Nora, who shares the same maker as Eric; werewolves J.D. and Martha, who want a reluctant Alcide to take his rightful place as packmaster; and many more. Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, True Blood Season 5 goes deep into the battle between the Vampire Authority and “vampire fundamentalists” – a political power play whose outcome could decide not only the fate of Sookie and her Bon Temps friends, but of all human existence.

NOTE:Region code for Blu-ray - Region A and DVD - Region 1
List Price: $79.98 USD
New From: $28.00 USD In Stock
Used from: $19.99 USD In Stock

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About Chelsea Dee

"Earth-1 Chelsea" lives in Maine where she teaches her father how to play golf and avoid deer ticks. She is too good a writer to play in our sandbox much anymore. *tear*