June 5, 2012 at 9:56 am #245661
I CANNOT WAIT!June 5, 2012 at 10:57 am #245662
I can’t wait for the return of Russell Edgington (sp?)!June 6, 2012 at 11:27 am #245663
(Series (Season 5)—HBO, Sun. June 10, 9 p.m.)
by Brian Lowry
Filmed in Los Angeles and New Orleans by Your Face Goes Here Entertainment. Executive producers, Alan Ball, Gregg Fienberg; co-executive producers, Brian Buckner, Alexander Woo, Raelle Tucker, Mark Hudis, Angela Robinson; producer, Bruce Dunn; director, Daniel Minahan; writer, Buckner; based on the novels by Charlaine Harris;
Sookie Stackhouse – Anna Paquin
Bill Compton – Stephen Moyer
Eric – Alexander Skarsgard
Jason Stackhouse – Ryan Kwanten
Tara Thornton – Rutina Wesley
Sam Merlotte – Sam Trammell
Lafayette – Nelsan Ellis
Andy Bellefleur – Chris Bauer
Arlene Fowler – Carrie Preston
Terry Bellefleur – Todd Lowe
Hoyt Fortenberry – Jim Parrack
Jessica – Deborah Ann Woll
Pam – Kristin Bauer van Straten
Alcide – Joe Manganiello
Holly – Lauren Bowles
After “True Blood’s” extended dead-end detours involving faeries and witches, the HBO drama’s fifth season finds it back on the true (if not righteous, thank goodness) path, sinking its teeth deeper into arcane vampire politics while adding several strong new characters and squandering less time on subplots that make you want to zap past them. While the show has always been something of a guilty pleasure, the first four episodes suggest a welcome return to pleasure far outweighing guilt.
Without giving too much away, the crux of season five involves the interaction involving Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) with the Vampire Authority, the shadowy governing body to the bloodsuckers in author Charlaine Harris’ beastie-laden world. The Authority’s senior leadership includes Roman (Christopher Meloni, reminding us what a first-rate badass he played before his “Law & Order” stint); and Salome (Italian actress Valentina Cervi, who goes far enough beyond the customary nudity clause to merit some kind of flesh-baring bonus. She is, by the way, indeed that Salome—as in John the Baptist—and thus possesses enormous power, since the more centuries they hang around, the stronger Harris’ vampires become.)
Suffice to say the two familiar vampires must do the authority’s bidding or face the “true death,” which provides strong forward momentum to these early episodes, even as they deal with a dizzying number of loose ends from season four.
Admittedly, the past edition of “True Blood” almost veered off the rails as it layered one fantastic creature on top of another, with werewolves, shape-shifters, witches and faeries eventually adding so many horror and fantasy denizens to the tiny New Orleans town as to feel like the folklore contingent outnumbers the conventional human population.
Still, series creator Alan Ball and company have assembled a solid ensemble and instilled such a cheeky attitude the show remains great fun, and clearly benefits from being back on a better-directed course. That also includes a recurring interlude regarding the backstory for one of the supporting players, who suddenly becomes much more interesting in the process.
There’s also something refreshing about a series where a character tosses off a line about being a proud “gay vampire American” in a way clearly intended to extend a middle finger at cultural scolds, reveling in its ability to satirize homophobia through supernatural subgroups.
HBO is hoping “Blood’s” continued vigor will also help jump-start a new series, Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” which will premiere in a couple of weeks. And while at first blush the two don’t appear particularly compatible, there is a certain poetry in a series about soulless parasites following one about New Orleans vampires.
Camera, David Klein; production designer, Suzuki Ingerslev; editor, Michael Ruscio; music, Nathan Barr; casting, Junie Lowry Johnson, Libby Goldstein. RUNNING TIME: 60 MIN.
With: Scott Foley, Denis O’Hare, Michael McMillian, Janina Gavankar, Christopher Meloni, Valentina Cervi, Lucy Griffiths.June 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm #245664
USA Today’s review:
“True Blood” goes for satirical jugular
by Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
The “Games” are over—let the “True” summer fun begin.
That’s not an artistic slight on “Game of Thrones,” about as well-done a flight of royals-at-war fantasy as you’re likely to find. But it’s far too dark and portentous to be light hot-weather entertainment, and unless you’re deeply into its faux medieval dungeons-and-dragons genre, it’s not particularly inviting. “True Blood” (* * * * out of four stars, HBO, Sunday, 9 p.m.) is a genre show as well, but one with higher stakes, a more easily accessible emotional hook, and wider social-satire ambitions.
Never have the satirical underpinnings of this series built as it is on vampires coming out of the coffin-closet and demanding their civil rights—been more evident than this season, which has found a new overarching villain in vampire fundamentalists. Turns out vampires have a bible of their own, and those who interpret it literally think God created humans solely to serve as convenient blood-warmers.
That does not sit well with the head of the mainstreaming Vampire Authority, played with relish by “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”’s Christopher Meloni, a great addition to what is already one of the best, best-looking, and most frequently unclothed casts on TV.
A war is brewing, and stuck in the middle is a trio who planned to go their separate ways: Sookie (Anna Paquin), Bill (Stephen Moyer), and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard). Good thing, because as amusing as Bill and Eric can be when fighting over Sookie, they’re even more amusing when forced to work together.
As always on a show that tends to be messy in all senses of the word, plots and characters tumble into each other and sometimes threaten to push each other right off the screen. Immediately after tying up last year’s plot strings (by the end of the first hour, you’ll know the fate of Rutina Wesley’s Tara), True launches into multiple new crises, led by the horrifying and welcome return of Denis O’Hare’s Russell Edgington.
The stories are not all equal, but most more than carry their weight, and all are laced with both humor and the writer’s respect for dramatic consequences. Put them together, and you get summer TV at its witty, riveting best.
Come on in; the “Blood” is fine.June 10, 2012 at 4:05 am #245665
Episode Title: “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
Synopsis: In the season 5 premiere, Sookie and Lafayette struggle with what to do about Tara, fearing that they might lose her forever; they also must deal with cleaning up Debbie Pelt’s blood; Bill and Eric are forced to clean up messes of their own after having a meeting with the Vampire Authority; Marcus’s disappearance sends his wolf pack after Sam; Eric encounters a woman from his past; with Bill away, Jessica enjoys some newfound freedom with local college kids; Jason is visited by the recently turned Rev. Steve Newlin; Terry’s old Iraq war buddy returns to Bon Temps and triggers his PTSD again; Alcide turns up at Sookie’s place to warn her about the recently resurfaced Russell Edgington.
Guest Star: Scott Foley
Discuss.June 10, 2012 at 10:28 pm #245666
I’m surprised there haven’t been any comments yet.
“Jason Stackhouse” was trending on Twiter for awhile and I’m not surprised. Ryan Kwanten was hilarious. Kristen Bauer’s Pam was a close second for MVP.
It was good fun, with welcome bits of self-aware humor. But the same essential problem that has plagued this series for the past few seasons was evident again here: there are too many damn characters and plotlines. As much as I like Terry and Arlene and the actors who play them, they are in another show now. Same deal for Sam Merlotte and the wolves and all of that. It just distracts.June 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm #245667
I agree, but I actually thought this episode went on really fast, I found it entertaining even though I didn’t get to see Russel, and I thought the gay crush the vampire had on Jason was lame and unnecessary for the show and also that Andy stuff again will get really annoying soon, Andy works as a background character, that’s where he should stay. Curious to know what will happen to Tara, by the way, is anyone tired of episodes ending with Sookie screaming? that got old old.
Grade: BJune 11, 2012 at 12:35 am #245668
Leave it to ‘True Blood’ to give Jason Stackhouse half a second before he’s buck naked and in a gay innuendo… Hahaha. This show is still campy and soapy and way over populated as ever. I’m curious to see how this new Team Eric/Bill thing is gonna go. And yes, Sookie needs stop screaming and crying.June 11, 2012 at 7:57 am #245669
I agree with a lot of what’s been said. I thought this was a good first episode, and I’m glad they aren’t throwing some other supernatural creature at us and instead working on the vampire stuff. But yes, there are too many characters jockeying for position here. If we’re following Sookie, Eric, Bill, Tara, Lafayette, Jessica, Alcide, and Jason, to me, that’s enough, and the other characters should be in the background. I know Sam was initially an important part of the central story, but his role has kind of been replaced by Alcide.June 11, 2012 at 9:52 am #245670
Didn’t care for this episode. In fact, I was almost bored by it. I think the season will be entertaining with Russell and the Authority stepping in, though. This was very much a transitional episode.June 11, 2012 at 12:41 pm #245671
I agree with a lot of what’s been said. I thought this was a good first episode, and I’m glad they aren’t throwing some other supernatural creature at us and instead working on the vampire stuff. But yes, there are too many characters jockeying for position here. If we’re following Sookie, Eric, Bill, Tara, Lafayette, Jessica, Alcide, and Jason, to me, that’s enough, and the other characters should be in the background. I know Sam was initially an important part of the central story, but his role has kind of been replaced by Alcide.
Yeah, there are way too many characters with subplots that don’t contribute to an overall arc. It’s like Terry/Arlene, Sam, and Andy are in their own shows sometimes. Hopefully things really pick up with the Authority playing a big part and Russell Edgington returning.June 11, 2012 at 7:37 pm #245672
There was way too much going on all through this. Too many storylines either starting or wrapping up, and new characters that were thrown in the mix with little fanfare. They might need to take a page from “Game of Thrones” where they only focus on certain characters each week instead of throwing the entire kitchen sink at us. Maybe if this episode had just been scenes with Sookie/Lafayette/Pam/Tara (if you thought her character was insufferable before, just wait, turning her into the worst thing that she hates), Bill/Eric/Nora/Vampire Authority, and something with Jason and Jessica. The rest of it with Andy and Holly, Terry’s PTSD/Arlene and his Iraq guy, all of that with Sam, Alcide and the werewolves out for who killed Marcus (but Dale Dickey, bitches!), could have waited until later. The scenes with Jason and Rev. Newlin were a lot of fun though. “I’m a proud gay vampire American!” LoL. I hope they brought him back for a good reason. Maybe Anna Camp is on her way back too now that she’s off of “The Good Wife.” I doubt things will slow down any in the coming episodes, b/c that’s not how this show operates, but hopefully things will get better once Denis O’Hare and Christopher Meloni surface. O’Hare was probably the show’s best villain (and the only one that could come back obviously b/c of what happened to Maryann and Marnie in their respective seasons), and Meloni is already getting some good press for Roman (I remember reading something that said Meloni gets to flex some muscles he hasn’t used since his “Oz” days). Hoping for the best this season.
Grade for “Turn! Turn! Turn!”: B-June 11, 2012 at 8:23 pm #245673
I didn’t know Melone was gonna star on that show, that’s nice, he was great on Oz. And I also can’t wait to see O’hare, I think it’ll be stranger because he lost a lot of weight to play his character on AHS so I want to know what’s he looking like now.
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