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True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season (2013)

HBO Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/3/2014

All Ratings out of

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1/2
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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/26/2014

The saying "Familiarity breeds contempt" refers to the idea that the more we get to know someone or something, the less we will like it. Hollywood believes in the exact opposite, as it wants to feed us products which are often quite similar in the hopes that we will check out something which resembles something which we liked before. But, this can backfire as well when things get too homogenous. When we can't tell two things apart, or we're asking something like "Is that the one with the...?", this doesn't bode well for the piece of entertainment at hand. True Blood may have been a ground-breaking show at one time, but when it makes the mistake of creating two back-to-back seasons which don't show much growth, one may not lament the fact that the show will soon be ending.

(SPOILER ALERT: In order to discuss the events of Season Six of True Blood, I must divulge plot points from Season Five, so please read with caution if you are not caught up.) The Sixth Season of True Blood picks up right where Season Five ended. Having ingested the blood of Lilith, the original vampire, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), transforms into a super-vampire. Witnessing this transformation, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) flee from the underground bunker of the vampire elite, where they join Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten), Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten), Tara (Rutina Wesley), and Nora (Lucy Griffiths), Eric's sister.

Once back in Bon Temps, things remain tense. Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) is glad that Bill is home, but she can sense the change in him. Sookie meets Ben (Rob Kazinsky), who is a telepathic fairy just like her. Jason has a run-in with a mysterious old man (Rutger Hauer). Meanwhile, the governor of Louisiana (Arliss Howard) begins a war on vampires, putting a curfew on the undead and giving law enforcement the authority to seize a vampire's belongings and arrest a "vamper" without question. This is only the beginning of his master plan, which includes the capture of many vampires. Will Bill be able to use his newfound powers to rescue everyone?

Season Six of True Blood is the one where a bunch of characters are held captive in a mysterious underground compound while a power struggle goes on in the world of vampires and Bill Compton acts crazy. Wait a minute, I thought that was Season Five. And here we have the issue with where True Blood has gone. While the basic stories of these two seasons are different, there are enough similarities to make it confusing at first glance. The idea of Bill becoming God-like isn't bad, but didn't we get enough of weird Bill last season. Yes, this give Eric the opportunity to be the "good" vampire, but this idea has run its course as well. The fact that some old characters are brought back may seem charming at first, but it also hints that the writers on the show are running out of ideas.

This season also continues the show's apparent determination to spread the story as thin as possible in order to keep far too many characters involved. This dilutes the show instead of making it deeper. I'd rather see no side-plots than the shallow ones we are served in Season Six. We get Sam (Sam Trammell) dealing with the death of his girlfriend and becoming involved with an activist. We have Alcide (Joe Manganiello) dealing with revolt in his werewolf pack. We have Andy (Chris Bauer) dealing with the fact that his new fairly children age overnight. Some of these stories touch on the main arc (especially Andy's), but they also feel like filler. There are also times where the various stories are so divergent that one has to wonder how one character can't know what another is doing at that same time. The show has strayed so far from its original premise that it's hard to remember when it was just about Sookie and Bill.

Given the hit-or-miss nature of True Blood, it would be difficult to truly call Season Six a disappointment, as fans should be accustomed to the show's inconsistency by now. The truth of the matter is that the series retains enough spunk and fortitude to remain entertaining and intriguing. But, that doesn't mean that these new episodes are anywhere near as engaging as those found in Season One. The show is still funny and shocking at times, and the death of a second tier character in this season is certainly emotional. However, Season Six of True Blood feels like a photocopy. It looks like the real thing, but it simply doesn't have the depth. And, again, the resemblance to Season Five doesn't help. While many major events occur in Season Six, one walks away with the feeling that none of them truly advanced the series. My hope is that the show goes for broke in its seventh and final season and reminds us of just how lively this show about the dead used to be.

True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season doesn't feature enough Anna Camp on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment. The four-Disc set contains all ten episodes from the show's sixth season. The show has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no defects from the source materials. However, the picture here is notably grainy at times, most notably during the scenes in the white room. The level of grain is so dense at times that it can't be ignored. The colors look good, most notably the reds and blues, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is notably good, as we can see the makeup on the actors. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are well-done, as we are treated to sounds coming from off-screen. The surround sound effects come into play during crowd and action scenes. Some of these effects are detailed and they don't simply mirror the front channels. The subwoofer effects get a boost from musical cues and explosions.

The True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray Disc set contains a variety of extras. Each episode receives an installment of "Inside the Episode", which is a brief featurette that offers comments form the cast and creative team. Each segment looks at the specific storyline and themes of each entry in the season, and some feature detailed information on specific scenes. The set offers AUDIO COMMENTARIES on the following episodes: "At Last" commentary from Writer Alexander Woo and actress Amelia Rose Blaire (Disc 2); "Don't You Feel Me" commentary from Writer Daniel Kenneth and Director Howard Deutch (Disc 3); "In the Evening" commentary from Stephen Moyer and Writer Kate Barnow (Disc 3); "Life Matters" commentary from Executive Producer/Writer Brian Buckner and actress Carrie Preston (Disc 4); and "Radioactive" commentary from Buckner and Barnow (Disc 4). "Vamp Camp Files" is an interactive piece which allows the viewer to explore many different text and video files from the following vampire categories; "Solution", "Physiology", "Psychology", and "Defense". Similarly, "True Blood Lines" brings us text files on the many characters from the show. (This would be good for those who (for some reason) jump into the series.)

Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long