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True Blood: The Complete Seventh
HBO Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/11/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/10/2014
I have to admit that while I enjoy some of HBO's original programming, as I've seen most of the movies which are shown on the channel, I have trouble justifying paying extra for this channel. Therefore, at the insistence of my wife, I only subscribe to HBO when True Blood is airing, and this usually occurs the day before a season premieres. Because of this, I don't know what kind of promos are run for the show before the season begins. So I ask, for the final season did they have a contest where children were allowed to write the shows? That's the only explanation I can give for the bizarre and misguided turns which True Blood takes as it bows out.
Season Seven of True Blood picks up right whereSeason Six ended. The world of Bon Temps has changed. Due to the Hep V outbreak, packs of infected and dangerous vampires roam the countryside. Mayor Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) has ordered that each human pair with a vampire for protection. Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) isn't worried about this, as she's with Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello), a werewolf. The dangers of the Hep V vamps are brought to light when they attack Bon Temps, killing several citizens and taking others hostage. This forces Sheriff Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) to form a search party, despite the fact that a group of outraged citizens are rebelling against him. This also draws Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) out to help. Meanwhile, Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) is searching the world trying to find Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgaard). As the season progresses, we learn that a cure for Hep V may exist and that the Japanese investors in Tru Blood are not happy that their product was tainted. All the while, Sookie must deal with all of the death which is occurring around her.
If nothing else, True Blood has always been an audacious show. From the outset, the show has presented us with interesting and unique characters who were backed by an atmosphere of sex and violence. We'd seen decidedly "R-rated" shows on HBO in the past, but was the first one which had the guts (no pun intended) to mix a very female-friendly (if you will) romantic angle with some really messed-up gore effects. This got the show a lot of publicity in the beginning and viewers soon became hooked by the stories. (Remember how insaneSeason Two was?)
As the show has gone on, the seasons have been very up and down as more and more characters and various villains have littered the landscape. So, one would assume that the show would want to go out with a bang. However, what we get with Season Seven is a series of events and plot-points which leave the viewer scratching their heads. This starts in the season premiere when a main character is killed off-screen. This event isn't as shocking as it should be, as we failed to see what happened and this leaves us to wonder if it was even true. A few episodes later, another major character is killed in very quick manner and no one seems to care. These odd choices continue through to the finale when what should be the high-water-mark of the whole series feels very hollow, as a character who could be saved is allowed to die. And the less said about the coda, the better.
On the one hand, we could applaud True Blood for continuing to take chances. Instead of allowing things to be wrapped up all nice and pretty where everyone lives happily ever after, the show went ahead and killed off a bunch of people. But, as stated above, it was done in a way which robbed these moments of their emotional significance. These failed big moments were surrounded by subplots which were decidedly hit or miss. The rescue of the hostages is very average. The introduction of the Japanese contingent feels somewhat racist and delivers scenes in which the vampires are conveniently helpless. I didnít know what to make of the quest that Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) goes on, save for the fact that it ultimately feels inconsequential. The return of Hoyt (Jim Parrack) to Bon Temps is one of the few things which has any feeling to it.
Itís become very obvious over the past few years that itís difficult to construct a series finale which will impress everyone. True Blood brings us an entire final season which is disappointing. There are a few good moments, but most of the season is bewildering and much of it feels nothing like classic True Blood. If youíve seen every other season, you have to complete the series, but be prepared for some confusing moments and to walk away wishing that some more thought had gone into these shows.
True Blood: The Complete Seventh Season wisely brings back Anna Camp on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment. The four Disc set contains all 10 episodes of the showís final 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 only a hint of grain at times and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the show rarely too dark. The level of detail is good, as we can make out the textures on objects and the depth is notable. In short, this rivals HD broadcast quality. 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, especially those which alert us to sounds coming us from off-screen. We also get some nice surround sound effects during the action sequences. The music never drowns out the dialogue.
The True Blood: The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray Disc contains a selection of extras. Each episode has a "Preview" and a "Recap" if one chooses to watch them. Disc One has an AUDIO COMMENTARY for "I Found You" by Writer Kate Barnow and Director Howard Deutch. Disc Two offers a COMMENTARY on "Death is Not the End" by Writer Daniel Kenneth, Director Gregg Fienberg, and Kristin Bauer van Straten. Disc Three has two COMMENTARIES: "Karma" by Writer/Director Angela Robinson, Carrie Preston and Lauren Bowles; "May Be the Last Time" with Writer Craig Chester, Director Simon Jayes, and Chris Bauer. Disc Four opens with an AUDIO COMMENTARY for "Thank You" by Executive Producer Brian Buckner, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer. "A Farewell to Bon Temps" (28 minutes) is a mini-documentary which offers a round-table discussion with Series Creator Alan Ball, Executive Producer Brian Buckner and various cast members who reminisce about the show. This is complimented by brief comments from other actors from the series. They all talk about the origin of the show and how it grew over the years. "The Final Days On Set" (15 minutes) is purely "fly on the wall" video showing a variety of cast and crew members working on the show. This does includes some comments made directly to the camera. "True Blood Lines" is an interactive feature which allows the viewer to learn about the shows copious characters and see how they are connected.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long