To dial my prior statement back a scosche, TRUE BLOOD was one of the great shows until the A/V abortion that was season 5. I essentially hated everything about it, and it was clear that either ALAN BALL was tiring of his duties of showrunner or the writers developed some sort of mind-altering drug habit. News flash: your show is already written. Simply adapt material from the 13 novel series.
So how could that possibly happen? The first three seasons were outstanding and the fourth was still way above-par. How something this good falls so far is anybody’s guess, but season 5 got to the point of being almost entirely unwatchable.
Thankfully, ALAN BALL left the show upon the conclusion of the season and went on to give us the terrific BANSHEE on CINEMAX. So the question is, did he leave his show in capable hands? I should have suspected the answer when the first pair of hands turned into another halfway through production…
So how did it turn out? Head inside to find out:
I’m not ignorant to the fact that any which way you slice it, TRUE BLOOD is going to be a strange show. The book series itself is very strange. Not having read them myself, I am fortunate enough that my beloved MIDWEST WIFE is a die-hard fan so she can fill me in. The book series includes a half-retarded vampire Elvis (yes, that Elvis), a bunch of demons on the Stackhouse side of the family and even Jason Stackhouse being formally turned into a were-panther by Crystal’s white trash boyfriend.
But good lord, let’s make it all about 20x stranger bringing in an “ifrit” haunting Terry, a Lilith vampire cult, a super-stupid storyline about a brojo demon with Lafayette looking for Jesus’ body (hispanic Jesus, not the christ guy), Andy being a father to half-fairy quadruplets, Tara now being a vampire and last but not least, Bill being resurrected as a Bill-Lilith crossbred vampire jokingly referred to as “Billith”. Even CHRISTOPHER MELONI who is usually great in pretty much anything he does felt extremely awkward in his role as the leader of the Vampire Authority.
There were a couple of redeeming factors, but not many. JOE MANGANIELLO was great as the werewolf Alcide and guest star (now series regular) ROBERT PATRICK (TERMINATOR 2) was a good addition as Alcide’s father. Also, LUCY GRIFFITHS rounded out the main vampire group well as Eric’s sister Nora. Bud being behind all the murders of the shifters was a good twist. Otherwise, a whole lot of garbage.
The sixth season premiere (entitled “Who Are You, Really?”) starts off a few seconds after the fifth season ended when a bloody and freshly-resurrected Billith growls at Eric and Sookie before they escape from the Authority bunker. The first 20-30 minutes drove me completely insane as seemingly every one of the characters forgot their roles. Eric’s calm-and-cool vampire persona was gone, Pam’s quiet-but-neurotic nature was almost to the point of hyperactivity, Jason developed some sort of deep spontaneous hate for everybody, and Sookie somehow lost her southern Louisiana accent. The dialogue was horrendous, consisting of the most base one-liners possible. Pretty sure I’ve never said this ever before, but the makeup was even lousy. As insult to injury, Luna dies immediately with literally no regard shown to her character.
And then the super evil Billith is suddenly normal old Bill calmly sitting on his porch. Is he crazy? Is he not crazy? he almost killed Jessica, but she still takes his side. Sookie stakes him through the heart to save Eric, but it doesn’t kill him. Visiting the werewolves for a second, JOE MANGANIELLO even looked relatively disinterested as he scores a totally random threeway with a couple of other hot werewolf chicks.
CHRIS BAUER stayed true to the character of Andy Bellefleur, and the best moment of the episode was when he picked up one of his kids and said “I’m Detective Andy Bellefleur…” it was laugh out loud funny. And at the very least, the show was self-aware of the silliness of ‘Billith’ with Pam dropping the Billith name in reference to Bill. It was funny albiet probably not entirely intentional
Admittedly, the last 30 minutes were far superior to the first 30. I get the feeling that this can go one of two ways: the creators might have tried their best to wrap up the mess made by ALAN BALL last season and completely pivot away from it getting back to basics of the show (as it is most successful). Or, it can continue to be more of the overdone mess that season five devolved into. In the latter of the two scenarios, I can see how this might be the final season if not the second to last. Which is a damn shame because of how incredible the first three and a half seasons were.
D+ for the premiere. All fingers, toes and other miscellaneous crossable appendages are crossed that it gets better.