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TV review: True Blood, season five
True Blood's Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer. Image. FX
The successful vampire drama returns to digital channel FX: UK for more bloodthirsty histrionics, but True Blood's now looking quite long in the fang...
These days, the show only works as sexual titillation or as a platform of creative violence, so the highlight was probably Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) stripping to her lingerie.
The continuation of the tedious situation between ex-friends Hoyt (Jim Parack) and Jason (Ryan Kwanten), after the former lost girlfriend Jessica to his childhood pal. It's so annoying the show killed a lovely romantic couple, just so they could hook-up two of the show's prettiest actors.
True Blood has been bad longer than it was ever good. Season one's excellent Southern Gothic murder-mystery seems like a lifetime ago, as the show's since morphed into a gory supernatural soap that hates its human characters and doesn't know what to do with the paranormal ones.
"True Blood has been bad longer than it was ever good."
In this uneven premiere, it performed its annual trick of rescinding plot-threads dangling from the previous year, putting others on a back burner, and inching the remainder forward only slightly.
Tara (Rutina Wesley) has been blasted in the head with a shotgun, in front of a helpless Sookie (Anna Paquin), but rather than use this opportunity to dispose of a worthless character, dead Tara's instead "turned" into a vampire by cynical Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten), so her love-rival Sookie's indebted to her.
Some may think it'll be interesting to see how Tara reacts to being the very thing she despises, but you already know exactly how hot-headed Tara will behave: annoyingly. With sass and swearing.
Anyway, isn't this idea set-up for exploration, what with the return of anti-vampire zealot Reverend Newlin (Michael McMillian)? Or is he just going to make goo-goo eyes over Jason all season?
Elsewhere, it was mildly more interesting to see Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) and Bill (Stephen Moyer) captured by the Vampire Authority, which is headed up by a 500-year-old blood-sucker (Chris Meloni of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit fame).
They were whisked away to be given the "True Death", only to escape during transit and discover one of their kidnappers is Eric's "sister" Nora (Lucy Griffiths), who was about to rescue Eric and Bill, by staging an ambush and shipping them overseas with fake IDs.
It's hardly worth mentioning the uninteresting humans, who are now a minority. Remember when Bill arriving at Merlotte's was seen as an exotic situation in season one? These days, half the town's population are vampires, shape-shifters, werewolves, were-panthers, witches, ghosts, or whatever a brujo is.
"Showrunner Alan Ball is trapped in a creative bubble"
Showrunner Alan Ball is trapped in a creative bubble, refusing to make the necessary changes to rescue True Blood - perhaps because he's only paying attention to the ratings.
I'm surprised season four's absurd "witches vs vampires" storyline didn't frustrate more of the devout fans, but maybe this is the year everyone starts smelling the stink.
The premiere wasn't an unmitigated disaster, but it was proof True Blood's in trouble.
It once offered crazy violence, twists, emotion, surprises, and astonishing cliffhanger endings, but those have mostly dried up. Beyond the occasionally snappy dialogue, the writing just isn't up to scratch anymore.
- Verdict: True Blood has lost its bite.
Season five of True Blood continues on FX: UK
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