True Blood: Season 5
I have found some of my sweeping generalizations pertaining to personal preferences being challenged lately. This is actually a very good thing as it means types of entertainment I usually disparaged have become the creative outlet for extremely talented people. Okay, the ‘Twilight Saga ‘was derived from exceptionally well written novels but the discrepancies between my personal tastes and the general consensus of the more youthful target demographic was too wide fir me to breech. The emphasis was placed too much on the quandaries of young love than the underlying horror inherent in the resident supernatural characters. As my daughter once put it "vampires should jump out of the shadows to feed on you not sparkle like a disco ball in the sun." ‘True Blood’ had similar literary roots based on ‘The Southern Vampire Mysteries’ series of novels by Charlaine Harris. Instead of a franchise of movies this set of HBO with another dark drama, ‘Six Feet Under’. Between the incredible expertise of Mr. Ball and the liberated, mature environment afforded to HBO the series had a chance not possible in a string of PG-13 films; going into the recesses of adult psychological horror. By Spanning a number of season Ball and his exceptional cast and crew were able to organically grow the characters and situations while expanding the internal context defined by an internally consistent mythos made this into one of the most emotionally intense, psychological mesmerizing shows ever to be broadcast on television.
He most important aspect necessary to ensure longevity in a series is treading the fine line between retaining the elements that created a show in the first place and infusing it with new elements that retain the fundamental flavor of the story while providing a means to grow in plot line complexity and character development. In series television of this sort it has become traditional to include in the season finale something ground shaking; an even that will keep the fans talking throughout the hiatus. In season four a climactic battle left some characters dead including one of the fan favorite in the best friend category, Tara Thornton (Ryan Kwanten), lifelong closest friend to the protagonist Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin). Of course within the supernatural context of this milieu dead is insufficient cause to be written out of the series. Unshakeable vampire Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) arrives on the scene in the nick of time succumbing to Sookie’s pleading and resurrects Tara by turning her into a vampire, a creature she hates. Tara is the traditional best friend; the one that is always undergoing drastic change that alters her primary relationships providing a situational stressor. Last season while Sookie was in the fairy realm for a year Tara moved away becoming more self-assertive and falling in love with another woman. The drastic personal change and alteration in sexual preference pales in compassion to the personality modification vampirism will bring.
The central vampires and love interests for Sookie, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and the millennium Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) have been placed under arrest by agents of the previously mysterious Vampire Authority. Much of this season is concerned with the elaboration of this governing body including the fact that the authority, Roman Zimojic (Christopher Meloni), is the head of a group of counselors that collectively wield the ultimate vampire authority and Guardian of the sacred blood of Lilith, the vampire progenitor. This further details the vampire ruling hierarchy that previously was shown to include kings, queens, sheriffs and magistrates. Bill and Eric face the ultimate punishment the true death for the murder of Nan Flanagan, the public representative for vampires in the mortal world. for years fans have be teased by off the cuff references and glaring innuendo finally is given way to a long look behind the curtain at the inner working of a bureaucracy that is literally many thousands of years old. Most of the upper echelon marks their undead existence in millennia. There is also a look at the many of routine workers necessary for security and technical support of such a massive multinational organization. One in particular who was a bit of a minor breakout character was Molly portrayed by Tina Majorino, formerly of another HBO hit ‘Big Love’. Here character is responsible for a remote staking device that can be activated by an iPhone application. Thus side bit of juxtaposing an ancient occult ruling class with an apparently young person with a perchance for modern computer driven technology was brilliant and one of the chief aspects of the robust nature of the series.
The basis of the series prior to this season was the effort of the vampire community to ‘come out of the coffin’ and properly integrate with the mortal human world but this all changes here. The Authority is faced with a major schism within their ranks between those that worship Lilith and the Vampire Bible and those that are dedicated to the mainstreaming incentive. Within the course of the season the Authority submits to pressures brewing for centuries altering their manifesto defining the future of vampires. Some of this is catalyzed by the reappearance of the previous King of Louisiana, Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) who was previously interred beneath tons of concrete in season three. He was just so deliciously evil villain to waste. He is brought back and soon infiltrates the Council redirecting them to a course of return humans to their proper place in the food chain. This did the one thing most glaringly removed from modern horror; vampires are inherently monsters hiding behind a humanlike façade. Those looking for old fashion sex and blood shed will not be disappointed.
Another form of expansion of previously introduced themes we also get to learn more about the supernatural nature of Sookie. Her ability to read thoughts and blood irresistible to vampires is due to her being half fairy. Her fae ancestry is elucidated greatly revealing a good deal of information of that magical realm. The antagonism between the fae and undead is expanded also pulling in the place that shape shifters and werewolves play in this hidden supernatural world. With these hither to fore hidden world coming to light in large part to the information overload of the media the mortals are becoming proactive in fighting the supernatural beings. In all this season represented a major overall in the tone of the series with a darker, psychologically complicated foundation that supports the consistent increase in the emotional timbre of the story. The acting is beyond reproach played with an appreciation for the subtleties of the situations while best highlighting the nuances of the characters. Hidden motivations take on a new meaning when a grudge can fester for a thousand years or so and this series captured that perfectly. The undercurrent of socio-political commentary is not lost amidst frequently graphic nature of the series. The satiric barbs pointed at government bureaucracy and religious fundamentalism, zealots and reactionaries is so well accomplish it adds several fruitful layers and texture to the overall show.
Inside The Episodes: Get The Backstories On Each Of The Episodes With
Revealing Interviews From The Show Writers