True Blood -- The Complete Fifth Season
"True Blood" has evolved past a supernatural soap opera into a must-see, bloodthirsty-until-the-next-episode series. But the fifth season is precariously close to jumping the shark. There are wasted opportunities with guest stars, extraneous sub plots and occasional jaunts to crazy town. The bonus features are also slightly lackluster, considering how many die-hard fans are out there.
The fifth season amps up the supernatural natural drama. The vampires, including sexy heartthrob Alexander Skarsgård, are dealing with the appearance of The Authority, the leading body of vampire government. There’s also the reappearance of ancient gay vampire and fairy lover (Russell Edgington). Sookie (Anna Paquin) is reconnecting with her fairy roots, and struggles with the rather shocking transformation of her friend Tara (Rutina Wesley).
Season 5 is the season of sub-plots. It seems like every series regular has their own storyline. Fairy burlesque bars, Middle Eastern fire demons, vampire-human adultery, shifter domestic disturbances and werewolf pack issues pervade the season. It becomes overly complicated and devolves into a convoluted half-explored mess. Very few of the storylines really give a great payoff. There are plenty of WTF moments but a lack of payoff. It feels like a lot of foreplay with no happy ending.
This season also boasts some major guest stars but does not truly utilize them. The ungodly sexy Christopher Meloni ("Oz" "Law & Order: SVU") gets a great character, but not much screen time. Tina Majorino ("Grey’s Anatomy") gets introduced as a mad scientist-type vampire, but she’s gone as fast as she is introduced. Scott Foley ("Scandal") is also introduced in possibly the worst sub-plot of the series as a questionable Army buddy of Terry Bellefleur (Tod Lowe). The highlight is the prescence of "Cougar Town" fan favorite Carolyn Hennesy as a feisty Texan vampire member of The Authority.
The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy collection of the series includes a few lackluster bonus features. "True Blood Lines" is an interactive family-tree style listing of the characters, their species and their connections. As interesting as the included information is, it’s not truly interactive if it requires a lot of button-mashing.
"Enhanced Viewing" is a pop-up video style way of watching episodes. This feature has blurbs about the plot lines, added info about the characters and in-episode opportunities to watch videos. These videos are "Authority Confessionals," which include the members of the authority describing their motivations.
Also included on the Blu-ray version of the series are the commentaries with cast members and directors. This offers a lot more interesting information than some of the previously mentioned features because the creators and cast discuss their characters at length. Also included are the "Inside the Episode" segments that aired after the episodes on HBO, where the writers discussed making each episode.
"True Blood" is still a hot, sexy must-see series. The fifth season shows some signs of decline, but has plenty of pull to keep you watching all season.
"True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season"