Blu-Ray Review: True Blood (The Complete Fifth Season)



HBO’s True Blood caught on quickly with fans; it’s first season had numbers grow from 1.4 million viewers watching the pilot to 2.4 million with the first season finale. Those numbers have steadily grown, and 5 million people watched the shocking season five finale. Spoilers may appear in this review of the wild fifth season of True Blood on Blu-ray, especially towards the end.

The appearance of vampires in Bon Temps, Louisiana was just the beginning of the madness for telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin). Within five seasons, she has encountered maenads, witches, werewolves, were-panthers, shape-shifters, smoke demons, and has found out that her telepathic powers come from her family lineage of faeries. Sookie is one busy girl.

Season five dives right into madness with vampire vixen Pam (Kristin Bauer von Straten) turning Sookie’s best friend Tara (Rutina Wesley) into a vampire in order to save her life. Tara is less than thrilled with the fact that she has joined the ranks of the undead, but her storyline is just one of many in the season tailor made for folks with ADHD.

Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) are kidnapped by the Vampire Authority where they discover a nest of vampires – including Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare) and his new boyfriend, the Reverend Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) – who want to restore vampires to become what their god Lillith wanted. Where humans exist only as food and vampires ruthlessly rule the world as the supreme race.

Terry (Todd Lowe) is in the midst of battling post traumatic stress disorder with a former soldier friend (Scott Foley), and with good reason. While on a tour of duty, the two murdered a woman who cursed the with a demon. This demon haunts them tirelessly and won’t be stopped without blood; one of them must kill the other, and it becomes a game of cat and mouse to see whom can get to whom first.

Hoyt (Jim Parrack) joins a rogue group of vampire haters who have been killing vampires all over the area. They kidnap Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and presents her to him so he can kill her for all the wrong she did to him. He can’t go through with it, and in his hurt and sadness over the end of their relationship, Hoyt asks Jessica to glamour him so he can forget she ever existed.

Sookie discovers that her parents were murdered by a vampire who is now determined to kill her, and she spends a lot of time in faerie world seeking help from her kind. She emerges to help out (or make things worse), and is present at the Vampire Authority for the climax of the season finale.

And what a crazy climax it is. After Eric and his vampire sister Nora have fled the Authority compound, they return to Bon Temps to gather Sookie, Jason, and Tara in the hopes of infiltrating the compound and putting a stop to the obsession with Lillith and vampire religion. There, Tara is reunited with Pam who was arrested by the Authority for killing the new Sheriff, and they reveal their romantic feelings for one another. Jason, Eric, and Nora kill all of the vampire guards just in time for Eric and Sookie to watch as Bill drinks the blood of Lillith and dies; only to be reborn as a reincarnation of the goddess herself.

Season Five of True Blood was an exhausting one, full of dizzying subplots. Sam and Luna did have a chance to step outide of Bon Temps and become vigilantes, shifting their way inside the Authority, but fan favorite Alcide was reduced to only minor appearances here and there (although eventually he became to new pack leader).

Now that Bill has become the Bloody God of Doom, season six is ripe with intensity from the get-go. The mystery of who killed Sookie’s parents is still lingering, and nearly every character has some storyline that’s hanging in the air. But this season was uneven, jumping around more maniacally than a religious vampire; exciting one minute and slow as molasses the next. Showrunner Alan Ball announced halfway into the season that he would be stepping down, and maybe this will give the show its chance to die a respectable True Death.

HBO delivers, as always, with a bevy of extras to keep even the truest of True Blood fans satiated. Each episode in the season has an Enhanced Viewing feature that provides depth to every detail – info about characters, titles of background songs, tidbits of history, recipes, everything. True Blood Lines gives family tree info on each type of supernatural being on the show. Handy for fans who forget who is related to whom (*raises hand*). Authority Confessionals were done for HBO promos, and show the vampires giving confessional like they would to Lillith. This similar idea has been done with previous seasons, and is similar to Jessica’s video diary. Five commentaries are spread throughout the season, with actors Stephen Moyer, Carrie Preston, Denis O’Hare, directors Romeo Tirone, Lesli Linka Glatter, and writers Alexander Woo and Angela Robinson all sitting in. The best though is the commentary for episode “Save Yourself” with Anna Paquin, Alan Ball, and director Michael Lehmann.

With an outstanding audio track that is sure to test the boundaries of your home theater system and the hefty extras, this beautifully packaged blu-ray set for season five of True Blood is well worth the price tag. If for nothing more than to have an impressive marathon with fellow Truebies before season six arrives on June 13. Because as they say, waiting sucks.

HBO presents True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season. Directed by: Michael Lehmann, Scott Winant, Stephen Moyer, and more. Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Rutina Wesley, Denis O’Hare, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, and more. Written by: Brian Buckner, Alexander Woo, Mark Hudis, Alan Ball, and more. Running time: 720 minutes. Rating: TV-MA. Released: May 21, 2013 Available at Amazon.com.

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