Sunday, June 22, 2014

True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
The coming summer months bring with them the welcome heat wave that is HBO's steamy hit series "True Blood." Following telepath Sookie Stackhouse and her roving troupe of vampire, werewolf, faerie (and the occasional human) friends and sometime foes as they navigate the seedy supernatural underbelly of Bon Temps, Louisiana, this sexy, scary, wildly entertaining series has been heating up HBO's summer line up for six years. As fans prepare for the launch of the show's final season this summer, they'll have the chance to catch up on the action and dig even deeper into the previous season's storylines when True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season has made its debut on Blu-ray with Digital Copy, DVD & Digital HD. Vampire Bill is rebirthed as a powerful ancient deity, Louisiana Governor Truman Burrell declares open season on all vampires and Sookie Stackhouse finds herself sidelined by a mysterious stranger with a hidden agenda. On Sunday August 22, 2014 the first episode of the final season of True Blood is going to air on HBO. This sixth season of "True Blood" was released just in time for a quick refresher about what your favorite vamps, werewolves, shifters and deities have been up to before the final season.

Show (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
If you haven’t watched "True Blood" before I highly recommend setting your DVR to record the current season and starting back at season one. The world seemed complicated when humans and vampires attempted to co-exist but over the seasons, it’s gotten more crowded than that. Humans and vampires also have shape shifters, werewolves, and fairies to deal with mixed in with all the black magic supernatural things that cause waitress Sookie Stackhouse so many problems.

If you’ve forgotten what happened last season, disc one of the set begins with an optional season five recap. Episodes one is all about Bill (Stephen Moyer) who is a reincarnated God, and the episode happens to be directed by Moyer. There are a lot of changes as Alcide (Joe Manganiello) is now packmaster and Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) is the father to a “litter” of fairies.

The Governor Burrell declares war on the vampires, saying it’s time for humans to bite back! Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) decides to take action in the funniest Eric outfit since the basketball shorts. Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Jason (Ryan Kwanten) are trying to determine why Warlow won’t leave Sookie alone. In the process Sookie also learns a lot about their family and how her parents felt about their fairy daughter.

All the fan favorite characters are back including Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell), Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), Tara (Rutina Wesley), Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and last but not least Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten).To avoid spoilers there is little I can tell you about what happens in this season. With only ten episodes it shouldn’t take long to watch. I haven’t been a big fan of all the overly complicated story lines of the past few seasons and season six is no different. However, it does contain some of the most touching and heart breaking moments of the series.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
"True Blood" is always a visual pleasure on Blu--ray. The show has a very distinct color palette and there is great detail to be seen. Skin tones (of those with a pulse) are accurate and even. Textures in clothing, the environment and especially the blood in its different stages help make all the unbelievable things seem real. In the show’s opening there is probably more detail than most people want to see. The show is presented in 1080p high definition presentation with a 16:9 1.78 ratio.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
HBO doesn’t disappoint with the show’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The clarity of the shows opening song is always an exciting way to start the show. The dialogue is always intelligible whether it’s Bill’s breathy commands or Sookie’s screams for help. Subtitles are available in English SDH, French, Latin Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars) 
The commentaries are interesting to listen to but the behind the episodes featurettes are much too brief. Additionally the interactive features seem more like time waters and are not easy to leave and come back to. I hope the final season will include more cast interviews and opinions.

The Blu--ray discs contain the following extras:

Disc One
  • Inside the Episodes – Short featurettes for episodes one, two and three are available individually or with the play all feature. Stephen Moyer discusses episode one, which he directed. Cast and crew discuss the other two episodes.
Disc Two
  • Inside the Episodes – Back-story for disc two episodes (4-5) with cast and crew interviews.
  • Commentary – Episode 4 commentary by Amelia Rose Blaire (Willa Burrell) and writer Alexander Woo.
Disc Three
  • Inside the Episodes – Featurettes for episodes 6-8.
  • Commentary – Episode 6 commentary with Writer Daniel Kenneth and Director Howard Deutch and Episode 7 Commentary by Stephen Moyer (Bill) and Writer Kate Barnow.
Disc Four
  • Vamp Camp Files – Sarah Newland explains the need for Vamp Camp. This interactive feature contains redacted documents detailing the efforts to rid the world of vampires including The Vampire Solution, Vampire Physiology, Vampire Psychology and Vampire Defense.
  • True Blood Lines – An interactive feature with archives on humans, vampires, shape-shifters, werewolves, witches and fairies.
  • Inside the Episodes – A look at the final two episodes of the season.
  • Commentary – Episode 9 commentary with Carrie Preston (Arlene) and Executive Producer/Writer Brian Buckner and Episode 10 commentary by Brian Buckner and Writer Kate Barnow.
  • Digital Copy of the Show
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season is very complicated. The characters have a lot of history together. I found it interesting to see Pam as a maker, instead of just acting as Eric’s progeny. With Bill on the rails for most of the season you’re never sure where it’s all going. I applaud the writers for killing of major characters. As a viewer you can never be sure if anyone will survive even fan favorites. I can only hope that the final season finds a way to wrap up the chaos and leave viewers somewhat satisfied. If you’ve stayed on board with the show this long I recommend season six. When I get nostalgic for some classic "True Blood" episodes, I doubt this will be the season I return to. I will only rarely re-watch from start to finish.

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