PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Looking Back – “True Blood” – The Long-Delayed Post-Mortem and Seven Season Roundup (MAJOR SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who: The show is available to HBO and HBOGo subscribers exclusively, as it is HBO produced original content, though it has been licensed to Amazon Prime.  Of course, there are other ways to find it, as it’s kind of massively popular.  And since it’s done now, that will only become more true.

What: “True Blood,” a drama wherein vampires have come out of the coffin after the manufacture of a synthetic blood substitute called TruBlood, and a Southern waitress named Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), who is a telepath, is at the center of it all (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_Blood).

When: The Season 7 and series finale aired on Sunday, August 24, 2014, at 9:00 PM on HBO.

Where: The show is set in fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana, in or around present day.

Why: This show was recommended to me by a friend because I love all things with vampires in them and tend to gravitate toward story lines with fantasy, including supernatural, themes.  I have stuck with it because of 1) vampires; 2) the sense of humor; and 3) hot men, particularly Alexander Skarsgard, better known as Eric Northman, the 1000 year old Viking vampire, and Joe Mangianello, aka Alcide Herveux, the resident werewolf.

How – as in How Did It End? (THOUGHTS…a year later)

For a recap of season 6, the inaugural post on this blog, read here!

Stay true to the end.  That was your tag line entering into the seventh and final season. Stay true to the end.  Fans of True Blood, i.e. “Truebies,” were encouraged to retain their loyalty as the last ten episodes of the series aired over the summer of 2014.  True to the end.

As this viewer sits here now, one year (give or take) later, I find myself missing True Blood.  After all, it was an integral part of my summertime for several years.  Plus, I miss staring at some chiseled, naked, supernatural men.  Yet, I feel much the same today as I did when the show took its final bow in late August 2014.  In Looking Back at True Blood, and its consistent inconsistencies, I believe to this day, with a shred of gnawing disappointment, that the show’s writers were not quite “truebies” themselves who stayed true to the end when it came to the characters they created and adapted from Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels.

After six seasons of widely varying quality and engagement with the viewer, Season Seven limped toward the finish line, like a rabid dog that had been shot in its hind quarters.  There was no “oomph,” no flare.  It was mostly a boring recap of where we’ve been through with this series, which turned out to be yawn-inducing by itself, since the series had been all over the place since its inception.  What wasn’t boring was mostly shocking, and not in the “ooh twist!” kind of way.  Many of the characters were done a disservice by the writers and producers.  In the end, the whole thing totaled up to be a dissatisfying letdown of epic proportion, even if, in some ways, the series couldn’t have ended any other way.  That’s what happens when you dig holes you can’t crawl back out of in the end.

More to the point, season seven was one long stretch of denouement, after an anticlimactic, if more than tolerable, sixth season.  The mediocrity is, more or less, in keeping with the show’s general idiom of inconsistent story lines and bad character choices, but the disappointment stems from nostalgia over what was a stellar, alluring first season and sometimes good seasons that followed.  None of it felt right.  I once considered owning this series, but I don’t think it’s worth re-watching at this point, no matter how attractive I find Alexander Skarsgard or Joe Mangianello, though my sister did give me the first two seasons on DVD, which she owned and felt she could easily part with, having been so disgusted by the end of the series herself.

Because of my visceral reaction to the end of an era, however good or not quite so good, I asked some familiar fellow Couch Potatoes how they felt about the curtain call of True Blood, as we talked “Around the Water Cooler” while “Looking Back.”  This podcast was recorded on July 12, 2015, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout all seven seasons. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Questions, Impressions, and Bygone Wondering from Season Six

1) IS ERIC ALIVE?  He better be.  I hope Pam finds him in time and saves him, since we didn’t see what happened to her when Warlow met his end.

ANSWER: Eric’s alive.  He and Pam (Kristen Bauer van Straten) survive the sun and an onslaught of Hepatitis V.  In fact, they find the antidote to the vampire-killing virus and market it and themselves back into rich and successful territory, having lost Fangtasia to the Hep V infected vampires who raided it.

2) Sookie and Alcide?  Really?  What was the point of the pack story?  Why do the writers expect us all to forget how horrible Alcide was this season?

ANSWER: The relationship was short lived, if never convincing.  In episode two or three, Alcide was shot dead during a skirmish between “vampire vigilantes,” or humans against all vampires whether infected by Hepatitis V or not, and infected vampires after Sookie was used as bait by Bill to ensnare some of the latter.  It was very anticlimactic and ignominious, especially for someone so hot as Joe Mangianello.  So, whether we forgave Alcide and the horrible pack story or not, he was not long for the True Blood universe, Bon Temps, or Sookie.

3) Is Sookie really over Vampire Bill and Vampire Eric?  Will she never be with Sam?

ANSWER: No Sam, ever.  Sam (Sam Trammell) married the girl he impregnated and ran away from Bon Temps for a while, despite being mayor.  Another anticlimactic and ignominious end.  Sookie was over Vampire Eric by the end of the series; their love was not of the epic kind, but they cared about each other deeply.  Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer), on the other hand, was one of her true loves, though it surprised at least this viewer (listen to the podcast). Unfortunately, Vampire Bill, as much as he loved Sookie, could not fathom continuing on as a cursed vampire and longed for the True Death, which Sookie gave to him in the end.  It was the only character choice that made much sense in the end, really.

4) I think Jason and Jessica are still sharing furtive glances and complicated emotions. Are they over for good?  And what’s with this Violet vamp?  I don’t particularly want to watch Jason eating her out over a whole season.

ANSWER: Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) were always in lust with each other, and if I recall correctly, they had another dalliance in the seventh season, but Hoyt (Jim Parrack) came back to town after his mother, a vampire vigilante, met a grisly end, and his glamour lifted for Jessica, who was apparently his true love. They ended up marrying each other.  Violet (Karolina Wydra), on the other hand, turned out to be the jealous type and detected that Jason was not that into her and was more into Jessica.  She kind of went crazy, kidnapped Holly’s son and Adelind, Andy’s fairy daughter, and brought them to her den of sexy torture, all for the sake of luring Jason there.  Violet, however, was not long for this world.  She met her end too. Lots of people did in the last season.

5) They aren’t really going to belabor the Tara/Lettie Mae thing, I hope.

ANSWER: They belabored it in an outrageous way that totally committed a disservice to the character of Tara (Rutina Wesley).  Listen to the podcast for more.

6) PLEASE GIVE LAFAYETTE MORE TO DO.  His one liners are great, but he is sorely underutilized.

ANSWER: Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) had a fine final season.  He played beau to a sexy bisexual vampire who first had the hots for Jessica and then for Lafayette.  He also helped the fiasco that was the Tara story line.  All throughout, he remained classy and sassy.

7) Are Tara and Willa an item?  Willa really emphasized her ‘friendship’ with Tara to Lettie Mae.

ANSWER: Since Tara didn’t survive past the first or second episode, if she had a relationship or flirtation with Willa, it was never made clear.

8) Where did Fairy Grandfather Niall (Rutger Hauer) go?

ANSWER: I think he died or went back to the fairy realm.  He might have cameoed in season seven, but it was unmemorable if he did.

9) RIP Warlow.  The actor who played you was damn fine.

ANSWER: But he will be on The Frankenstein Code on FOX come this fall or winter.

10) Is Sam’s baby going to be a shifter?  Is Sam’s baby going to be born?

ANSWER: Sam’s baby was born and has shifter tendencies.  The question is: do we still care?

11) So, the new threat is the rabid, Hep-V infected vampires.  They now look like zombie vampires.  This could be very good or very bad.  Whatever else can be said, it’s not very original.

ANSWER: It wasn’t great, that’s for sure.

12) Arlene clearly kept the money.  Was there no investigation?  Terry purchased the policy three days before his death.  Not that I want to see the investigation onscreen.

ANSWER: Arlene (Carrie Preston) did undergo some investigation, but the Hep V vampire story line kind of took precedence over everything else.  She also cavorted with a sexy vampire, so if there was a resolution to this story, I can’t remember it.

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus of the podcast panel, though we all miss True Blood at least a little, the show was clearly on its last legs. While the writers, after Creator Alan Ball stepped down to fulfill only an executive producer role following the fifth season, did well to focus the action on the vampires the most, there were still some superfluous, uninteresting plot lines and characters.  Though the plethora of handsome men and naughtiness kept the show marginally interesting, two out of three of us watched because we felt like we had made it that far and should push through to the end, while the third just wanted to see a good end for the story and the characters. All three of us, however, agreed that the show had nothing left to give, as the quality of writing had declined to the point where the show had to end to retain some sense of dignity, for itself, the people who worked on it, and the fans.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW:

True Blood ended its seven season run in August 2014.  It is available for purchase on DVD and is available to stream on HBOGo and Amazon Prime.

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One comment

  1. kyliekeelee · July 18, 2015

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