(Spoiler-free) Waiting sure does suck, but for fans of HBO’s delicious blood suckin’, fang-bangin’, shape-shifting guilty pleasure, the wait is finally over. Sure, the network’s other fare, full of coming-of-age Girls, Prohibition-age politicians, and sword wielding medieval-doers were worthy enough to hold us over in the meantime; however, with last night’s Season 5 premiere of True Blood, Sookie, Eric and Bill have reclaimed their spot on HBO’s mainstage with more bloodshed, sex, violence, and camp. Let the madness begin!
Although the series’ 3rd and 4th seasons were a little choppy (the Franklin bit carried on for far too long, and I liked the book’s witch-based storyline better), Season 5 is already setting up a grand, epic blowout of a season. In last night’s “Turn! Turn! Turn!” we were reintroduced to each character’s storyline in the exact spot we left them. Sookie and Lafayette were cradling Tara’s seemingly dead body, as half of her blown out head covered Sook’s kitchen floor and walls; Bill and Eric were dealing with the aftermath having just killed Nan Flanagan; Jason was busy getting stalked by newly-vamped Steve Newlin; and Sam was busy trying to keep his new love interest safe from her ex’s pack. (And if anyone can explain to me that shiz with Arlene’s possible-demon baby, I’m all ears!) So basically, everything and nothing happened, all at once. But hey man – don’t we watch this show for the blood, sex, and bloody sex? There was certainly plenty to go around!
True Blood works on so many different levels. On a purely surface basis, it’s a great, cheesy escape…the ultimate guilty pleasure. Digging deeper, however, the show displays some merit with solid writing, great set design and locations (they really come alive from the page), and a cast that gets it. Sure, there aren’t any Emmy-award-winning performances here, but the cast completely understands the tone and focus of the show, and they really commit to it, packing a punch week after week. In particular, Kristin Bauer van Straten is brilliant as Eric’s right-hand vamp Pam, with her icy-cold deadpans (see above photo) and constant “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. Plus the fact that she’s always ready to tear something…or someone…apart limb by limb. That helps too.
With Alan Ball departing as showrunner after this season, I admit I’m wary. With a show like True Blood, it doesn’t take much to jump the shark and completely become a mockery of itself. If the writing remains sharp, (and full of sister-fucking and werewolf intestine-eating!), hopefully HBO can milk another 2-3 seasons off its trashy, but beloved cash cow.Anna Paquin, Bill, Eric, HBO, Season 5, Sookie Stackhouse, True Blood, Turn! Turn! Turn!