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True Blood: Season Three

by on May 28, 2011
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Of all the shows I watch, “True Blood” is the one I have to defend the most. I first became interested in it because I was such a big fan of “Six Feet Under.” Its creator, Alan Ball, signed a contract with HBO to develop some more shows. After creating one of the most personal shows on television, it’s not a surprise that he created something less ambitious.

“True Blood” is a show about vampires, werewolves and all sorts of other supernatural creatures in Louisiana. It’s based off the enjoyable book series by Charlaine Harris. People have criticized the show for being ridiculous and focused too much on sex. Honestly, that’s the charm of the show. HBO has “Game of Thrones” and “Treme” to tackle the heavier subjects during the spring. “True Blood” is a perfect summer show.

The third season starts off with Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) searching for her vampire boyfriend, Bill (Stephen Moyer), who was kidnapped in the second-season finale. The psychotic vampire King of Mississippi (Denis O’Hare) wants Bill to help him take over Louisiana from its current queen (Evan Rachel Wood.) This leads to some big problems in the vampire community especially because the Louisiana Queen has been selling vampire blood on the side with vampire Eric (Alexander Skarsgard).

Some of the strongest humor of the season is having Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) decide that he just has to be a cop. There is also Arlene Folwer (Carrie Preston), who is worried about who is the father of her unborn baby. Newly turned vampire Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) also has to deal with the deadly mistake she made last season.

The worst part about “True Blood” every year is always that a subplot doesn’t gel with the rest of the season. Usually that’s because they still don’t know how to use Tara (Rutina Wesley). She started off as sassy and independent, but now every storyline is revolved around having her broken down and betrayed. Having her in another abusive relationship seems like a terrible idea, but the vampire who has her hostage is so insanely evil it works better than usual.

So instead the worst subplot goes to shape-shifter Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) tracking down his real family. It turns out they are really annoying and take up way too much screen time without any interesting payoff.

It’s always in the middle of the season when the show really starts working. When it focuses on the main plot and its first set of characters, the show can handle the major dramatic points with style. The seventh episode, “Hitting the Ground,” could be one of the best of the series because it blended the humor and the characters with excellence. Acclaimed director John Dahl was the man behind the camera for that episode and it had the return of one of the best actors working on TV, Zeljko Ivanek.

From there, the season has a solid pace to it before it falls into the other “True Blood” problem. It never knows how to end the season. Every year, the run of the season will be a ton of fun and the finale completely falls flat. The showrunners spent too much of the running time trying desperately to set up the next season instead of making a very entertaining hour. Season Three is no exception.

Season Two stumbled a bit as it balanced two storylines and incorrectly guessed which one should have lasted the full season. This season returns to a better group of villains and conflicts, as well as plenty of silly sex and violence. Is this a show I would recommend to everyone? No, but it’s one that I enjoy every summer and I have hope that its creative staff will start to become a little more self-aware of its mistakes.

The bonus features include six audio commentary tracks with Ball and different cast members. There is a cool Anatomy of the Scene showing the breakdown of the season’s first wererwolf fight. There is the set of minisodes that played between Seasons Two and Three. There are the Post Mortems, which offer a little bit of behind the scenes of every episode. Then there is the famous/infamous Snoop Dogg music video he made because of how much he loves the show. It’s called “Oh Sookie.”

Season: 3.5 Yaps
Extras: 4 Yaps

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