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what i watched last week

true blood, season 4 finale

Well, True Blood gets stupider every season, but I must say, they went out with a bang this time around. In Season 4, the guilty pleasures the series offers moved beyond “this show is silly, but it’s got vampires, and look, little Anna Paquin is nekkid!” to “if Mystery Science Theater was still on, they could make a lot of fun of this show.” I only read the first of the Sookie Stackhouse books, so I can’t compare, but as I understand it, a lot of the things that the TV series has introduced took much longer to appear in the books. Whatever the case, Season 4 was overflowing, and not really in a good way. It started with fairies, but outside of giving half an explanation for Sookie’s powers, the entire fairy subplot kinda disappeared. Not to worry, though, because there were lots more werewolves and shapeshifters, along with wiccans and old-school witches, possessed babies, mediums, and brujo magic. I’m sure I’ve left something out. There was too much going on, which means that many of the individual scenes offered over-the-top entertainment, but I gave up trying to make sense of any of it long before the season ended.

Like I say, though, the season finale delivered the goods. Lots of characters died, lots of previously-dead characters came back, Sookie made her Bill/Eric decision, and Deborah Ann Woll came closer than ever to her first real nude scene. (The rules for the female nude scenes on True Blood seem to work like this: Anna Paquin is always ready to drop her top, no other regular on the show will, but women who are on for a season or so make up the difference. It’s an odd combination, but after four seasons, there is clearly a plan to all this.)

They left plenty of loose ends to get us to watch next season, and I guess I haven’t yet reached the point where my eye rolling overcomes the entertainment value. I’ll be there for Season 5, but this ain’t exactly The Wire. Hell, it ain’t even Six Feet Under.

Grade for Season 4 finale: A-.  Grade for Season 4: B.

Comments

Julie

I've read all the books and the TV show is only barely based on the books. Example, Lafayette dies within the first few pages of book 2 so any plot related to that character doesn't exist in the books. There is something to be said for having no idea what is going to happen next since they are not following the books though; it keeps it "interesting". I watch it with Teri and Becka each week and I think the eye rolling and making fun of it is half the entertainment. I hope they tighten up the plot for next season though, this season was all over the place.

Steven Rubio

I definitely agree that the eye rolling is part of the fun ... Robin and I enjoy that a lot, too. But I always feel obliged for some reason to point out why I think True Blood, while fun and entertaining, does not approach the greatness of the best HBO series. I don't think they are trying for that, to be fair. Alan Ball already did Six Feet Under, which some consider part of the HBO greatness. True Blood reminds me of some of the Showtime series before Dexter got people to actually pay for Showtime. Queer as Folk got stupider with every season, but the characters were fun and we had an investment in how they all turned out. L Word may have tried for that as well, although they also seemed to hope for some greater social goodness, which for me never really worked.

Julie

That's a good point, I hadn't thought of that. You are right, True Blood doesn't follow the same magnitude that HBO shows are known for. Maybe that is why it works, it's more guilty pleasure than we are use to for HBO.

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