Okay, am I the only True Blood fan who feels like this show has jumped the shark? Not just the shark, either, but also the school of rabid piranha that live next to the shark?
With the new season about to start and anticipation building, I thought this might be the right time for me to air my grievances with this once-fangtastic show in the hopes that it will spark some conversation. Also, perhaps those fans who watch the show for more than Eric’s nude scenes will feel some validation that they’re not alone!
I’ll start with the obvious: The Authority. This past season we finally got to see this mythic Authority we’ve heard spoken of since Season One…only to discover that it was nothing more than a toothless council who had been living right in Louisiana the whole time! Convenient, huh? We all know what a center of world affairs upstate Louisiana is, right? Frankly, I think that showing us The Authority in all its banal lameness was a mistake. It single-handedly removed all the mystique that the shadowy vampire government had enjoyed up until that point. Also, for the ruling vampires of the world, these guys tumbled like bowling pins! If they were this weak, why didn’t Russell Edgington wipe these losers out centuries ago?
Speaking of, what a waste it was bringing Russell Edgington back last year after his epic run through Season Three just to watch him sit around spinning his wheels before being blown up via fairy overload! Really? The producers had nothing better to do with that character than that? Sure, I thought his relationship with Rev. Newlin was hilarious, too, but maybe they should have left in the ground a while longer.
One word: Billith. Sure, let’s take the one consistently-decent character on the show and turn him into a raving, religious maniac. Why not? Well, I’ll tell you. Whether you’re a fan of Bill or not, when years have been spent establishing someone’s character and personality, it just shows contempt for the audience to throw all that out the window because you want to yell, “Surprise!” A well-executed character turn can be wonderful and a surprise that makes sense in hindsight can help breathe new life into a flagging series. However, this move reeks of desperation and loss of creativity. It’s been done before, many times. Joss Whedon did it three times (Angel, Willow, Cordelia). The X-Men did it. Suffice it to say, it’s not new. This one feels particularly cheap and un-earned.
On that same note, I’m really not digging Jason’s backslide into racist hillbilly. At this point in his development, such a drastic shift backwards just undermines all the growth his character has had prior to this. I also think the producers need to figure out what to do with Lafayette. He was one of the strongest and most consistently interesting characters on the show for several years and his development into a practitioner of magic is cool, but he seems to have been coasting last year. I get that he deserves a break after two solid years of craziness, but please don’t let him become the “three snaps in a z formation” stereotype that he’s managed to avoid for so long!
The fairies! Oh, sweet Cthulu, the FAIRIES!! In Charlaine Harris’ novels, the Fae are interesting and quirky, but refreshingly down-to-Earth. In True Blood, they are a casting call for Glee! No longer satisfied with working through metaphor and subtlety, they’ve turned the Fae into everything I always hoped they’d never be! They run around in belly-dancer outfits, they speak in interpretive dance, they give birth through glowing magic fairy vaginas while orgasming, and they are utterly insulting representations of both the LGBT community as well as all the UK mythology that spawned the Fae idea. Now I hear that we can expect more of them next season! I can’t wait to see how they butcher them further!
So, those are my major complaints. Can True Blood recover? I hope so. With the departure of Alan Ball, perhaps this year will mark a change in direction back to the kind of storylines that don’t threaten the world every year. At its heart, the show is supposed to be about Sookie Stackhouse, small town waitress and telepath. Giving her fairy-blast powers isn’t the point. The point of the novel series was that one resourceful woman in the right place at the right time could make a difference even in the lives of creatures far more powerful than she. I’d like to see more of that. I’d like to see Sookie helping people with relatively ordinary problems. Sookie isn’t Buffy Summers, she doesn’t need to avert an Apocalypse every year! Part of the appeal of being on HBO is that the show has the freedom to be unconventional; show us a little more of the ordinary so that the extraordinary can stand out!
My question is; to what extent are these issues already present in the books or not?
Sadly, none of these issues are present in the novels. All of these issues are large departures that the show has taken from the source material. Personally, I think that that’s where a lot of the problems stem from.
True Blood is now only slightly more related to the Sookie Stackhouse novels than, say, Underworld… >=^)
I have to admit, I haven’t been fully committed to the series since the end of the second season, for all the reasons you’ve expressed. I didn’t like the Sookie books but season one was fangtastic! Season two was okay but season three was the beginning of their undoing! Too much trying to ‘surprise’ us, creation of the spectacular and ‘let’s mystify the audience’. Like you said, let’s get back to vampires and Sookie. There’s so much that can be done just there and not go all cuckoo on us!
“Oh, sweet Cthulu, the FAIRIES!!” i laughed so hardwhen i read this part i agree with pretty much everything you said
Thanks, Greg! You really can’t go wrong invoking The Old Ones. ;)
I used to love the show and even the idea of Lilith BUT the idead that Lilith would kill her own children? Really? WTF and now in the trailer with “God” trying to get rid of Vampires? Really! I used to love True Blood with a passion but now its gone back to old school Vampires are bad – Humans are good; Thats like saying wolves are bad for eating cute bunnies – Really? WTF! I may give them one more season but if it gets any worse I just don’t know?
Tell you what, I have not seen the latest True Blood. But fans of the books are screaming bloody murder and hatred across the web at the horrible way she ended the series. The asshole reviews are all leaking the end of the book in nasty spoilers. Very, Very harsh. She’d averaging 2.5 stars on Dead Ever After.
If that is the fate of the storyline in the books, I can’t help but wonder what will happen to True Blood.
Its a unique scenario, where a phenomenally popular series of books goes to film, and is loved by all, and then the series ends, and is hated by all for its ending. And the film version is, as of yet, unfinished, but potentially doomed by Charlaine Harris, for having written such an EFFED UP ending.
I really wanted to read this series to its end. I have read upwards of 8-9 books. Not so sure about that now.
I remember Anne Rice fans bitching about the movies but I absolutely loved the movies and the show isn’t called “The Southern Vampire Mysteries” its called True Blood and I never let the books ruin a good show for me I take the show for what its worth until the show itself bothers me too much which it is getting close to that point lately (I also really didn’t like season 3 but I liked most of 4 till the end with Lilith killing off her Children)…
I really don’t expect the show to be completely faithful to the novels, which became apparent after the first season, which is why I didn’t complain about how far the series has strayed. Sure, let it be its own story. What annoys me is when they start contradicting the mythology of the show that they established. All this Lilith and “Sanguinista” crap was never mentioned or hinted at before Season 4 and it felt really shoe-horned in to me.
Keep the comments coming, though!
I know some people who are still big fans of the show, but none of them have read the Charlaine Harris novels (bang head here). Pretty much Eric fans and fang-bangers left now… >=^)
I don’t bang any fangs lol; or think any of the characters are hot (maybe Jessica but that is it). The story used to be good but its all messed up now – No one except people who know me will understand will understand where I am coming from. I am not you average fiction fan…