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!