Monday, 27 August 2012

TV Review: True Blood Season 5 Episode 11 'Sunset'

As this season of True Blood continues on its disappointing and lackluster way it delivers this, yet another episode that proves how far the show has fallen.

As the authority struggle to prevent things from spinning out of control Bill continues to be haunted by apparitions of Lilith who tells him that he is her chosen one. Meanwhile in Bon Temps Sookie and Jason search for answers concerning the death of their parents.

The disjointed plot of this season continues to spiral wherever it feels like as the story still does not possess any coherency over the course of the season; instead it is as if the writers are almost starting from scratch every week with their plotlines and disregarding points they have previously made. It’s impossible to talk about the current state of ‘True Blood’ without addressing its past seasons, the degradation in quality has been astounding and in particular I’ve noticed that the dialogue has been dreadful this season, certainly much more than the previously disappointing fourth season. The writers force some genuinely talented actors to deliver lines that are so cringe worthy that you can almost see the disgust on the face of the actor, lines such as these would have never been present during the show’s earlier and marginally better written years.

Luckily for ‘True blood’ however is that the acting talent that gave it a good name is still here. Denis O’Hare who has returned to the show in the role of the ancient and deadly vampire Russell Edgington delivers an electric performance that places the audience’s focus solely on him anytime he is onscreen. O’Hare who was shockingly passed over for an Emmy nomination during his last turn on the show will hopefully receive some recognition for his brilliant work on this show this year. Another acting highlight who continues to prove a capable lead character is Stephen Moyer as the melancholic Bill Compton, whilst I much prefer how Bill’s character behaved in the earlier seasons I definitely still appreciate Moyer’s great portrayal of the vampire, this episode in particular features Moyer’s greatest work of the season thus far.

Moyer is still doing a great job as Bill Compton.

The main problem with ‘True Blood’ today is that at its heart it is essentially a soap opera, while it could be argued that this was always the case for the show I would point out that never in the first 3 seasons of the show did such poor writing and soap opera-like behaviour feature near as often. As with a soap opera, the writing of ‘True Blood’ has become very cheesy and the storylines more and more outlandish, even in a supernatural drama setting. The reason such stale writing features on soap operas however is due to the sheer frequency of episode production, writers do not have time to polish a script or work with an actor on a role as much as they would want to since time is a huge factor, ‘True Blood’ however airs 1 season of 12 episodes per year thus granting it a huge amount of time for everything to be as good as the writers can make it, since there is proof of how capable the writers are of delivering a great show the only answer as to the current quality of the show has to unfortunately be that they simply took their eye off the ball. And although this episode was certainly not one of the worst of the season, it still remains a huge disappointment.

A huge problem with the show, at least in my opinion, is how scared it is to take risks. For a show that pushed a lot of boundaries during its time it definitely seems frightened about potentially angering its fans. This means that any time it seems as if a character will be killed off, for example with Lafayette at the end of the first season or Tara at the end of the fourth, the show will pull a solution out of the ether that allows the character to live. Similarly the show seems to want to appeal to EVERY whim its fans have, it does this by giving almost every cast member their own story per season. The result of this is that the audience is forced to follow a disastrous amount of plotlines, less than half of which are actually interesting, and as a result of the presence of additional plots, the interesting stories are given less time to flesh out.

Like that guy who shows up in a few scenes? Now he has his own plot line!

The saddest thing about the state of ‘True Blood’ today is the fact of just how good it used to be. When it started the show possessed it’s own unique mystique, great intelligence and pushed a lot of boundaries. It was a type of show that had never before been seen on television, it had some of the best writing and talented actors around who all came together to deliver something the whole crew could be proud of. Yet now that the show is more popular than it ever has been it seems more like an imitation of what it used to be, a ‘True Blood’ tribute show.

‘True Blood’ is the prime example of how a show can be corrupted by its own success, it’s such a shame that I have to say this since I've always been this show's biggest advocate but ‘True Blood’ sadly is not worth watching.

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