‘True Blood’ Season 6 Premiere Review – Same Ole, Same Ole

Published 1 year ago by

true blood season 6 premiere bill True Blood Season 6 Premiere Review   Same Ole, Same Ole

If at any point you thought the complicated, chaotic tales of Bon Temps would slow down as the show enters its sixth year on the air, the True Blood season 6 premiere, ‘Who Are You, Really?’ – by longtime series writer Raelle Tucker – reminds you that HBO’s famous marketing tagline of “Waiting Sucks” is nothing compared to what it should be: Remembering Sucks.

The title slyly hints at what the intent of this episode is – to find who or what Bill (Stephen Moyer) is now – but the actual story and its focus is, as one now expects from this series, unnecessarily complex and disorganized, so much so that the question it’s looking to answer is once again muddied by the relentless, unforgiving nature of the numerous storylines that True Blood attempts (and mostly fails) to juggle simultaneously. But even though the mess of plots and subplots continuously to feel unnecessary, as if it’s a weakness of the series, there’s something about this amalgamation which tempts you to tune in, year after year, episode after episode – and season 6 is no different.

The premiere picks up where the True Blood season 5 finale left off, with Sookie (Anna Paquin) and company escaping from the Vampire Authority as Billith was born from blood. This, itself, is a bit of a conundrum for those tuning in, as you’re required to piece together fragmented memories from over a year ago in order to understand what’s going on. This has largely been the case since True Blood began, but since season 5 and season 6 storylines are essentially one, being able to remember everything from last season is now a bit of an unfortunate necessity. And though the series has been on the air for six years now, it seems as if you need to continuously remind yourself that this show is, for all intents and purposes, a vampiric soap opera, as season 1 was the only time the series could have been considered a streamlined drama.

true blood season 6 sookie1 True Blood Season 6 Premiere Review   Same Ole, Same Ole

Still, True Blood keeps pushing forward, moving more and more away from the source material, into whatever theoretically logical storyline can hopefully encase its enormous – and ever-growing – cast of characters. Now it’s time to witness the return of Warlow (canonically speaking); the shortage of Tru Blood; the reign (or lack thereof) of Billith; humanity’s turn on vampire allegiances; Andy Bellefleur’s (Chris Bauer) rapidly growing fairy children; and Sam Merlot’s (Sam Trammell) single father woes – and that’s just in the premiere episode, where no story really feels fully serviced.

But with longtime series scribe Brian Buckner taking over as showrunner for season 6, and Raelle Tucker, who penned the terrific season 1 finale, taking on the first episode of the season, there’s a real reason to be intrigued and excited about what the premiere, as well as the season, has in store for its characters. Such encouraging and hopeful feelings are quickly squashed, though, as True Blood finally reveals itself for what it is: a self-working machine, where writers and directors are really only there to continue progressing what’s already been established. Typically, what’s already been established would be series formatting, character personalities, visual styles, etc. But in the case of True Blood, what’s already been established is its proverbial cornucopia of characters stories, with an open-ended seasonal storyline to boot.

Now that’s not to say that what True Blood currently is, in and of itself, is a bad thing, but it does limit the avenues that creative minds, like Tucker, are able to take with their given episodes. Additionally, with the episode count being cut from 12 episodes to 10, the inherent structure in which Tucker, as well as every other writer on the show, are typically used to have shifted, so there is a 2-episode storytelling gap that needs to be filled, even if many believe there’s already too much storytelling going on already.

true blood season 6 premiere True Blood Season 6 Premiere Review   Same Ole, Same Ole

What we’re left with, essentially, is a “ball” that’s been rolling for quite some time, and the only thing Tucker can do is maintain the series with the season 6 premiere – but, again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As True Blood has aged, it’s the supplemental characters, like Eric (Alexander Skarsgård), Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) and, yes, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), that have risen to the top, as their characters have the weight and intensity to break through the melodrama of its main characters, to consistently elevate each scene beyond its operatic structure. But at the same time, characters like Terry have, sadly, been pushed aside and are now used as a comic relief or, like with Alcide, are given completely unenticing storylines to follow.

At six years of age, True Blood has already defined itself as a series, so any complaints of its complicated, disorganized structure are a bit of a moot point, and there’s no real opportunity for anyone – even the showrunner – to change that. And it shouldn’t change, really.

Because no matter how numerous or ridiculous the storylines, no matter how operatic the series itself is, there’s an undeniable allure to its madness which leads you to continue tuning in. There’s a reason why soap operas were so successful on television for so long, and True Blood has, for better or worse, successfully made use of such elements. Will this be one of the best seasons of television you’ve seen? Not likely. But you’ve got to give credit to a series that can get you to watch it on its terms where even if, at times, you’re frustrated, you’ll tune in next week.

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True Blood returns next Sunday with “The Sun” @9pm on HBO.

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  1. Why does everybody keep forgetting to mention the fact that Brian Buckner was not the showrunner for the whole season? The first few episodes, this one obviously included, were helmed by Mark Hudis, a writer who joined during the fourth season. He was abruptly let go for unknown reasons and Buckner replaced him. I’m curious as to why a show which according to you, keeps doing the same thing over and over, would let him go before the season is finished? As to what you said above, I mostly agree, though I think it felt a little more focused than average post season 2 episode.

    • Honestly, he probably wasn’t working out. True Blood has a clear structure that is probably HELL for any showrunner to deal with. Can you imagine the number of cards they probably have on the wall as they try to plan out the season storyline?

      :-O

      • True, it’s possible Mark Hudis just got frustrated and quit on his own. But if he didn’t, I’m still confused why he was let go. I say that because it seems the writers don’t really care if the show is good or not, they just throw whatever they can at the wall. Why would there suddenly be problems with Mark if he was just doing the same thing Alan Ball has been doing? The difference between Mark and Brian is that Brian has been with the show since the beginning, while Mark joined during the fourth season, which in my opinion was the worst. I’m even more puzzled why Alan would choose him to be his successor and not one of the original writers to begin with.

        • Ball and Hurdis first worked together on Cybil back in the 90′s, so they both know each other pretty well and have grown in the business together, which is probably why Hurdis had first go at it. Plus, Hurdis had Nurse Jackie under his belt.

  2. Geez…this show is getting too goofy. I don’t even care about these characters anymore. I’ve been fast forwarding through most of these scenes. Yawn. I think the last season killed this show for me. Oh well.

    • Well if you don’t care about ANY of the characters then why the hell would you even bother?

      • Maybe he’s hopeful that the show will improve its writing?

        I mean, I felt the same about Hannibal in episode 1, tuned in the next week anyway and loved the show and am now a day before episode 7 airs and very much looking forward to how it plays out.

        As for True Blood….the show looked goofy and lame from the very beginning anyway so I’ve never bothered to watch.

        • Sorry, she.

          Apologies Traci.

          • Dazz, how can you justify commenting on a show you’ve never watched?

          • No worries. Uh Roman…I said ‘I don’t care about these characters ANYMORE’…meaning I did at one point. How can I form an opinion without watching the show first?

      • Season 5 was the show killer for me. I was happy up until the first episode of S5. They strayed so very far from the books, I was so disappointed in that entire season. Watching last nights episode it seems they’re going to be following in the footsteps of major suckage.

  3. I’m hopeful the season will get back to its original campy roots. The show and its story lines were over the top (OTT) in seasons 1 and part of season 2 and fared well when it poked fun at its own expense for being exactly that – OTT. Last night in the season premier, I saw glimpses of that behavior once again and I’d love to see more. The shows its best when it doesn’t take itself so seriously.

    • Campy roots? The roots of the show were far fetched but the story was at least compelling because there were dramatic elements at play. I thought the first season and to some small degree the second season were successful because the show took itself seriously enough to at least give the audience some stake in what happenned to the characters. I have taken a peak at True Blood here and there after it officially went off the rail about midway through season 3 and what is left is a really bizarre, Saturday Night Live send up of its self. You want to talk about Campy. “Out there” is a good thing, so misguided in both plot and character that the audience is kind of compelled to laugh throughout an episode of a show that is not intentionally a comedy is bad. True Blood should get off the air and duck for cover as quickly as possible. That is one bad TV show.

      • You and I disagree, John. I think many of the episodes are comedy laden hence the ‘campy-ness’ I referenced. It could be I find humor in places others don’t. *shrug*

    • My feelings exactly. People complain that its so cheesy and they don’t realize that its intentional. Its charmingly campy and over the top. At least it was until the end of season 2. I’m loyal to the show, hoping that it will improve.

  4. Huge disappointment! Costumes, makeup, weird camera work, incessant fleeings do not compensate for the lack of good storytelling. (Have you ever noticed how every chase scene in every movie is just like all the other chase scenes you’ve ever seen? Such scenes do not substitute for storytelling.)

    I suppose the inane pre-show turned me off to what was to follow. A group of junior high students could have done it better. Good behind-the-scenes are done all the time, and are interesting, as those done for Torchwood, Tudors, etc.

    Episode 1, 2013, starts with unending confusion. A good storyteller would have reoriented the audience into who the people are and their relationships. Ten minutes in, we have what is supposed to be a moving scene with some woman with blood coming from her mouth dying, and a man crouched over her distraught at his loss: Click! Change channels!

    A good storyteller would have re-oriented the audience so that we remembered/cared. It has been 9 months since we dwelt with these people, fictional people that we don’t have back-and-forth relationships with. I don’t remember the relationships of people I’ve met in person 9 months ago without some prompting, “And you remember my wife, Cloe, the sculptor, don’t you?”

    Cinematic pyrotechnics do not substitute for storytelling. I’ve watched 5 previous seasons. I don’t think I’ll watch season 6.

    • I completely disagree with you. I felt this episode was much better than I had anticipated, given that the 5th season was a bit whacky. Yes it’s been 9 months, but is your memory really that bad that you can’t recall who the characters are and what their underlying stories were? If you’ve been watching since the beginning, you should be able to piece together everything. I have a feeling you weren’t tuned in fully last season, so maybe you were watching the episodes but multitasking? Maybe it’s just me. I guess I just feel that the opening sequence which shows clips from the season prior should give most people a good idea of what the overall premise was. A good memory is a blessing!

    • There was a recap of the previous season just before the episode started for those who needed their memories refreshed. Also if you don’t remember who the characters are and how they are connected, how do you watch the show at all? Frankly, this show is not for the casual viewer. The die-hard fans re-watch and discuss the show over the hiatus, so we know who everyone is and where everyone’s freckles are. Granted the scene with Luna dying may have been more impactful, but one of True Blood’s trademarks is that the show doesn’t glamorize or dramatize death. Death just happens. It’s quick, and it’s not pretty. There are no big Shakespearean monologues. The characters deal and move on. Sam and Emma have to move on without Luna. That’s all.

      • Maybe later Season 6 episodes will deal more with Luna’s death, a few character deaths have been dealt with over time (Eggs, Talbot, Jesus).

    • I agree with you Vann. I remember the characters, but exposition is a tool that if used appropriately can not only jog the viewer’s memories after a long hiatus, but can also help further drive the plot. Too bad the writers of this show don’t seem to know that. Besides, even if they had reintroduced the characters, the writing on this show is too terrible to make it anything that what it is currently which is just awful.

      • *other than what it is

  5. Over the past few seasons I’ve just accepted True Blood for what it is and how good it can be.
    It’s a soap opera that at it’s best is a 7 out of 10 but it’s normally a 5 or 6.
    I used to wish that the writers would find a way to get these stories under control but after the past few seasons it’s obvious it’s not going to happen. So that’s why I’ll just sit back and laugh and hope that the show gets a proper ending.

    • It does suck though that all you can do is laugh to get through it. Season 1 of True Blood was not only watchable but very compelling, reaching heights of captivating sporatically through the middle of season two. When I watch it I am able to “enjoy” it for what it is but the story of True Blood is one of the biggest “could have beens” in television history. The writers and producers have managed to stay overly true and not true enough to the source material that they have completely lost track of the narrative. I think this will be the last season even if there is not a proper, planned ending. To think that this show was not only nominated for, but one Emmys and Golden Globes earlier in its run is now literally unbelievable.

      Well, at least the title sequence is still good, even if it now has nothing to do with the show.

      • I mean “won.”

      • I hate seeing that decomposing fox in the opening credits.

        • But that was the show. There was a certain grit to the show durings its early run. At times it was difficult to watch, but you HAD to keep watching. Now it is very easy to watch and you just want it to end.

          • There’s only 2 opening sequences that I will always watch even if I recorded the episode or if I’m watching OnDemand…
            1. Dexter
            2. True Blood
            Not only are they creative and well done but they also help get me in the right mindset for each episode.

            • Top five title sequences:

              1. Game of Thrones
              2. American Horror Story – Season One
              3. True Blood
              4. Nip Tuck
              5. House (I know, the show was kind of lame, the opening title was cool)

              I am not a Dexter guy, but my wife is, I will watch the opening sequence with her next time it is on.

              • Good call on American Horror Story season 1. I forgot about that because they changed it for season 2…
                I know of going to be in the minority for this one but I have to admit I’m not a fan of the opening for Game of Thrones.
                It’s probably because I’d love to have that 2 minutes extra in the episodes. ;)

                • Thank u Kevin! I think the opening sequence of Game Of Thrones is too bloody long! I download now so, I just fast-forward it

              • Check out The Walking Dead’s theme as well. Pretty brilliant.
                I enjoy Mad Men’s opening theme as well.

  6. It’s funny because True Blood’s weakness is HBO’s other main Show Game of Thrones strength, the fact that it is afraid to do away with characters (either popular or unpopular) for the betterment of the entire show.
    To be fair GoT’s decision to off characters is made for them by GRRM, but what seems to happen is the old Showbiz adage of “keep them wanting more”, instead what True blood does is keep a character on the screen to doing annoying story lines that may or may not tie in to the main story arc just to keep them around because some of the fans love the character.
    They should have either killed or regulated to guest appearances so many characters. Sam, Alcide, Terry and Andy to just name a few.

    • Undoubtedly! Although I haven’t read the books, a friend has so I’ve learned characters who have major plot lines on the show were often small characters or were killed off in the books. The Producers/Writers definitely watch/listen to reactions and comments from the fans, molding the characters based on the feedback.

    • @ Justin
      I agree.
      With GoT there’s a give and take to it. They may introduce more characters than they kill off but it helps balance things out.
      With True Blood only the bad guy/girl dies and that seems rare.
      I’m not saying they should have to kill Sookie, Bill, Jason or Eric but everyone else IMO is expendable.
      SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
      *
      *
      *
      Yeah, Sams girl died last night (I can’t even remember her name) but who really cared? I’m willing that if they’re being honest, no one did.

  7. Im glad Russell Edgington beated out Maryann as best villain between the two of them.

    I enjoyed the premire of the 6th season, espeally before the theme started. Bilith was badder than Maryanne,Russell,Eric,etc. all combined & I hoped he’s stay that way for couple more episodes by how savage he was. But is only the beginning as so far’s he has no limits. Not even Russell would be a match for him imo if he was still alive.

    I felt the episode had little time to go into everything thoughly after what happed last season that very little time was spent was most of the cast except the vampires. Im sure it picks up, I hope with vampires, being hunted down aswell as other supes. 1 episode down,9 to go to get everything run down with this season. It looked as if Bilith sees the future of some of the vampires being pain or demise.

  8. I just wanna know where that Beach is in New Orleans, the one with the Lifeguard station and the waves? I live here and I’d love to see it..

    Also, the Governor mistakingly said “we only drink Lipton tea”. Not true – we drink “Luzianne”.

    • It’s possible they were somewhere else, particularly when you factor in Sookie got Jess to Bill, staked Bill, got dismissed by Jess, Eric walked Sookie home, signed a blood deed giving her the house, they bid each other adieu all the while Jason was in the car traveling with the possible Warlow. I mean, seriously! Why was Sookie able to do all that while Jason was trying to get home?

  9. I’d just like to point out that I don’t think the person in the car was supposed to be Warlow. I think it was Niall, Sookie’s (great?)grandfather, the fairy.
    The premiere wasn’t all that bad, but I was rolling my eyes. I’m glad they’ve distanced from the books, because they got pretty awful.
    I just hate Bill’s character so much, I wish he’d be done away with, instead of turning out to be this big bad that might not be a big-bad, or might redeem himself. I don’t understand how there can be possibly any redemption for him, even in death.

    • At least you know the governor isn’t a “big bag” – because HE SAID SO. What was up with that?

  10. I once enjoyed True Blood, but after finially jumping on the band wagon of some awesome shows such as Game of thrones and breaking bad,I have to say that True Blood is horrible. Is it just me or is the acting what turns this potentially awesome show (the books are pretty good) into a B-grade soapy only on par with Passions? I cant belive I was excited for the shows return. And seriously, the whole wolf threesome? Tara & Pam? Jason seeing dead people? Andy and his rapidly aging offfspring? Its all completely insane. The only bit I enjoyed last night was the 5 minutes we got to see Lafayette. Love that guy!

  11. Thank u Kevin! I think the opening sequence of Game Of Thrones is too bloody long! I download now so, I just fast-forward it

  12. How can people complain that its insane? It’s a show about fairies vamps wolves and shape shifters of course it’s going to be insane! There are no boundaries in this show. Season one was by far the best and its been falling off each season. I thought this first episode was pretty good much better than I expected. To me the most intriguing story is warlow. I want to know more about him and that’s the main reason ill continue to watch.

    • That is the problem. For a show about faries, vampires, and wolves to be intriguing, there has to be a human element to contrast it to. There has to be a core reality in which the other kinds of beings are trying to adapt, rebel against, or simply live amongst or else the show has no center. It is the same reason why Pixar cartoons fair much better when the animated beings are contrasted with a human element, and why films such as Cars fall flat in comparison. Also, look at how sparsly Game of Thrones uses magic and other purely fantasy elements. These elements lose their impact entirely if they are no consequence. Sorry, but having Andy and the random Merlotte patron does not cut it. If everybody has powers nobody does. And consequently nobody cares.

  13. Things about True Blood I’m not a fan of.

    The flying vampires irritate me now.
    Casting people who age badly to play vampires is not a great move.
    Godric became annoying with his flapping lit-up robe, his only great scene was his first scene.
    Jason phases in and out of pointlessness, I believe he is now at a new uncharted level of pointless.
    Werepanthers were unbelievably crap.
    The prospect and possibility of Bill dying was important – fans could at least dream of him one day being removed from the show, somehow… Now Bill is more powerful, and harder to kill, which is an absolute travesty.
    Eric over-acts that whole fang flicking thing.
    It’s lost that raw red-neck edge.
    The shows introduction is now superior to the content of the show itself.

    Pam truly is the best part of this show.
    Pam should become the true villain now, her mission statement should be ‘Take True Blood off Air’.. Systematically hunting down and destroying every single character in the True Blood show. And while no character in the show itself would know what that meant or she would do such a thing, at least the viewers would know. She should kill Sookie last.
    I vote Pam for final showdown.

  14. Alternatively, make Pam a talk show host to replace Nan Flanagan as the on-TV vampire who speaks to the people. (Steve Newlin needs to go)

  15. its more ‘buffy’ then anything else. the first seasons were so compelling. watching its sad to say but its hard to see why.

    • This show is absolutely nothing like Buffy at all!

    • I think Buffy had a lot more storyline quality to it than TrueBlood, and better character development, and more consistent character relationships.

      If anything I fear Trueblood may be heading down the same road that Heroes did (starting out as something special, then turning into an insane pile of crap). Something like that.

      I am not ruling it out just yet though, maybe they can fix it…

    • No. It is nothing like Buffy. If it were, I would be more compelled to continue watching it. Maybe Joss whedon should help those poor writers out, which is an ironic statement since Charlaine Harris did a pretty good job of writing the books this increasingly terrible show is based on. Surprisingly they have used little of the source material which might explain why the show is so disconnected and all over the place and just in general terrible now.

  16. Well, other than the Maryann silliness a couple seasons ago, I’m still enjoying this show. Laughing at Arlene, attractive half-naked people gettin it on, gore, quirkiness, and sometimes acting that shows surprising depth… more to offer than a lot of tv shows out there. Simplify a bit more maybe to the main characters and it will be close to perfect, for me. (Ok, until the vampire characters appear to age!)

  17. Perhaps the fact that I started as a huge fan of the books close to a decade ago has played a hand in my steady decline of enjoyment in this show. I initially got over the fact that the show was going to be completely different than the books and actually let myself begin to relax into the natural cadence the first 2 or 3 seasons had, but this show has gone on for about 2 seasons too long now. The writers are all over the place which seems unacceptable since there is so much source material that clearly is good writing since they decided to make a freaking show from it! Billith?! What. The. Phuck? The first episode of this season drove the nail in the coffin for me. It broke out if the proverbial gates with all the zeal and excitement of a wet dish rag. No build. No structure. Boring cinematography and even more boring dialogue. Just dry as a piece of toast. Oh well. I still have Mad Men.

  18. i agree that the elongated story arc is leaning towards lazy and unnecessary suspense, but I think that the one-show-one-plot format is so common today and not always better. Those are short-stories, True Blood seasons are more like a short novel. Like you said, previous seasons didn’t require nearly as much catch-up as between 5 and 6. And they’re the least like the books. I can see why the southern vampire series was popular (I read them years after I started watching True Blood), maybe its just the format and target audience, but the show is more sophisticated. I suppose it meets certain qualifications for a soap opera; but the fantasy element and those metaphysical implications- if you pay attention to them- are on a different level than daytime housewife television. Besides those moments you are occupied by considering the rules of this new magical realm help carry over that fantasy novel essence.

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