The countdown is on for the final series of HBO vampire frolic True Blood. Since first hitting our screens in 2008, True Blood has provided us older kids with a vampire series that’s a bit more raunch and a bit less…Twilight? But this year, it’s all coming to a bitter, bloody end.
Well, we don’t know about bitter, but we’re guessing there’ll be a fair amount of blood involved. By August 2014 Sookie Stackhouse will have served her final hamburger and shake; Bill will have brooded his last brood; and Eric will never need his roots doing again.
Stop reading now if you want to steer clear of #spoilers.
«Graphically sexy and scary, and often wildly funny, True Blood turns Charlaine Harris’ rollicking mystery novels into a broadly entertaining, deliciously twisted slice of modern Southern Gothic.» Source
I stand by the latter. Often regarded as «vampire porn», the first seasons focused not only romance, sex and gore but also on the segregation experienced between humans and vampires who had recently «come out of the closet» – something that was thought to be a parallel of the troubles experienced by black and gay communities. Interestingly, other issues regularly addressing race, class and social background were also raised. And we’re sure that being set in the notoriously religious «dirty south» made those issues all the more pertinent.
True Blood began season 1 with over 1 million viewers per episode, a number that grew to a steady 4-5 million during seasons 2-5. A high of 5.53 million viewers watched episode 4×09 «Let’s Get Out of Here» which saw Marnie and Spanish witch Antonia trapping Eric under their spell. It was during season 5, and even moreso in season 6, when ratings took a turn for the worst. The season 6 finale only raked in 4.1 million viewers – that’s a drop of 0.9 million since the finale of season 5.
One of the main reasons for the demise of the series seems to be that it just «ran out of steam». Like the series, the books were also short on engaging material towards the end. As an avid reader of fantasy-SciFi novels, it didn’t take me long to whizz through the first 6 or 7 books before eventually losing interest in Sookie’s supernatural antics. Seasons 1 through 4 (Helloooo Naked Memory Loss Eric!) followed the books pretty closely, from the initial meeting of Bill and Sookie in Merlotte’s to the siege at The Fellowship of the Sun to the werewolves’ arrival.
But after that, things kind of turned a bit messy…and complicated. Season 6 saw several individual story arcs unravelling at the same time: An alternate fairy dimension? The vampire authority? The religious Book of Vampyr? Bill being possessed by prehistoric god Lilith and thinking he was the second coming of Christ, literally? And how many vampires are running around infected with the artificially produced «Hep V» virus?
Perhaps if Alan Ball and co had stuck more religiously to the plots in the books and not gone all Billith on our asses, there may have been more hope of securing True Blood for more seasons.
But there’s no denying that it’s been good while it lasted. The adaptation of Charlaine Harris’ series has given us murder, excitement, satire, mystery, a whole host of supernatural characters such as -aside from the obvious- witches, fairies and maenads (most with strangely alluring southern drawwwls), and enough dreamy sex scenes to last an eternity. Oh, and let’s not forget a new generation of baby girls named Sookie.
Also worthy of praise is the series’ superbly eerie title sequence and great marketing campaigns in the run up to new seasons.
In preparation for season 7, here are a few things to bear in mind and get you up to speed again (don’t forget about the 6 month leap in time!):
- Big Bad Warlow has made his exit and left the fairies to happily frolic in Faery once more.
- Bill has finally realized that he’s not the second coming of Christ, which means we will never have to see Lilith’s biblical, bleeding bush again.
- Sookie is dating werewolf Alcide.
- Aside from being a true defender of double denim, Sam Merlotte is now also the mayor of Bon Temps. Girlfriend Nicole is up the duff.
- Jason is Violet’s. In the sense of «you are mine».
- Pam – AWOL
- Jessica is all loved up with fellow ex-inmate James – another hottie to add to the ranks!
- Tara’s mum Lettie May begged her for forgiveness and allowed Tara to feed from her… Something which sparked many questions about whether or not Lettie May had intentionally infected Tara with Hep V.
- Viking hunk Eric was last seen sunbathing naked atop a Swedish mountain after getting his fill of fairy blood. As season 6 ended, he burst into flames as the fairy blood’s qualities started to wear off. The audience saw his flaming dong.
Maybe we can also peg the untimely demise of True Blood on today’s other superstars of television – Khaleesi, Detective Rust, I’m looking at you. It seems like HBO have a true knack for choosing the next big hit of binge-watch TV. And, of course, we cannot recognise the greatness that is HBO without giving a nod to The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Wire and the magnificent The Sopranos. Bill, Sookie, Eric; sadly, y’all have been outdone. Or out-rated.
Say goodbye to True Blood and catch season 7 on HBO from June 22nd. Or just stream it illegally like every other bugger does.
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