Saturday, July 14, 2012

True Blood on HBO

True Blood has jumped the shark.  It’s the fifth season in the fictional town of Bon Temps Louisiana, and the show is running out of stories to tell.

The producers of True Blood reached in the grab bag of horrors and gave us every last one that the genre has produced—Every supernatural creature you have ever heard of and a few that you probably haven’t.

We have vampires, of course, but also werewolves, panther people, witches, fairies, voodoo practitioners, bruja (Mexican witches) maenads, and shape-shifters.  We’ve had story lines that involved spirit possession, necromancy, and ghost communication.

This season we have “ifriti” a smoke monster, bent on revenge for murders of Iraqi civilians committed by a couple of the residents of Bon Temps during the Iraq War. This monster consumes with fire.

And the human residents of Bon Temps are often a little bit monstrous themselves.

Sookie Stackhouse is the main character. In season one, she is a na├»ve young woman with a strange power—she can hear the thoughts of other people.  (It is later revealed that Sookie can do this because she is half fairy.  By the way, we think of fairies as harmless little creatures like--Tinkle Bell--, but the Bon Temps line of fairies can be as evil as any of the monsters.)

The reason I say that the show has jumped the shark is that the nature of the stories has changed.  It used to be about Sookie Stackhouse and her amiable (if somewhat oversexed brother), her best friend Tara, a young woman trying to overcome a childhood of neglect and abuse, and Sookie’s friend (and Tara’s cousin) Lafayette a gay, druggie, good-hearted cook at Merlotte’s, the local bar where Sookie works as a waitress. 

The stories were about love (Sookie falls for the “good” vampire, Bill), friendship, and overcoming obstacles.  Supernatural havoc abounded, but the show was about the relationships.  Now the show seems to be all about quick cuts from scene to scene and how much blood and gore can be packed into the hour.

Season Five begins with Tara being “turned” (made into a vampire) and pretty much going berserk. (If you woke up one day and found out that you were a vampire, wouldn’t you go berserk?) Sookie is responsible for her friend getting turned. Sweet Sookie is no longer all that sweet, and certainly not innocent any more.

Sookie dropped Bill as her lover and took up with Eric, a Norse god, if I ever saw one.  He was a fierce, icy, don’t mess-with-me vampire with “the hots” for Sookie.  Sookie hates him until she doesn’t.  A witch’s spell turns Eric wimpy, and that is when Sookie dumps Bill and takes up with him.  Eric is back to his former self now, and he’s been dumped.  Sookie is now getting cozy with Alcide, a werewolf.
Alcide is tall, dark, strong, and sexy, exactly what a man who is part wolf should be. If I still cared about what Sookie does, I’d be on “Team Alcide”, but since I don’t, I’ll just imagine that Alcide wants me. 

I’m going to stop here and pick it up again next week after I watch tomorrow’s new episode. Yes, I’m still watching.  I’ve committed four years to show; my interest is still strong enough to keep me tuning in. It’s just that instead of identifying with the characters, I’m more detached now.