BLU-RAY REVIEW: True Blood Season 2
Sookie, Bill and the True Blood crew return in hi def...
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Thanks to Alan Ball, writer of the Academy Award-winning film American Beauty and creator of another HBO fan-favorite, Six Feet Under, True Blood has become a sensation. One of the best shows on television today and (unfortunately) available for viewing only on HBO or HBO On Demand, True Blood tells the story of Miss Sookie Stackhouse, her vampire lover Bill Compton, and other miscellaneous characters and creatures from Bon Temps, Louisiana. With a third season starting in a little over 2 weeks (June 13, set your DVR!), HBO has (finally) released the second season of True Blood to DVD and Blu-ray home video.
With an amazing cast of characters, brilliant writing, interesting relationships, and plenty of romance, action and drama, there's little here to dislike. In fact, while maybe not as entertaining as the first season, this second season of True Blood is better than darn near anything else on television today (save maybe Showtime's Dexter and FX's Justified and Sons of Anarchy).
This review won't remain spoiler free (you've been warned!).
Like the first season, this second season continues to deal with issues of trust, love, and loyalty as well as new issues including tolerance and faith. After what happened in the first season, this second season finds Bill and Sookie's relationship developing quickly, but somewhat strained by Bill's new sire Jessica. Likewise, the emergence of one of Sam's old acquaintances - Maryann Forrester - becomes the backdrop for a season-long plot line that's both sexually explicit, gory and a bit campy. Most interesting (to me) was the kidnapping of Eric's 2,000 year-old maker by a vampire-hate group and religious organization, the Fellowship of the Sun...who just so happen to have recruited Jason Stackhouse, Sookie's brother, to be one of their "warriors."
Loyalties are tested, trust is broken, friendships tested, blood drawn (and drunk) and, of course, people - and vampires - die. What's most interesting about True Blood isn't the gratuitous sex and violence, but the relationships between these incredibly deep characters who, thanks to the show's writers, are truly fleshed out to seem as real as can be. While die-hard fans of the original book series might disagree (as much of the original storyline has been changed), the show does a great job of flowing from one episode to another as well as continuing to develop secondary characters into top-rate interesting aspects of interest.
As for special features, the 5-disc blu-ray set includes few, though it does include a number of audio commentaries, Picture-in-Picture bonues, and more. The most interesting of these is no doubt the Enhanced Viewing Experience, which includes facts about the show's characters, locales, and more as well as the more interesting "Character Perspectives," which showcase specific characters talking about themselves; "Flashbacks" to specific events in season one; "Flash Forward" to plot details, and the somewhat entertaining "Pro and Anti-Vampire News Feeds."
Other special features includes a number of in-character shorts, including a "Fellowship of the Sun: Reflections of Light" featurette which features snippets like "Detoxify Your Marriage" and "Do You Want to Live Forever?" hosted by show characters Reverend Steve Newlin and his wife Sarah. Likewise, there are a number of faux news reports available entitled "The Vampire Report: Special Edition" which gives fans a chance to see what's going on in the news world of True Blood.
Considering both the video and audio on this blu-ray set are top-notch, there's no better True Blood home viewing experiance than this. The colors are bright, clear, and crisp and the sound is crystal clear and - literally - music to one's ears thanks to a near-perfect DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.
Overall, if you're a fan of the show and have blu-ray, pick this up tomorrow. If you're not a fan of the show and have yet to check it out, pick up season one and give it a chance. Dramatic, powerful, well-written, and extremely well acted, it doesn't get any better than True Blood and truly this is a show that must be watched to be fully enjoyed.
- Jess C. Horsley