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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - August, 2013

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"True Blood- Season 5" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-august-2013-trueblood5

Synopsis

The cliffhanger that ended Season 4 is quickly resolved when Tara is turned into a vampire by Pam to save her life.  Sookie and Lafayette have to live with the guilt of Debbie's death but they quickly find other things to worry about as Lafayette deals with his inner demon and Sookie learns more about her faerie powers.  Meanwhile, Eric and Bill are captured by the Authority and have to bargain for their lives by finding the escaped Russell Edgington.  It seems he is the leader of a movement that believes vampires should dominate the world and farm humans for food.  The Authority is trying to advance their agenda of co-existence but Russell has other plans.  By the end, the fate of the human race hangs in the balance and only the faeries have any hope of preventing armegeddon.

Specifications

  • HBO
  • 2012, Color, Unrated, 12 Hrs (12 episodes)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video: 1080p, MPEG-4 AVC
  • Audio: English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Rutina Wesley, Stephen Moyer
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

For four seasons, True Blood fans have been waiting patiently to learn more about the mysterious Vampire Authority.  All we got up to now was Nan Flanagan, the PR rep who was a spokesperson for co-existence between vampires and humans.  Now we see there is a rebel movement (isn't there always?) that sees the Bible as a fallacy and believes that God is a vampire and humans are simply walking the Earth as food.  Sookie is certainly involved in the major plot arc but it isn't all about her like in seasons' past; which is refreshing.  The pacing gets off to a slow start and never really picks up as the season progresses.  And there are several sub-plots that do nothing but pull focus away from the main storyline.  One thing lacking is any sort of "last season on True Blood" or some flashbacks to remind the audience what happened in the past.  I found it very difficult to remember the particulars of Season 4 that got us to Season 5.  The unexpected plot twists are also few and far between.  And just when the Vampire Authority starts to get interesting, the focus shifts to more random gore and mayhem.  Since the show has at least two seasons to go, I hope the producers will consider taking things back to the fundamentals that worked so well in earlier episodes.  As a fan, I'll certainly add this set to my library but if you're trying the show out, stick to renting until you're sure.

Technical

The image is quite good with bright vibrant color where appropriate and dark, muted tones during the more intense parts.  Black levels are not quite as deep as they could be and detail is just a tad soft.  Contrast is good but not great, and shows consistent depth and dimension throughout.  Some past seasons had inconsistent black levels and a bit of digital noise here and there, but that is largely solved in this latest transfer.  There was also a bit of edge enhancement in a few scenes.

Audio is on par with the other seasons' Blu-rays with a crisp and dynamic DTS-HD Master Audio encode.  The front soundstage is nice and wide with a great sense of depth and immersion.  The surrounds are used sparingly but the sub gets some time to shine here and there.  And as always, the music with its southern rock and country roots is extremely entertaining.

Extras

Bonus features are fairly extensive compared to most TV show Blu-ray sets.  Each episode has a 44-minute featurette that covers the back story and includes screenwriter interviews.  There are also five audio commentaries with principal actors and producer Alan Ball.  Episode Six features its own documentary called Autopsy that goes even more in depth.  Plus there is static content like character bios and interactive guides.  The package I reviewed contained DVD and digital copies of all episodes in addition to the Blu-rays.