Written by Senora Bicho
I was eagerly awaiting the start of True Blood when it was first announced. The first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris had me excited for a new vampire series that I hadn't felt since the Anne Rice books. Unfortunately, the first three episodes of Season One didn't live up to the expectations set by the book and I gave up. Season Two reviews indicated that it was much improved and I decided to give it another try.
The primary focus of the series is the budding romance between Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). Their relationship is somewhat of a challenge as both have unique quirks: Sookie has the special ability to read people's minds while Bill is a vampire. In the second season, human and vampire relations intensify thanks to the growth of a militant religious group, The Fellowship of the Sun.
Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård), one of the chief vampire leaders, recruits Sookie to go to Dallas to investigate the disappearance of his maker. Bill accompanies Sookie on her journey and they soon realize the Fellowship is responsible. Sookie's brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) has also gone to Dallas but to join the Fellowship and quickly gets deeply embroiled with the reverend and his wife.
Meanwhile in Bon Temps, Maryann Forrester (Michelle Forbes) is slowly taking control over the town with her powers as a maenad, a creature that can influence the actions of humans. Sookie's best friend, Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), moves in with Maryann and quickly falls under her spell while falling for housemate "Eggs" Benedict Talley (Mehcad Brooks). Tara's cousin, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis), has lost his flamboyance and retreats from the spotlight while trying to recover from his abduction by Eric but knows something isn't right. Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammel), who is a shapeshifter, becomes the main target of Maryann and possibly one of the only people who can stop her.
All twelve episodes are included along with an "Enhanced Viewing" feature that provides character perspectives, flashbacks/flash forwards, pro/anti-vampire news feeds, trivia facts, clues and hints. "The Vampire Report: Special Edition" highlights the biggest stories in vampire news. "Fellowship of the Sun: Reflections of Light" offers rules to live by and messages from the reverend. There are also seven audio commentaries with various members of the cast and crew and a recap of Season One.
The video is delivered with a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer. Colors are lush and vibrant, and blacks regularly inky. Flesh tones, even vampire pale, are consistent. There is sharp detail in textures and objects. The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 delivers a great soundtrack, which is becoming a hallmark for HBO series on Blu-ray. Dialogue is clear and well balanced with other elements. The surrounds offer an immersive experience.
True Blood can be best described as a supernatural, dark soap opera. It is over the top at times while not nearly as much as Season One but provides a unique spin on small-town life. Michelle Forbes and Alexander Skarsgård are standouts and most interesting to watch. Evan Rachel Wood also shines as she joins the cast near the end of the season and promises to shake things up. Season Two felt truer to the books than Season One. I am hoping that Season Three, which starts on June 13th, will continue along this same path.
Article first published as Blu-ray Review: True Blood - The Complete Second Season on Blogcritics.