True Blood Season 2 DVD Review - Mania.com



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Info:

  • DVD: True Blood Season 2
  • Rating: R
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Alexander Skarsgård
  • Written By: Various
  • Directed By: Various
  • Distributor: HBO Home Entertainment
  • Original Year of Release: TV (2009), DVD (2010)
  • Extras: See Below
  • Series: True Blood

True Blood Season 2 DVD Review

Bon Temps is heating up

By Tim Janson     May 26, 2010


HBO’s True Blood Season Two
© HBO

 

The big question for season two of True Blood was if it could avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx. True Blood ratcheted up everything in season two…more characters, more elaborate plots, but it made it all work with outstanding performances, witty scripts, and some of the quirkiest humor ever seen on TV, becoming HBO’s most-watched show.
 
Season two had three main plots, two of which completely took place outside of the small-town confines of Bon Temps. First, Jason Stackhouse has been recruited into the vampire-hating evangelical Fellowship of the Sun Church and leaves home to attend a leadership conference at the church’s Dallas headquarters. There, he is initiated into the cult’s inner circle by Reverend Steve Newlin and his wife Sarah, who are impressed by Jason’s dedication.
 
Second, Eric Northman, the Sheriff of Area 5, enlists the aid of Sookie and Bill Compton to travel to Dallas to try and find Eric’s maker Godric, a 2000 year-old vampire who they suspect has been abducted by the Fellowship of the Sun. 
 
In the final plot, Maryann Forester, who came to town in season one, is revealed to be an ancient supernatural character of Greek myth called a maenad. Using her mind-control ability, Maryann soon has nearly the entire town under her spell, turning them into black-eyed zombies and having them engage in drunken orgies. This includes people getting naked who have no earthly business getting naked on film. We’ll also find out why Maryann is after Sam Merlotte who learns he’s not the only shapeshifter in town.
 
While Sookie and Bill’s relationship is still the focal point of the show, season two gave much of the rest of the cast a chance to excel. In particular Alexander Skarsgård shined in his role as Eric Northmen. The badass sheriff showed uncharacteristic emotion and genuine love for his maker Godric. In flashbacks we see Eric as a Viking warrior and the moment he was turned by Godric,
 
Ryan Kwanten as Jason was also a standout. His performance this season was far different than the town man-whore he played in season one. In fact, Jason has only one brief sex scene the entire year. He has some of the funniest scenes of the season when he teams with drunken detective Andy Bellefleur to try and save the people of Bon Temps from Maryann. 
 
Evan Rachel Wood makes an appearance as the Vampire Queen of Louisiana. While her appearance is brief, she steals the show forcing first Bill, and then Eric to sit in on her marathon game of Yahtzee. 
 
Bill and Sookie’s relationship continues to expand and grow stronger as Sookie brings out even more humanity in him. Their relationship is put to the test when Bill’s maker Lorena returns with the intent of getting him under her power again. This is the great appeal of True Blood. Whether the characters are major or minor, there’s nothing disposable. Even the small roles are important and enjoyable. One of those is Jessica, the young vampire made by Bill in season one. Her role is both funny and sympathetic as she comes to terms with being a vampire.
 
And finally there is Anna Paquin herself as Sookie. She is the rock of the show, bringing a quiet calmness and strength to every scene she is in. It’s clear that Sookie is more than just a human who can read minds. Even Maryann cannot figure out what exactly Sookie is…
 
True Blood Season Two not only topped its first season it blew it out of the water to become the best show on premium cable TV (Sorry Dexter!).
 
Extras
 
The Five DVD set features audio commentaries on seven of the twelve episodes with a variety of cast and crewmembers. There are also two featurettes:
 
Fellowship of the Sun: Reflections of the Light (12:45) is four short vignettes hosted by the Reverend Newlin and his wife Sarah preaching about the evils of vampirism.
 
Vampire Report: Special Edition (23:40) is a faux tabloid TV style news show reporting on various issues important to vampires such as co-existing with humans, and the first vampire actor to star in a TV show.
 
The featurettes are the only weakness to the set. While they are cute, it would have been nice to see some serious features or interviews with the cast. 
 
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
HavokVer1 5/26/2010 12:19:01 AM

Even though the season finale was lackluster, the rest of the season was awesome. The season finale did have the greatest line in t.v history though....WORSHIP HIM BITCHES!!!!!!!!!!

fenngibbon 5/28/2010 10:24:44 PM

True Blood is an excellent example of how to do an adaptation where you're going to take liberties with the source material.  In season two, only the Sookie goes to Dallas plotline came from the original books (and was altered quite a bit); the Jason and the Fellowship storyline is completely new, and the Maryanne plotline has only the barest connection (in the book a nameless maenad slashes Sookie, then disappears for the rest of the book only to pop up a the end to resolve the "who killed Lafayette" subplot (and, of course, the fact that Lafayette is alive on the TV series is another departure)).  

As a fan of the book series, I was prepared to not like this show as some of the characters are rather different from the books (for instance, Andy in the books comes across much better, and Jason in the books is less an idiot than a self-centered jerk), and overall places and characters in the show looked, for lack of a better word, seedier than they seemed in the books (e.g., in the first book Bill fixes up his place when he moves in, but in the series it's still pretty run down, and even Fangtasia seems a bit scuzzier in the TV show).  And yet, as I watched the show, I found that the differences didn't rankle me, because the show was able to create an identity independent of the books, and so the differences are irrelevant.  

It probably also helps that the differences make either served a purpose, plot and/or character-wise (for example, making Tara black and Lafayette's cousin), or otherwise don't seem gratuitous.  The only exception is Sam's back story (in the books he grew up with his biological parents), but I suspect that's only because those differences look to play a major role in season three.  

Gratuitous deviation from the source material was the main problem with the (deservedly) short lived Dresden Files, in which they made major changes from the not just for no other reason than they could, but seemingly with the intent of making fans of the books say "WTF?"  Some of the more notable examples of this were flipping the ethnicities of Murphy and Susan (and giving Murphy a kid), making Ancient Mai a dragon in human form, and making Red Court vampire Bianca one of Harry's former lovers (in the books, Red Court vampires are hideous, rubbery looking bat monsters in a human disguise).  I watched Dresden Files and found myself thinking "wrong" again and again, and I don't do that with True Blood.  It's a tribute to the writers, producers, and actors that they've been able to silence my inner fanboy.  Bring on the werewolves!

P.S.  The fact that the True Blood vamps don't sparkle is also a BIG plus.    

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