TV Report Card | 'True Blood' Season 6 Review

Overview: The sixth season of  "True Blood" found Sookie and Jason trying to find the person who killed their parents, Bill dealing with morphing into Bill-ith and Eric trying to stop the persecution of vampires who have been imprisoned. There was a lot happening this season and the HBO veteran was firing on all cylinders.

Storyline Direction: There were a diverse range of stories this season and each kept a sharp momentum. Nothing seemed to linger past a natural point and each story hit the right beats. New showrunner Brian Buckner found a rhythm that has often been unattainable for the show in past seasons. He managed to strike the right balance, finding a great story clip with every episode, leaving you in eager anticipation of the next.

Between Sheriff Andy’s fairy daughters and Jessica fighting her inner demons, there were a lot of layers to the conflicts this season. Alcide (Joe Manganiello) was, once again, not completely utilized in yet another storyline where he fought to be pack-master.

Sam’s story proved entertaining with his new equal rights fighting girlfriend, Nicole (Jurnee Smollett-Bell). However, their relationship came off as rushed after we had just spent two seasons with Sam loving Luna. If it hadn’t have been so soon, it would’ve been much better.

Something that continues to hamper “True Blood” as a series is the slow timeline of its stories. The plot actually unfolds within days and characters are swinging from one life-changing decision to another without much hesitation for what happened in an unreasonably short time. 

The return of Steve Newlin’s ex-wife Sarah (Anna Camp) was one of the best additions of the new season. Her crazed character created a shake-up to the series and between her and Jason (Ryan Kwanten) there were quite a few histrionics to be had. The persecution of vampires was handled in a rather black and white manner.

Vampires admit they are evil, but we should root for them because on “True Blood” antagonists are the protagonists. Eric’s scheming and fighting for vampire-kind, despite his brutality, brought a brand of warmth back to the character as crazy as that sounds. Well, on this show crazy passes as sane.

Production Caliber: The production was well done this season. The containment area had the perfect amount of sanitarium coldness. The special effects were also well-done, the flying/take off of the vampires looked magnificent and they didn’t overdue it either, instead showing it enough to excite without going overboard. Continued...

Performance Quality: The standout this season was without question, Ryan Kwanten with his portrayal of Sookie’s zany and affable brother. His wide-eyed expression and unrelenting enthusiasm brought strong energy to the series. He managed to make anyone working in scenes with him better, his comedic timing as sharp as a blade, he cut through the often campy scripts and gave something that felt, real.

Sam Trammel (Sam), Joe Manganiello (Alcide) and Chris Bauer (Sherriff Andy) all added some much needed dimension to the show. Manganiello proving his teddy bear quality could also give way to some very intense animalism.

Another actor who really impressed was Nelsan Ellis; he has always been great as the sassy, heartfelt Lafayette and this season was no exception. He peeled back the layers a bit this year, giving Lafayette a real dimension as he displayed a softer side.

The fiery Carrie Preston also served up some flair as she saw Arlene through the humorous and sad times, as one of Bon Temps most tortured denizens. New addition Jurnee Somellett-Bell brought ferocity to Sam’s new love interest, a woman who was strong while being a bit vulnerable at times.

Anna Camp brought her raging nut of a character roaring back to the small-screen in a turn that never backed down from being over the top ridiculous as it was entertaining. She gave the audience a villain you were dying to see receive her comeuppance. Michael McMillian’s turn as her ex-husband Steve gave the series its best line of the season, “I love you Jason Stackhouse!” just before he died, the dark comedy of the moment was an example of what the series does best.

Musical Score: There was a good mix of music this season. The songs going over the credits were always a must listen. It was a tad shocking they used a popular song to close out the season with Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive”. However, the song is so fantastic that is easily understandable.

Overall Grade: A, the HBO veteran proved that after 6 seasons they still have the fuel to keep the fire burning. The season had great pace and while there was some meandering (I.e. Terry’s funeral) it was well intentioned, a rare sentimentality being expressed.

There was an exaggeratedly disgusting blood and gore death scene that required some serious mental scrub down but that is par for the course with the raunchy nature of the show. All in all, it was a season that stayed true to its roots while, making progress on a sometimes shaky foundation.

What did you think of "True Blood" this season? Eclectic Pop wants to hear from you! You can share your thoughts by tweeting @EclecticPop or leaving a comment below.

[Image by HBO]

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