TV Rundown: June 22 - 27: 'True Blood' Readies for One Last Suck

One Last Suck: True Blood: The return to Bon Temps was an exciting one and the episode that launched the series into its final season, indicated it was firing on all cylinders. The entertaining opener produced a shocking death, a raunchy hook-up and a heartfelt plea from Sookie. The stakes are high for every character on the canvas and they are all tied together by its umbrella of repercussions.

The ensemble has never been so interwoven and it’s working. The best teamwork award would have to go to Bill and Andy, an unexpected duo, whose underlying animosity (at least on Andy’s end) provides a gripping nuance to their dynamic.

Suspect Zero: Pretty Little Liars: Hannah decided to break free of her Ali-ness, Spencer absolved Jason, Emily offered surly swimming advice to a newcomer and Aria gravitated back to her ex-teacher/lover. Acting incredibly shady was Spencer’s dad, Mr. Hastings, who warned his eldest daughter to stay mum on her secret indiscretion. Let the guessing games begin as the wait continues for answers to another burning question. With Jason off to parts unknown (apparently he overstayed his two-episode welcome); the Liars will have to formulate a new suspect for what ails them. Mr. Hastings is already fitting the bill, quite nicely. 

Shining Performance: Penny Dreadful: In “Possession” Vanessa, ravaged by the demon, could only be saved by Ethan. While Eva Green stunned with yet another daring and bold performance, it was Josh Hartnett’s sensitive turn that proved to be the perfect counterbalance. Hartnett’s impressive turn came in an episode that heavily relied upon his understated approach and it was his display of quiet compassion that stole the show.

Premiering: Tyrant: FX’s new drama kicked things off with disturbing violence and lavish production values. Centering on Barry, a husband/father/doctor living in America, he soon returns to his fictional homeland in the Middle East for his nephew’s wedding. The set-up for why he is lured home after 20 years spent estranged from his family for the nuptials of a nephew he has presumably had barely any contact with is a little bit of a stretch.

However, the show is dense with character interaction and mystery, earning further interest. A standout amongst the cast was Moran Atias who made a stellar impression as Jamal’s tough-as-nails wife. The pilot pulled out all of the stops including an ode to the infamous fight sequence in “Eastern Promises”. Throw in a few shocking twists and this gritty family drama proved arresting. 

Beastly Beauty: Beauty and the Beast: Catherine and Vincent were assigned to the Witness Protection Program and within a night of living under their new identities there was a murder. Duh-Duh-Duh! In all seriousness, why is Gabe being turned into a complete villain? He was a conflicted grey character when he was first introduced and that worked well. Despite the rewrite he is still more appealing than the Beast.

The biggest highlight of the show continues to be Tess and JT, whose witty banter and bubbly chemistry have fueled the show’s upbeat moments and comedic relief. On a production note, the hyperactive jump cuts to the city are getting to be overwrought, supplying a jarring whiplash to the screen transitions.

Bolder than Ever: The Bold and the Beautiful: A solid week of storytelling was capped off with an atmosphere heavy “cliffhanger Friday” that included one of the spookiest soap moments in recent memory. In chilling fashion, an on-edge Liam peered through his sliding door’s glass windows and Quinn’s face creepily greeted him on the other side. Scary!

[Image by HBO]