'True Blood' Season 7: Does anyone still care?

HBO's

HBO's "True Blood."

Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:57 PM ET

At the end of Season 3 of True Blood, the series’ protagonist Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) finds out she’s a Fae — a fairy to you and me.

“I’m a fairy?” she exclaims. “How lame is that?”

It would be perfect if that marked the moment the fang-banger show jumped the shark. But to my mind, at least, they managed for at least another season to hold a cohesive narrative, with the requisite amount of kinky sex and crazy violence.

It wasn’t until last year’s Season 6 that I started to feel True Blood bore practically no resemblance anymore to the moody vamps-on-the-bayou HBO soap opera that commanded our attention in 2008.

The dynamic was simple (and the gay rights metaphor almost thuddingly obvious, down to the “God hates fangs!” sign in the opening credits). Vampires were “out of the coffin” thanks to a Japanese-made artificial blood that let them live among humans without feeling the urge to drain them of hemoglobin.

And buggy, humid Bon Temps, La. — the kind of place that makes you want to say the words “powerful hot” — was a microcosm of the conflict playing out worldwide (with the barbecue bar and grill Merlotte’s as ground-zero).

Vampires were torn between peaceable folk who wanted acceptance from the humans, and those who wanted nothing more than to pour their Tru Blood down the toilet and follow their natural instincts.

Similarly, humans fell into the categories of those who distrusted the fanged leeches as unholy, and those who went to the other extreme — the “fang-bangers” inclined to sleep with them. (There were also the turn-the-tables types who discovered drinking vampire blood — “V” — was a tenfold more powerful high than crystal meth.)

There were a handful of characters to keep track of, and atmosphere a’ plenty, in adherence with the modern-gothic mood of the source material, the Southern Vampire Mysteries novels by Charlaine Harris.

  • GALLERY: Our fave residents of Bon Temps, Louisiana

    The chemistry between Sookie and Civil War Veteran vamp Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) was so thick that the actors ended up getting married in real life (and Season 6 was shortened to accommodate Paquin’s pregnancy).

    I was with the fairy business, and the shape-shifters and the witches and the werewolves (for some reason, Magic Mike’s Joe Manganiello as Alcide seemed to spike my wife’s interest). And I like the idea of being able to “glamour” people into doing what you want, with an intense look.
And then, the mood started to be soured by the unsexiest theme in the world — politics. Turns out the vamps had sheriffs, and kings and queens and gods (Lilith, whose preserved blood turned Bill into a super-vampire). And there was human politics, in the form of secret paramilitary groups, a declaration of war by the governor of Louisiana, and a young, effete evangelist Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) whose righteous Fellowship Of The Sun flexed its anti-vampire muscles politically.

    By the time Season 6 came along, series creator Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) had quit as show-runner, and the truncated season began to play out like a discarded Wachowski siblings script, with echoes of V for Vendetta, jackbooted cops firing wooden bullets, a sinister plan to solve the vampire problem by poisoning the supply of Tru Blood, giving them a condition called Hep V.

    And there was a surfeit of scenes set inside the prison/lab where humans were conducting Mengele-like experiments on the vampires.

    Between all that, the character list was starting to rival Game of Thrones, without the element of us caring much.

    As for Sookie, well pardon us for suggesting she’s a bit of a tramp. Over the course of the series, she’s shared her bed with Bill, vampire Sheriff Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), the half-fairy/half-vampire Warlow (Rob Kazinsky) and Alcide. And according to executive producer Brian Buckner, she ends up back with Bill in this finale season. “We’re going back to the original premise of the show: Bill and Sookie. There’s romance, sadness and resolution,” he told TV Guide.

    It’s a promising sign that True Blood, which has wandered so far from home, ended Season 6 with a cliffhanger that saw a horde of crazed Hep V-stricken vampires advancing on Merlotte’s (now run by Arlene and renamed Bellefleur’s). The producers have suggested this encounter will end with the death of a key character. At last we end up where we started.

    There are other cliffhanger issues to reconcile, like the apparent death of Eric, the result of the sudden loss of “day-walkers” ability to survive the sun’s rays (because Warlow was killed, and with him any trace of Lilith’s infernal influence on vampire-kind, including Super-Bill’s powers, blah, blah — I told you, it’s become ridiculously complicated).

    But wait? Could Eric really be dead if Entertainment Weekly has reported that this season would see a somewhat-more-than-a-bromance scene between Eric and Sookie’s brother Jason?

    All we can say for sure is that True Blood has come home to say an overdue goodbye. And, apparently, it’ll be clothes-optional.

    Twitter: @jimslotek

    jim.slotek@sunmedia.ca


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