True Blood Season Four REVIEW
"Where the hell are the pineapple-and-cheese-on-sticks? This is the worst wake ever!"
Release Date: 21 May 2012
2011 | 18 | £28.99 (DVD)/£34.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: HBO Home Entertainment
Creator: Alan Ball
Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgård, Rutina Wesley
Fatigue seemed sure to set in after three intense years of True Blood weirding us out, but a whole host of unexpected events make this fourth season better than it has any right to be.
The action opens with a twist: Sookie, last seen buggering off with her faery kin, returns to Bon Temps to discover that more than a year has passed. This means all the characters have had a chance to move on in her absence, shaking the plotlines up just enough to freshen them. The biggest change is in Bill, usually the show’s dullest character, who gains a new lease of life… er, death… as the new Vampire King. No brooding or whining after Sookie while doing sod-all else this year, oh no! Now he’s a powerful lawmaker who gets to order everybody else around, and it’s great to see him enjoying himself for once.
We also have a fabulous guest turn from British thesp Fiona Shaw as a local Wiccan who revives the spirit of a long-dead fellow witch, a lady who hates vampires with such a passion that the entire state of Louisiana ends up on lockdown. Shaw is brilliant as the twitchy, scatter-brained Marnie and her actions, while nowhere near as demented as those of bad guy Russell Edgington last season, have just enough pizazz to be gripping, especially once she truly loses her way.
This year also sees Sookie well and truly over Bill (or as much as she ever can be) and having to look after an unfortunately amnesiac Eric, with whom she promptly falls in love. It’s the romance the fans of the books have been waiting for and neither actor lets us down, particularly Alexander Skarsgård, who brings out his very best puppy eyes and wields them like a weapon of mass distraction. With this delicious tryst at the heart of a season filled with all the usual sex, blood and gore, True Blood is still as good as it ever was. Phew.
Commentaries across six of season four’s 12 episodes, flimsy four-minute “Inside The Episode” featurettes on every episode and “True Blood: The Final Touches”, a superior 27-minute roundtable conversation between the show’s key creatives. Well worth a watch.