true blood 5

It’s True Blood time again here at Remote Patrolled as the supernatural HBO series reaches the end of its fifth season. So did True Blood deliver for you this year – or is the summer staple gradually losing its bite?

 I’m definitely a True Blood fan and have watched every episode of the show to date. But I’ll also admit that the show has proven frustrating at times with consistent failings that seems to crop up every season: too many characters; storylines that don’t connect; a tendency to slide into silliness at times; and key characters who simply aren’t interesting enough to warrant their protracted screen time (yep Andy and Terry – that would be you!)

So how has Season 5 stacked up?

Well to be honest many of the traditional True Blood problems are still in place. The first half of season five was definitely fragmented with numerous totally separate storylines developing at the same time. We had Bill and Eric mixed up with the Vampire Authority; the return of Russell Edgington and Reverend Steve Newlin; Tara’s vampire conversion courtesy of her ‘Maker’ Pam; Sookie trying to find out who murdered her parents, Alcide fighting to be top dog in his werewolf pack; Sam and Luna targeted by a hate group; the Jason, Jessica and Hoyt love triangle; Terry hunted by a vengeful fire monster; and Lafayette kidnapped by Jesus’s uncle… still with me?

There was certainly a lot going on this season – and very little of it connected. But I do also have to say that I didn’t really mind this year. The reason – pretty much all of this season’s storylines have kept my interest. Yep, even that fire monster one!

Okay, so I do find some of Sookie’s faerie plotlines hard to swallow (and someone please explain to me what that mess of over-acting from the faerie elder was last week). And I had to admit I rolled my eyes at Hoyt’s potential ‘death by wild hogs’ scene and some of Steve Newlin’s campier moments. But overall the whole season has zipped along at such a brisk pace that even the show’s weaker moments haven’t dragged.

Frankly it’s been such a relief not to have the endless Sookie / Bill / Eric love triangle dominating the show – a protracted plotline that was gradually sucking the life out of the series.  I seriously never want to see another Sookie / Bill post coitus bed scene where the two talk endlessly about life and death. In fact giving Bill a darker edge this season has been a smart move, adding depth to one of the show’s blander characters.

Speaking of bland, I’ve even found Terry bearable this season. Sure the ‘fire monster’ storyline was a bit daft but at least it gave the Iraq war veteran something to do instead of working in the kitchen and flying off the handle from time to time.

Plus Season five gave us extra dollops of some True Blood fan favorites. How great has it been to see more of Pam this year – I could have watched her flashback scenes with Eric all season long. Fangtasia’s resident bitch has been as snappy as ever this season, while also developing strangely maternal feelings for her progeny Tara and showing a softer side. The more Pam the better.

And kudos too to Russell Edgington, a villain who was definitely worth bringing back. Edgington is scary, funny, flamboyant and charming – and again, endlessly watchable. And pairing him with the converted Reverend Newlin suddenly made the latter character make sense.

Okay, so I still don’t really care about Andy and Holly’s relationship (or the ridiculous Facebook ass pic subplot) and Alcide has been pretty much on the sidelines this season – but that’s fine. True Blood is overstuffed enough at the moment – and hopefully they’ll get their chance to shine in future seasons.

As for the ratings, the show has probably peaked by now, but is still holding strong. Last season True Blood was scoring just over 5 million viewers a week, this year it’s at about 4.5 million – but that’s still way above fellow HBO series like Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom and the hyped to death Girls.

Overall it’s been a good season – and I’m definitely still on board for a season 6. The fact that True Blood airs just 12 episodes a year also helps immensely in not overstaying its welcome. There’s still plenty of bite left in this franchise…