Archive for May, 2012

Fang-A-Thon Day 21: 2012 True Blood Calendar

Can you believe we’re already half way through the year? A few more months and it’ll be that time when Calendar Clubs start popping up, and book stores will start putting out calendars for 2013. Now that I’ve owned a few, I thought I’d give you my thoughts so that for those of you who haven’t purchased one before can decide if 2013 is the year that you’ll take the plunge.

First, the good:

– Given that a lot of True Blood merchandise can often be priced a bit higher than what you might expect for it, the calendar is competitively priced at $13.99. Plus, those with patience can get them for less as they go on sale. Wait til Christmas and you can get anywhere from 40%-50% off making this a good deal.

– The production quality of the calendars is good: the calendar is on the larger side and made on heavy card stock.

The neutral:

– Pictures are always a season behind. That mean for the 2013 calendar you can expect to see Marnie, but no Roman (sorry Chris Meloni fans!). This seems to occur across various shows, so I have a feeling this is simply the result of the production schedule. Still, it can be a disappointment if you’re expecting to see a certain season-specific character appear.

The bad:

– I can’t help but shake the feeling that HBO doesn’t put in much effort when it comes to the calendars. I say this because not only are the calenders made with what essentially screen caps (stills from an episode), but they often don’t even choose flattering pictures of the given actors. To whit, here are the six of the twelve months of this year’s calendar:

Jessica, and to a lesser extent Sam look more than a little off in their shots. I find it difficult to believe they couldn’t have found a better picture to use. I will say that this years calendar is an improvement – for 2011’s “Men of True Blood Calendar” they actually cropped pictures so everything was in an odd letter box format. Not appealing at all! Now, I don’t blame True Blood for going the screen cap route – they’re far from the only show that has done so, but for a company that’s so promotion driven it just seems odd that they can’t do more. And more can certainly be done. Below is a picture from the last calendar that Heroes put out before it was ultimately cancelled:

See the difference there? The main photo is a promotion-quality photo (part of me wants to say the shoot was done specifically for the calendar, but don’t quote me on that), the smaller photo is a screen cap but one well chosen that fits with the theme. Speaking off, each page feels like a page out of a comic book, appropriate given the nature of the show. They even go so far as to give you information about the character, in this case his name, his known aliases, powers, previous jobs and relationships. In short, it’s obvious that a fair amount of thought and effort was put into the production of it and at at the same price price point . When I compare the two, I just can’t help but feel that there is no comparison to be made and it makes me wonder why HBO couldn’t do more when it’s clear they can do amazing things when they try.

Am I going to buy the 2013 edition? Maybe. I bought the 2012 version because I couldn’t find anything else to grab my interest. Whether I’ll buy this year’s version will again likely depend on whether anything else captures my eye. I’d suggest that you do the same. Otherwise, if you’re going to buy it regardless, wait until it’s on sale. HBO can do better. Let’s encourage them to try.

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Fang-A-Thon Day 20: Best/Worst – Fan Service

If it’s one thing HBO is very good at is following the fans and deducing what it is we’re craving. In that light, I thought I’d look at how Ball answered our fannish demands.

Best – Giving fans Alex’s ass.

Obviously, this kind of post calls for that particular screen capture, but in the name of keeping this blog as safe for work (and lest I give @DarlingSookie more fodder to believe that Eric and I share a bromance), I shall leave it to you readers to grab it for yourself.  That out of the way, it’s impossible to say that the long, continuous shot of Alex’s ass could only be described as fanservice. It didn’t need to be there. It didn’t need to as long. That it did was meant entirely as a present to the fans and it was very eagerly lapped up. The only way that could be topped would be full frontal of Alex. We’re getting full front this season, but apparently not from a main. Fans will just have to keep waiting.

Honorable Mention – The way they find a way to get Alcide to take off his top more often than not. Not a bad trick considering he’s not even really one of Sookie’s love interests (although he certainly wishes he was)

Worst- Giving fans more Pam.

Without a doubt, fans (like myself) wanted more Pam because we liked her attitude, liked her sass and wanted to see more. I personally loved her in Season 3 when she was trying to snap Eric out of his suicidal funk to actually try and do something. Because of that, when I heard we’d get more Pam I was excited. I was even curious when they said that one of her comments (undoubtedly the “gash in a sundress” line) made everyone gasp at the table read that they went there. And then we began to watch and we began to realize that the writers never really could find something to do with Pam other be a one-liner machine. Or rather, what they did find – an irrational obsession with Eric’s infatuation with Sookie – just made her look weak and clingy. The one liners seemed less zingy and more pathetic and desperate as a result. I’m hoping that things will change for the better in Season 5 because she, like so many of the female characters on the show, deserves better. But as it stands, I wish we hadn’t gotten what we asked for.

Honorable Mention – Eric/Sookie sex. Just. Wow. How did that go so very wrong? The lack of chemistry (Bill and Sookie in the shower had enough chemistry for both scenes) the really really bad trip to Narnia that didn’t necessarily make sense for either character (she’s drank a ton of blood before and never went on a trip, Eric shouldn’t have gone on a trip off of Sookie’s blood – he didn’t go on one after draining the full Fae Claudine, at most he should have become giggly drunk again) and yeah. It just really didn’t work.

As the old adage goes, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.” Truer words, Trubies. Truer words.

Fang-A-Thon Day 19: Best/Worst – Weres

When I started to think about what I wanted to write for this post, I realized that overall it feels like weres really haven’t added that much to the canon of the show, or at least in a way that convinces me that characters couldn’t have just been human instead. That being said, let’s take a look at the best and the worst of the Weres.

 

 

Best: I can hear everyone screaming now, but yes, I think the best use of weres has come from Hot Shots and the werepanthers at the start of Season 4. If you’ve ever listened to True Bites, you’ve undoubtedly heard me rail against how this plot was dropped and how completely inappropriate it was for them to do a story like this just for the sake of getting Jessica and Jason together. That all remains true. However, up until the time that the story got dropped, the Hot Shots arc was working incredibly well for me. There was motivation for the panthers doing what they did (even if they weren’t quite smart enough to realize that their plan wouldn’t work), we got to see some of the panther mythology and hell, the entire storyline was genuinely creepy and horrifying. There was some great acting not only on the part of Ryan Kwanten, but also the little girl who was ‘next in line’ so to speak who didn’t want to do it but was also terrified of what Felton would do to her if she didn’t do it, and you could feel Crystal’s glee and absolute lack of sympathy when she discovered she was going to be Big Momma Kitty. It was genuinely a great set up that should have let to some great aftermath. The fact that it didn’t is a tremendous shame, but the fact remains that those first few episodes of season four were still the most interesting thing that was done with weres of any kind since their introduction in Season 3.

Honorable Mention: There have been some great moments between Alcide, Eric and Bill and the line “He killed my Cooter!” The show also deserves props for using real animals after they shift instead of CGI.

Worst: The wolves. To be honest, they’re pretty useless, and considering the storylines that have been given to them to date, don’t really need to be wolves. The pack in Mississippi were essentially a drug-addicted motorcycle gang. The pack in Shreveport isn’t drug-addicted, but essentially isn’t any better than the pack in Mississippi since they willingly do nothing to stand up the bully that is Marcus and basically stand by and watch Marcus kill Tommy (as Sam). Alcide wasn’t much better, to be honest, not even really doing anything until it’s obvious that Sam wasn’t Sam. Ultimately the question becomes: what is the point of them being werewolves? Really, what is the point? What have any of the packs done that necessitated them being wolves? Alcide’s story didn’t need him to be a wolf. Debbie’s story didn’t need her to be a wolf. The wolves in Season 3 only served as Russell’s minions and Bill soundly kicking all of their asses once he’s fed establishes that as far as supes go they aren’t that much stronger than humans. If Alcide wasn’t around you probably could have gotten Sam to play the role of huntsman for Sookie when Eric had run off after getting high on Claudine. I’m hoping that Season 5 changes that and we see something more from them.

Fang-A-Thon Day 18: Happy Memorial Day

I would like to take a moment out of the celebration of many things vampire and remember those that have served our country in any number of ways.

I lost many friends while fighting in the Civil War. While they all might not approve of all the changes to our fine country over the past 150 years, I would like to think they would still ultimately be proud of how we came back together again. I would also like to take a moment to recognize the many vampires that have served us in the Great Wars, in Korea, Vietnam and our more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although we could not fight by the light of day does not mean that we could not ultimately help. And whether it was on the front line, the supply line, or by providing the tools and weapons that our brave men and women used many have played their part and just like humans, many have made that ultimate sacrifice while doing so.

So please, I hope that everyone, human or vampire, takes this opportunity to reflect on and remember the service of the brave men and women, human and otherwise on this day of remembrance.

Thank you.

 

Fang-A-Thon Day 17: Best/Worst Faeries

I got a response to yesterday’s post about the promos for season 4, specifically to my comment that the faery promos wound up causing more people to become weary about the new season as opposed to excited. Although the commenter mistook it as me disliking the season as a whole (far from the truth) it did inspire me to take a look at certain aspects of the show. So off and on for the rest of the Fang-A-Thon I’ll be doing a series of best/worst posts, to look at the highs and the lows a particular character or characters bring to the series.

Since the comment was related to the fae,what better place to start?

Best – The time jump. As my Darling Sookie is apt to remind me, despite the fact that we are about to embark on our fifth summer watching this show, in reality we’ve only seen a year and a half (or less) pass in their world. Unlike a lot of dramas where the calendar of the show roughly follows our calendar (thus allowing for things like holiday-themed episodes at appropriate times) their world is self-contained and most seasons occur over a few weeks if that. The first three seasons all took place back to back, and season 5 will immediately pick up right after season 4. While story-wise this can make for some good over-the-summer tension as we wait for plot resolution, it can make it difficult to make necessary changes over hiatus, be it casting, story or otherwise. What the fairy storyline provided was that cushioning the writers needed to be able to hit fast forward button and reposition several of our characters. It allowed Bill time to establish himself as King, Jason as a Sheriff Deputy and Tara to get some semblance of happiness in her life. All were needed and gave the first episode a good place to start for the rest of the season.

Honorable Mention to Claudine’s death and Sookie’s “You ate my fairy godmother!” reaction.

Worst – Well, to be honest, just about everything else. A few weeks ago an interview with Lara Pulver (Claudine) confirmed what many of us had suspected: the producers had intended to do more with the faery storyline, but ultimately decided they didn’t have the time to play it out and therefore chose to drop it. This had the unfortunate side effect of making the entire plot entirely pointless. Why bother to introduce the fae realm at all if you end up doing nothing with it? We don’t get to really meet any of the characters or learn any motivations. It fell completely on its face rendering it nothing more than a poorly rendered deus-ex-machina device. If the producers had planned better, they could have found another device to skip ahead. Or heck, with the way the season ended they didn’t necessary even <i>need</i> one, they could have just made the jump on its own without much stretch. The fae are going to play a larger role this season, let’s hope that it works out better this time around because we don’t need a repeat of that this season.

Honorable Mention – the overall set design and CGI for faery land. The whole thing was so cheesy and distracting that it almost didn’t matter what actually happened. It was just a gigantic mess.

 

Fang-A-Thon Day 16: I Don’t Have A Fangover Yet!

This time last year I think a lot of people (including myself) were starting to get a fangover from the sheer number of video promotions for Season 4 – most notably the first eight minutes of the season. Although they obviously intended for the clips to drum up interest, I think many people found they had an opposite effect. Not only did they reveal too much, but they revealed too much of a scene that ultimately could be considered one of, if not the worst of the season due to cheesy sets and absolutely awful CGI, even by True Blood’s admittedly low standards.

The Powers That Be at HBO seemed to have learned from their mistake, and, at least as of the date of publishing, have not released the first several minutes of the first episode. I applaud this move. The promotions they have done to this point have already been extremely effective at drumming up interest: on the whole I’d say the people I know are more intrigued and excited about this season than they were about Season 4. Furthermore, the lack of that kind of promotion only gives us viewers more incentive to actually watch the first episode of the season to see what goes down.

Of course I could be wrong and we could be something soon, but I really really hope that I’m right and that we won’t see anything major between now and the 10th. While waiting does suck, knowing too much sucks even more. Ply me with        Get Glue stickers and maybe a few more promotional shots of Eric and Bill and that’s really all that I need. The promos have been enough, let us all just sit back, count down and wait for the first official fangover to arrive.

Fang-A-Thon Day 15: An Apology

I do apologize for the delay in this, I had to spend some time in sorting out the security surrounding my computer systems.

Dearest Sookie,

I do not know what words, if any can console you, or indeed if I should even be able. For months now you have repeatedly made it clear that you did not like your involvement in the ever ongoing “war” between Eric Northman and myself.

We should have respected your wishes and left you out of it. To not do so was childish and disrespectful of you.

I will not make excuses for our actions because there are none to be had.

And so you know, I have never thought of you as a fangbanger, nor will I ever. I’m also pretty sure that both Eric and I would be all too happy to make that point to someone who would make the unfortunate mistake of calling you as such.

Please take care of yourself Sookie and I hope that you can find happiness.

 

Bill.