If you’ve ever heard me over on True Bites you know that I believe that the cast of True Blood is more than a little bloated. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good ensemble, but this show takes the ensemble concept to extremes with a cast size that can easily double most other ensemble shows. My reason for this complaint is simple: True Blood only gets 12 episodes a year and traditionally the show has always had problems finishing everything that it starts, or doing justice to what it finishes. In that vein, I do think the cast could use some paring down either via death or just minimizing their stories.

People I’d like to see the True Death this season:

Russell Edgington & Steven Newlin -I can hear the protests now. “But Bill! The season hasn’t even begun, and they’re awesome characters!!1!’ True and true. I also love the actors dearly and would be the first one to line up and see Denis O’Hare in person (I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Michael McMillan several times) but that doesn’t mean they should stick around. From the previews we know that Bill and Eric negotiate for their lives by promising to bring Russell down once and for all. And we also know that this pursuit is going to take up virtually all season . He needs to be a one season character, or else he’ll overstay his welcome. I think the one year break after Season 3 was a good call and I’d hate for the character to be ruined because the writer’s keep trying to shoe-horn him in. I have the same concern about Steve Newlin. Great character, great actor, but best in small doses. If you need an example of “be careful what you wish for” in terms of keeping around a Big Bad too long, just look at what happened with Klaus on The Vampire Diaries in Season 3. He went from still creepy as get out to a bratty teenager by the end. I don’t think either character would suffer the same assassination, but the character has definitely lost some of his luster as a result of the over-exposure.

Hoyt – To be honest, I’m not sure why he’s even still around, beyond the fact that he’s human and the writers feel an urge to prove that humans are still around in Bon Temps. That said, we still have Jason, Andy, Terry, Arlene and Lafayette. He seems like a logical place to start trimming. Maxine can stick around though, at least last season they used her just enough to provide some comedic moments (such as at Tommy’s funeral) which the show needs and can do to great effect.

People I’d like to see less of:

Terry and Arlene – But you just said – yes. I know what I just said. Really though, can you say that the baby Mikey story line had any appreciable pay off? Did you finish the season and go “I’m SO glad that that was in there?” It tied into Lafayette’s story a bit, but even that felt incredibly trite and our of a cliche of horror writing. When the best part of their arc is a cameo by Rene you know it didn’t pay off. I do have some hope for this season’s story, but as it stands, the last season didn’t make me want to see it.

Andy – Simply put, Andy’s story has gone stagnant. Let’s face facts: Andy is not a high-functioning addict. V clearly has a more serious effect on him that it does on Lafayette and his control was clearly precarious when he saw the blood of the dead vampire who’d ignored Bill’s warnings to either get out of town or go to ground in silver and he was that close to licking it up. There needs to be consequences to his addiction. Actual consequences, as in someone needs to get hurt or get killed because of his behavior not just random fairy sex in the woods. Yeah, he seemingly promises to sober up at the end of Season 4, but I doubt it’ll stick, he hasn’t had that rock bottom moment yet. And until he does, there will be no change and his arc will not progress, he will just remain pathetic. I’m not saying he needs to become the poster child for V Anonymous overnight, but there just needs to be more and I honestly don’t believe that we’re going to get it.

I get that it may feel that perhaps I’m biased towards the vampires – after all I’m saying the characters should go as to not ruin them as opposed to because I’m not interested in their stories – but at the end of the day, Alan Ball has made True Blood a show about vampires. And we still have Sookie, Jason and Lafayette – all very interesting characters in their own right that can easily give the show the human heart/soul/emotion that True Blood needs to stay grounded. At the end of the day, I love the actors behind the humans, but it just doesn’t make sense to keep them all. Pare the cast, and make the remaining stories stronger. Ultimately, it’s just good for the show.