Archive for September, 2013

Season Seven Thoughts

Thoughts on season seven news:

The only thing that surprised me is that they announced the news of this upcoming season being the last on my human’s birthday. That’s it.

Listeners of True Bites will know that I half expected season six to be the last. That it wasn’t, that we get this extra season was a bonus.

The signs that the show was wrapping up were there:

  • Season six was billed as “the beginning of the end.” Seven being the end makes sense.
  • The shortening of the schedule from 12 episodes to 10. If they wanted to keep it twelve, they would have found a way.
  • The delayed renewal news. When the show got picked up for the fifth season it was only like two weeks in to season four. It took longer for season six to get picked up and longer still for season seven. The show was still doing good in the ratings, but it was tacit acknowledgement that the shows base was no longer growing.
  • Ratings have been fading. Was the show still doing good? Yes, but it overall numbers were down over season 5, even taking into account competition from other programming. The watercooler buzz from this show has been fading fast. For every person who enjoyed this season there is at least one person who is just done with the show.

Aside from all that we have one other thing that people seem to forget: the standard Hollywood contract for major players on a show will often be for a seven year period. Studios like to lock up their talent on the off chance that they do score a hit so they can keep it running. Now it was time to negotiate. As I see it, there were two major roadblocks to a deal being made:

  • The main actors wanting to come back. Seven years is a long for time for anyone to be on one show and it’s not uncommon for actors who have been around since the beginning to want to move on to different things. Throw in the fact that Alexander Skarsgard’s movie career is taking off, Anna had a movie career prior to the show and Stephen has been not only working in indie films and musicals (Chicago and the upcoming Sound of Music on NBC) and it’s incredibly plausible that they wouldn’t want to come back. Ultimately, unless someone is doing a gig just for the money, no amount of money will get them to stay once they want to move on. (Sandra Oh leaving Gray’s Anatomy is a good example of this)
  • Affording the actors. The main trio on this show make $250,000 per person, per episode making them amongst some of the highest paid actors on television and True Blood is known to be one of the most expensive shows on television to produce (up there with Game of Thrones and Vikings). Because HBO is a subscription cable channel, it doesn’t get the viewership that theBig Four networks get and it doesn’t get ad revenue that they get either. Selling rights overseas will only get you so far. The actors would have likely expected a sizable raise if they open to re-upping and HBO may not have wanted to increase the budget even more on a fading show, especially since it seems like the swap to 10 episodes was to bring costs down.

One last thing that was pointed out to me by a follower on my personal timeline: HBO has a lot of pilots in the works. It makes sense to wrap up the show now so they have the proper time to find something to replace it. It took a couple of years to find something after Six Feet Under ended and it may well take a few more. If they can find a replacement now in this upcoming season, HBO will be all the stronger for it.

Personally speaking, as a fan of the show as a whole and as a fan of Bill, I would love to see the show end as it began: Bill walking into Merlottes and greeting Sookie or even something like Bill and Sookie trying to do a redo of their relationship, like Bill sitting at a table and introducing himself once more.

Ultimately I am happy that the writers are going into this season knowing how many episodes they’ll have (ten) and that it IS the final season because it gives them time to wrap up the show properly. I’ve watched too many shows end on cliff hangers or give the viewers no resolution because they were cancelled midseason or not renewed and had no time to course correct.

I am thankful for the joy that this shown as given me and I hope that fans ultimately grow to appreciate how lucky we have been, even if no one got everything that they wanted.

P.S. As promised, here’s my thoughts on what will happen with Eric in season seven:  I do think Eric will be around, but I also think his role will be diminished in the final season, and in a lot of ways, that’s okay by me because I am loving this premise of making the series as it began: about the people of Bon Temps.  Eric is not of Bon Temps. Never has been and never will be. Trying to make him fit in there just wouldn’t quite work and for him to have a major role could force the plot to be in bigger scope than what they are discussing.  Time will tell. I do love Eric people, but the show has never been all about Eric for me so this attitude of mine should come as no surprise.

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Season Six Thoughts

First off, I’m going to apologize for having been MIA for most of the summer and quite frankly, most likely in the hiatus of this off-season as well. I still love True Blood, but I’ve been shifting my roleplaying efforts off of Twitter. I will definitely be around for the final season live tweets and True Bites for sure, though so do keep an eye out!

That said.

Thoughts on the season we just wrapped up:

Overall I thought the shift from 12 episodes to 10 was a very successful one. Yes, it would be nice to have more True Blood, but I am also a quality over quantity kind of gal. I rather have a 10 episode seasons where I enjoyed almost all than a 12 episode season where a full quarter or even a third bored me. The shortened scheduled forced them to be more thoughtful about secondary storylines and I thought that it was evident in the end result. To explain what I mean, I’m going to compare the two most hated storylines from Season 5 (Ifrit) and Season 6 (Alcide/Rikki vs. Sam/Nicole)

The Ifrit story line had zero backers that I could find. ZERO. Never once I did see a review of a recapper go “I want more of that!” Everyone agreed it not only was a waste of time, but many (including myself) found it also a bit offensive with that whole “Suicide is for Muslims” crap. It also ultimately didn’t really seem to have of an impact on the characters either, the only real fall out being Arlene lying about the fate of Patrick and the fae kids reading Terry’s mind about the whole ordeal. While you can argue that that helped pushed him to the decision he made that lead him to the assisted suicide, I think they could have gotten to that point even without it because Terry was such a damaged character. They made that point as early as his introduction in Season 1 and hammered the point home during the funeral. The TL;DR version of this is: Terry could have still wound up dead by sniper even without Ifrit and this storyline served no purpose

Contrast this to the storyline with Alcide/Rikki and Sam/Nicole. The storyline was definitely problematic, I’m not going to lie. We probably could have avoided the mess with the wolves had Alcide and Martha had just gone calmly over to Sam and been like “Look, this is what Luna would have wanted.” Sam is a good guy and he’s a smart guy. He probably would have turned her over because he knew he was being hunted. But because Alcide had no control over the female wolves, Sam did what I think most decent people would have done and tried to keep Emma away. As for Sam/Nicole…let’s just say that I’m with Janina who was Not a Fan of that development. Regardless there were two major differences between these two story lines. First: it took up a lot less screen time. They did this whole arc in maybe seven episodes or so and of those seven episodes there were at least two or three where they barely touched on it at all.  So while we complained about it, it didn’t feel like it dominated the story the way that Ifrit sometimes did. Secondly: they actually had a purpose to this. Alcide gave up on the wolves. He is back to being a lone wolf. Sam knocked up Nicole. This is progression (for better or for worse) for both of these characters and both of those things will be used going forward into the last season. In other words: we didn’t care for it, but it wasn’t entirely wasted screen time either. And because of this, it was ultimately the more watchable for it. It wasn’t a great storyline and I don’t know that I could even say it was a good storyline, but it was decidedly less awful than Ifrit and not nearly as irritating. Imagine what they might have done had the extra time! This was the most consistent season that the show has had in some time, and I do think the shortened season can be credited with helping create that.

As far as the vampires and the humans, I’ve made my thoughts known on this pretty extensively on True Bites so I’ll just say this: although the funeral storyline might have been more successful if they wrapped it up one episode sooner, “Life Matters” is one of the best  (if not the best) episodes in the show’s history. It was poignant, it was heartfelt, and the contrast they built up between the human storyline and the vampire storyline was fantastic.  I fully believe that an episode that strong can only come from a strong season because you needed the time to get all of the elements into place. Also; Bill killing Burrell will never not be epic; Sarah Newlin was one scary bitch and I loved Violet and look forward to her return next year.

Overall, season six may end up being my favorite season when all is said and done.

And because no review of season six can be complete without touching on the whole Eric thing, I will say this: I wish the producers had stuck to their guns and not included Eric in the finale. Even before Buckner basically admitted that his scene was tacked on at the last second it felt like it had been tacked on. If you take away that scene, the episode was actually pretty strong and did a good job of setting things for next season. The time jump was needed, but again the Eric thing only enhanced just how awkward that whole thing felt. As for his fate next season I’ll discuss in my season seven post which will be tomorrow.

Until then, Trubies!