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.