Has True Blood Jumped the Shark?

By Tara Mazzucca on Sep 4, 2012 to True Blood

I have been a huge fan of True Blood from it’s inception in 2008 and had been looking forward to the past season for almost a year.  The idea of True Blood letting us into the workings of the Authority, the return of Russell Edgington and Steve Newlin, the outcome of Tara being shot in the head and the consequences of Eric and Bill killing Nan made it seem as if Season 5 could go down as one of the best yet.  Unfortunately, it was the slowest, most boring, disappointing season of the series.  What happened to the True Blood that was exciting, sexy, funny and water cooler fodder the next day?     Why did we have to wait for the last episode of the season to give us a taste of the old True Blood?  Has True Blood finally jumped the shark?  Here are a few missteps that plagued True Blood this season in no particular order:

The character of Vampire Authority Guardian, Roman was a waste of the talent and charisma that is Chris Meloni.  Fans of the show were to believe that Roman was a very powerful vampire.  He was revered and respected for secretly gaining power over all vampires and mainstreaming the vampires into society.  With Roman’s many years as a vampire one would assume that he would be powerful in strength and intelligence, but that did not come to pass.  Instead, viewers were forced to hear one monologue after another about the importance of the Authority and killing vampires that disapproved of mainstreaming.  It also became painfully obvious that Salome, Roman’s lover, did not share his views.  So when Russell Edgington came back into the picture, I was sorely disappointed that Roman wasn’t even a close match to Russell.  Roman’s true death came so quickly and was so predictable it was a major letdown after all the weeks spent listening to him.

The return of Russell Edgington was anti climactic.  Here was the fae obsessed, 3000 year old vampire, who disapproved of mainstreaming from the beginning, come back from his concrete grave he was put into two seasons ago by Eric and Bill.  It made sense that he would be fully behind Salome’s coup of the Authority and do whatever he wanted, but too much time was spent on Salome and Nora’s obsession with Lillith and the importance of Lillith’s blood.  Russell Edgington, who was an interesting, crazy, entertaining villain was resorted to a 2nd bit character who had no direction.  In the end, his obsession with Sookie and daywalking made him unfocused to not even be aware that Eric was about to put him to the true death.  For a character that had lived to be 3000 years old, it is difficult for me to understand how easy it was for Eric to kill Russell.  Russell’s death didn’t have the impact that one would expect.  In Season 3, Russell was a character that was feared by everyone and to have him die so easily and quietly just wasn’t his style.  The character of Russell Edgington wasn’t given the full respect and gravitas the character should have had, considering he is such a memorable villain of the series.

Terry Bellfleur’s storyline of a smoke monster trying to kill him and his platoon due to a curse on him was a poor storyline that became more convoluted and hard to support as it went along.  The saving grace may be that the writers knew how weak the story was and wrapped it up quickly.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t excuse that we had to watch it.  It is sad to think that the writers can’t find anything exciting for the human characters to be a part of unless it has to do with something supernatural.

Which brings me to Jason.  Why can he now see his dead parents?  Is he going to become a medium now?  Is he going to revert back to his Season 2, “I hate Fangers” phase?  I am afraid that the character of Jason has run out of steam, which is unfortunate because he is such a likable character.  Jason could grow so much as a character, but the writers always seem to back him up into the same corner of being the dumb, good hearted, ignorant Southern boy, which is a shame, since Jason could be an experienced, good hearted, tolerant Southern man who opens his eyes, ears and heart to what is going on around him.

Another likable character that was coming into his own in Season 4 was Bill.  After the finale, I am afraid that the road they put Bill on, in Season 5, will be hard to convince us of his redemption, or if he is even able to be redeemed after becoming the Vampire God.  In the words of Godric, Lillith was a godless god and since Bill drank Lillith’s blood does that mean he is a godless god?  Throughout the season, we saw Bill become obsessed with being the Chosen One.  After he drank the blood of Lillith there is no turning back.  It is a shame really because Bill was finally coming into his own as the King of Louisiana and viewers got to see him blossom as a leader and a maker.  This season, we saw a vampire throw away all of his logic and experience for the taste of the ultimate power, which seemed like a falsehood for Bill.

Have the writers and showrunners of True Blood lost their muse?  Have they become so focused on conveying a certain message that the writers didn’t stay true to the characters that viewers have come to love and hate?  Has True Blood finally jumped the shark?

Has True Blood 'Jumped the Shark' in Season 5?

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  • Carolina

    This show has become much like a relationship that has run out of steam. What happened to the thrilling, entertaining, mystical, mysterious, sexy, tv show that we were first introduced to? I want that show back. This is why I pretty much stopped watching after season 2. I just tuned in recently to catch a few of the recent episodes and my God has this show jumped the shark. Please end it HBO, enough already, you are alienating your viewers! P.S. And what in the world has happened to Sookie’s character? The fairy angle had so much potential. I’m sorry to say but her character has become second rate.

  • Bbtbf

    Last night truly jumped the “shark”

  • Michael Johnston

    True blood has diluted itself with too many characters and far too many coinciding conflicts. Its a big mess now. Too bad, because it started out very entertaining. Now I feel like my time is being stolen from me every time I watch an episode.

  • bob

    Started watching it from season 1 last week. First 3 were great. Then 4 sucks balls everyone advances a year taras a lesbian, jasons a cop, sams a dick, sookie and bill hate each other, sookie and eric together wtf is that, erics a pussy. The entire season blows.

  • Patrica

    I am VERY hopeful for the next season, the last season was a big WTF as I sat there waiting for SOMETHING to happen, which was the last episode.

    I think the whole spin on Bill is actually great, gives us something to look forward to in the next season (fingers crossed). They need to do something new with ALL of the characters including Sookie and Jason.

    (the Warlow thing I am also really excited about)

    Please Alan Ball, do something! Smoke more pot, whatever helps! lol

  • paj

    Charlaine Harris doesn’t seem to be at a loss for plot and a good story.
    Maybe, if the show had been more TRUE to the original Southern Vampire stories, there wouldn’t even be talk of a shark in their tank……

  • Thought season 5 was much better than 4 (but I guess that isn’t saying much). Next season should be it’s last in my opinion but I could see HBO wanting to squeeze one more season after that. I just don’t know if the actors will want to do that.

    In terms of profits, though I think HBO will still make money on a show that’s still in their top 3, sells a ton of DVDs and will probably be on syndication on TNT late night or Spike eventually.

    True Blood may be a far cry from season 1’s more intimate look at Bon Temps but it still brings in the viewers and the $$$ pretty consistently.

    • That being said I do think there is hope that Season 6 (hopefully the series finale) will blow all of our minds, bring everything full circle and take us back to that intimate vampire portrait we all fell in love with at the beginning.

      Do it HBO! No more Ifrits no more side-stories that everyone checks their watch through. Give us something awesome. True Blood fans deserve it.

      • Tara

        That is exactly my hope Jacob, that Season 6 gets back to the basics and the characters I love and blows my mind! Then I will happily fork over for all the Seasons on DVD due to it would feel like a fully realized story ala LOST Come On HBO!!! You Can Do It!!!!

    • I think the actors are all under contract for 6 seasons, so they may have to resign, and I think in the cases of Skarsgard and maybe Woll that would be hard to do. I really don’t see it going past 6, tbh.

  • I do think the beginning of the series showed potential, but then they very much lost their way a couple of seasons ago IMO. They actually believed their writing was good when they have fallen into a lot fo luck with performances (Skarsgard in S2, O’Hare in S3, Frain in S3 come to mind), and they had Charlaine Harris’ writing to follow. They fell in love with the blood explosions and the shock value stuff. They didn’t respect their own mythology or world-building. They would only add to the meandering plot lines and never seemed to grasp what people were really turning in for. They always killed people off instead of setting up political situations to work around.

    In S4 I thought TB jumped multiple sharks, a couple dolphins, and some whales, and now in S5 I think it’s pretty evident they hit the iceberg. She’s a sinkin’!

    I still can’t believe the HBO suits greenlighted S6 after this dreck. But I guess $$$$ talks, even if the ratings have fallen off quite a bit..

  • Carl

    In my humble opinion, nope; the show has always been absolute garbage. I’m hoping that in his future projects, Alan Ball will be able to reclaim the brilliance he achieved with Six Feet Under, because he was far, far, FAR from it with True Blood.

    • Julie Bing

      Whoa. Don’t you think that’s a bit much?

  • Terri

    Frankly, I am a book fan and was disappointed from the start. However, I enjoyed the show anyway and let them slide. I have been getting more and more annoyed with it since the maened crap. That went on too long. If they continue to write this drivel, then I say kill it now. I keep hoping that they will go back to using the books as a reference but I doubt that will happen.

    • Tara

      I am not a reader of the books, but I know friends and family who are and they love TB because they kept to the essence of the characters they love, but it seems this season it strayed too far from anything recognizable. Season 5, IMO seemed to be about new characters that I was not invested in for the sake of a story line. I felt like this was not the TB I love, but I am willing to see what Season 6 brings, just in the hope that they get back to the characters I love.

      • Patrica

        Dear Tara, just so you know, they changed about 90% of the characters from the book.
        So what essence??

        Don’t get my wrong, I do enjoy the show, but it is NOTHING AT ALL, EVEN CLOSE to the essence of the book, really.

        • Jenn

          Okay, I’m DONE after the July 21st episode.

          I have loved the show from day one. I’ve endured the scorn and ridicule of my friends who couldn’t stomach such shitty programming and plot lines. I’ve defended my True Blood jones to the bitter end. This season has been abysmal, but I’ve tried to hang in there.

          Tonight, however, was ENOUGH. No more. This season, errr…*sucks* so hard I have no words. True Blood…Peace, OUT.

          A Disgusted Former Fangirl

  • We’ve been posting on your Facebook wall for a while, glad to see this article.

    General consensus on our page is that the show started going downhill in S4 with the whole Marnie debacle, although some believe it started in S3.

    We’re still hopeful for Season 6, despite all of this.

    We’d love to share ideas with you.

    See you on Facebook,

    True Blood Sucks Now

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