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DVD Review: True Blood – The Complete Fifth Season

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Vampires have been a staple of fiction for centuries now, and one of the best television treatments of the subject is the True Blood series, on HBO. The fifth season of this great show has just been released in a five-DVD set, just in time for viewers to refresh themselves before the start of season six. The name “True Blood” refers to a synthetic blood type created by Japanese scientists, which allows vampires to “come out of the coffin,” as it were, since they are no longer a threat to humans. It is a nice theory, but in practice, this does not work out quite as well as one might think. There is an element of the vampire population who think the idea of peaceful coexistence with humans is wrong, and will have no part of it. Sounds a little like Congress, eh?

Anna Paquin stars as the conflicted Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic Human-Fairy hybrid, who works as a waitress at Merlotte’s, a small Louisiana bar and grill. Merlotte’s is owned by Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell). Like so many characters in the tale, Sam is a supernatural being, a shapeshifter. Some of the other main players in the tale include a 173-year old vampire by the name of Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer); Sookie’s best friend Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley); Sookie’s brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten); a vampire Sheriff by the name of Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), and Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis), who is a cook, drug dealer, and all-around ne’er-do-well type of guy.

Season five picks up right where season four left off, with Sookie and Lafayette in the kitchen with the bodies of Tara and Debbie, when Pam appears. Resurrections, deals, betrayals, love and heartache follow, all in the best soap-opera tradition, and done with a wink and a nod. This is a great series, and to give away all the juicy details would be a crime. I will say that the vampire civil war is most definitely brewing though.

DVD extras include “Inside the Episodes,” five audio commentaries from cast and crew including creator/producer Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Denis O’Hare, Carrie Preston and others. There are also previews and recaps. I believe that HBO has made it almost a crime not to own the set itself, by offering this set at a substantially discounted price.

With the sixth season of True Blood premiering on June 16, now is the time to get your vampire on, and this fifth season of the show is one of its finest yet. Well worth owning, whether you have already seen the shows yet or not.

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