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    True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray HBO TV Reviews

    Jun 19 2014 05:09 PM | Cameron Yee in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Animosity and violence between humans and vampires reaches crisis levels in True Blood’s penultimate season, but despite the exciting premise it proves one of the series’ weaker entries.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: HBO
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, French 5.1 DTS, Other
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
    • Rating: TV-MA
    • Run Time: 10 Hrs.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy, UltraViolet
    • Case Type:
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 06/03/2014
    • MSRP: $79.98

    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    Despite a shorter season, delivering 10 episodes instead of the usual 12, the sixth year of HBO’s occult melodrama feels aimless in its storytelling, particularly in its treatment of vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). While his resurrection as some kind of second coming of Lilith, the mother of all vampires, offers some intriguing possibilities, there’s never a satisfying payoff on either what he’s become or what he’s planning to do with his newfound powers. As it turns out, it’s not dissimilar from what plain old Bill would have done, as he takes up the fight against the State of Louisiana’s escalated war on vamps and (of course) needs some of Sookie’s faerie dust to help him. Talk about squandering an opportunity.

    By comparison, developments with Bill’s sometime comrade / sometime nemesis Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) are much more compelling, mainly because they’re purely character driven and don’t rely on some half-baked supernatural transformation premise. Though Eric’s endgame is essentially the same as Bill’s – to shut down the vampire internment operation known as Vamp Camp – his more aggressive, guerilla approach inherently offers more intrigue and excitement. His interactions with longtime progeny Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten), vampire sister Nora (Lucy Griffiths) and fresh, new sire Willa (Amelia Rose Blaire) also have no shortage of chemistry, as each relationship reveals another side to the series’ most popular figure.

    As usual, Sookie (Anna Paquin), the show’s so-called main character, continues to be saddled with the least engaging kinds of stories, once again involving who she should or should not be sleeping with. The arrival of a handsome stranger with ties to her parents ultimately doesn’t tread any new ground, despite revealing more about her buried family history and giving her brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) some needed closure.

    Given the shorter season, peripheral characters like Sheriff Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer), werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello), and shapeshifter Sam (Sam Trammell) tend to remain isolated from the main storyline, though some attempt is made to connect their respective arcs. Looking ahead to the seventh (and final) season, it seems we’ll be getting back to events involving the whole town of Bon Temps, though the premise seems a little over-familiar now after shows like the Walking Dead and other apocalyptic fare that have followed in its wake.

    True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season includes the 10 episodes that aired on HBO in Summer 2013:
    • Who Are You, Really? (52:05)
    • The Sun (51:28)
    • You’re No Good (57:52)
    • At Last (55:35)
    • **** the Pain Away (56:00)
    • Don’t You Feel Me (55:41)
    • In the Evening (56:15)
    • Dead Meat (57:07)
    • Life Matters (53:36)
    • Radioactive (52:35)
    The series’ final season premieres on June 22, 2014.

    Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA

    Accurately framed at 1.78:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the series episodes feature impeccable black levels and color depth, but contrast can be noticeably compressed at the lower range, giving the image boldness at the cost of shadow detail. Sharpness and fine object detail can look incredible, especially in close ups, but the picture can also look over crisp, brittle and noticeably “digital.” Grain can also be quite heavy in some episodes, which may be an aesthetic choice added in post-production, but seems a bit inconsistent when viewing the season as a whole.

    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track features consistently clean and intelligible dialogue. Surround channels create an enveloping mix that seamlessly blend atmospheric, environmental and directional effects. LFE is used sparingly, but is clean and robust; higher frequency bass levels also give the track a consistent depth and dynamic range.

    Special Features: 4/5

    Recaps and Previews: Episodes include the "previously on" and "next on" broadcast promos, generally running just under 40 seconds each. There’s also a five-minute recap of Season Five attached to the first episode.

    Commentaries
    • Episode 4 with Amelia Rose Blaire (Will Burrell) and Alexander Woo (Writer)
    • Episode 6 with Daniel Kenneth (Writer) and Howard Deutch (Director)
    • Episode 7 with Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton) and Kate Barnow (Writer)
    • Episode 9 with Carrie Preston (Arlene) and Brian Buckner (Writer)
    • Episode 10 with Brian Buckner (Producer) and Kate Barnow (Writer)
    Inside the Episodes: Writers and producers highlight the major story developments in each episode, while directors describe various shooting techniques used for key scenes.
    • Episode 1 (3:27, HD)
    • Episode 2 (3:52, HD)
    • Episode 3 (3:16, HD)
    • Episode 4 (3:46, HD)
    • Episode 5 (3:49, HD)
    • Episode 6 (3:50, HD)
    • Episode 7 (3:09, HD)
    • Episode 8 (4:21, HD)
    • Episode 9 (3:45, HD)
    • Episode 10 (3:37, HD)
    Vamp Camp Files: The interactive, multimedia feature details the various components of the government operation targeted at controlling and destroying vampires.

    True Blood Lines: The interactive feature maps the relationships and connections between the show’s multitude of characters, categorizing them by human, vampire, shapeshifter, werewolf, and other supernatural beings. Individual character pages include a short biography, as well as links to other people / beings they’re connected to. An additional archive area includes short biographies of various deceased characters from past seasons.

    Digital Copy: Choose between iTunes, Vudu or UltraViolet formats. Redeem by May 31, 2017.

    Overall Rating: 4/5

    HBO Home Entertainment turns in another quality presentation for occult melodrama True Blood, though the sixth season was one of its weaker storytelling years. The release’s special features aren’t as packed as previous offerings, but still provide a reasonable level of depth and variety. Given where the series is at in its life cycle, there’s really no reason for a fan not to pick up the title, despite any misgivings about how things developed.

    Reviewed by: Cameron Yee
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