I ummed and erred about whether to give this 3 or 4 stars, and plumped for 4 given how much I enjoyed the finale.
This season definitely has its ups and downs. As previous reviewers noted, the fairy / faerie / whatever stuff is pretty cringeworthy, although luckily there's not that much of it. More off-putting for me was the whole werepanther bit. Seriously over Hotshot, but at least that doesn't last all season either. Since the second season (and especially in the third season) True Blood has struggled to find compelling storylines for all its many characters simultaneously, and this becomes most apparent in S4. Much as I liked Arlene and Terry, and their demon baby story is kinda fun in a campy sort of way, there's a bit too much of them by the end, and the amount of time dedicated to less interesting characters (Andy Bellfleur, anyone?) just serves to detract from the overall pace of the show. And once again Tara spends the second half of the season aimlessly wandering about in other people's plotlines, which is a damn shame.
ANYWAY, on to the positives. There are some good storylines this year, principally Eric's amnesia and relationship with Sookie. Plus Bill has a new position of authority, and an accompanying personality change and businessman-like hairdo. Jess and Hoyt's relationship also gets plenty of screentime, and Pam gets some fabulous lines. Jesus and Lafayette also feature heavily, which is always a good thing. Fiona Shaw is a delight, although her Marnie isn't half the baddie Russell Edgington was, and I will admit I was hoping he might make an appearance this season (though sadly not).
The first half of the season is a bit hit and miss, and I'd probably only give it 3 stars. I actually stopped watching about half-way through and only resumed several months later. The last half of the season, however, is 4 approaching 5 stars, with the finale in particular setting up a LOT of exciting potential plot threads for the next season. Plus Christopher Meloni is set to star next season, which can only be a good thing. Bring on S5!!