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The Ultimate Supernatural Soap Opera
on 24 April 2013
This is one of the most addictive shows. This is very silly, even down to it's premise: The whole world knows vampires exist and now vampires become part of mainstream society. But what makes it work is that the show doesn't take itself too seriously, it's very self aware, satirical and smart.
The show centres around the residents of Bon Temps, a small town in Louisiana and their encounters with the supernatural, not just vampires. There are Shapeshifters, Werewolves, Witches, Maenads, Fairies etc.
With a serial narration every episode ends on a cliffhanger, especially the finales. The show has come under criticism for having too many storylines, however this is a soap opera style show multiple subplots that may go nowhere were bound to happen. Like with most soap operas what happens in the stories doesn't really matter, what matters is the characters.
Speaking of which, this show has awesome characters and well casted actors portraying brilliantly. The main character telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, played by Anna Paquin, gets a mixed reception since she can be stupid, irritating and has to be rescued a lot. But she feels real, and she can be very loveable, sympathetic, brave and hilarious. She really balances out sweetness and feistiness. Even when she becomes damsel-in-distress you never get the feeling she's going to give up. Her supernatural ability makes her feel like an outcast and has her questioning her humanity, which makes her interesting and relatable. The two main vampires are: Bill Compton who is gentlemanly yet darkly mysterious, then there's Eric Northman who is a bad-boy vampire yet hiding a soft spot. These two vampires are like the yin to each others yang, perfect contrast.
Other characters include: Sam, a shapeshifter; Tara, Sookie's feisty best friend; Jason, Sookie's equally dimwitted brother; Alcide, a werewolf; Jessica, a teenager and newly-turned vampire; Pam, a sarcastic vampire and Lafayette the most hilarious gay character ever, even homophobes won't help but love him.
Season 1 - A serial killer is on the loose killing women who associate themselves with vampires. Sookie is in danger of being the next victim as she falls for vampire Bill. The chemistry between Sookie and Bill is perfect (it's no surprise actors Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer got married) he's the dark to her light. The season does a very good job at introducing the audience to this universe and characters, bringing the audience into this alternate reality.
Season 2 - Sookie and Bill head to Dallas searching for a missing vampire, which leads them to an anti-vampire church "The Fellowship of the Sun". Meanwhile, a mysterious woman called Maryann possesses the residents of Bon Temps. This season ups the ante, creating more havoc. The Maryann story is very interesting but does drag in the middle and gets a little confusing, you'll be scratching your head trying to work what she is. However it does get explained and the conclusion is very satisfying and Michelle Forbes is fantastic in the role. The highlight of this season however is Jessica, played by the lovely Deborah Ann Woll, coming to terms with being a vampire, it's fun getting to see her learn and the character is just so likeable.
Season 3 - Bill has been taken by the Vampire King of Mississippi and Sookie, accompanied by Alcide, searches while discovering secrets about Bill and herself. This season introduces werewolves, while slightly underused, they still look awesome instead of using cheap CGI wolves or costumes, they use real wolves. This season is full of revelations as we finally discover what Sookie is, as a result lies and betrayals become exposed which makes this season take a darker turn than the previous two. Most of the characters actually this season go on a dark path. Russell Edgington, played by the brilliant Denis O'Hare, is so far the best antagonist of the series he is fun to watch and a vampire wanting be the evil vampire you see in films, definitely doesn't see humans equal to vampires.
Season 4 - Sookie returns to Bon Temps, after being away with the fairies (get the metaphor? haha) and realizes a year has passed without her. While the vampires are recovering their image in the press, now that Bill has become Vampire King of Louisiana, a coven of witches are set to bring the vampires down! The leader of the witches is Marnie, played by a perfectly cast Fiona Shaw who isn't playing the typical wicked witch, to start with she's just shy and vulnerable but once she's possessed by the spirit of the powerful Antonia she can be quite menacing. The highlight though is romance between Sookie and Eric, great chemistry between the two that has been built-up since Season 2. Eric losing his memory from the witches curse does develop his character a lot as we get to see his inner goodness that he's been hiding. The finale is fun and it's set on Halloween and it takes advantage creatively with that.
Season 5 - Bill and Eric have been arrested by the Vampire Authority, Russell is back and Sookie is becoming sick of life and on the verge of breakdown. This season has multiple villains, but neither you can call the main antagonist, the main villain can be the Authority itself and the misuse of power it has. It certainly causes Bill and Eric to take a turn on different paths, just after we get to enjoy their new bromance relationship. This season also goes into vampire mythology although just like religion there are no straight answers. It was great the direction Sookie's character goes, she takes a back seat in the main story and has her own subplot for us to follow. First of all she's now single! And after everything she's been through the past seasons you wonder how long her sanity will last. Then, she along with Jason set out to finally find out how their parents have died, it was great seeing their brother-sister relationship unfold. This season is also the golden era for Tara, the direction her character goes is a surprise twist and her relationship to Pam (who is also at her peak this season) is one of the main highlights. The season finale is jaw-dropping and a bloody mess and ends on it's biggest and most shocking cliffhanger yet, roll on Season 6.