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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2011

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"True Blood Season 3" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

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Synopsis

Season 3 picks right up where Season 2 ended with Bill Compton’s kidnapping.  As it turns out; he’s been “summoned” by the King of Mississippi.  We also see a new species as werewolves reveal themselves.  An insane vampire falls for Tara.  Sam finds his real family and learns the meaning of “be careful what you wish for.”  Arlene discovers she’s pregnant.  Bill goes from victim to becoming a member of King Russell’s court though all is not as it seems there.  Sookie, in her attempts to find him, learns of Russell’s plot and gets in deep as always.  Jason Stackhouse, after dealing with the tremendous guilt of accidentally killing Tara’s boyfriend, Eggs, becomes a Sheriff’s Deputy and falls for a mysterious girl who wafts into town.  Just as in Seasons 1 and 2, things descend into chaos and residents of Bon Temps, Louisiana are once again at the center of a world full of super-natural characters.

Specifications

  • HBO
  • 2010, Color, Not rated, 12 hrs 10 min (12 episodes)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Steven Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

True Blood is one of my favorite shows and Season 3 is awesome though not quite as strong as the first two.  I felt it took too long for the story arc to really present itself.  Though I enjoyed every episode, it wasn’t until almost halfway through that the plot really began to move forward.  Sookie is the same fearless, passionate girl she’s always been although now she has a pack of werewolves to deal with on top of a bunch of crazy vampires.  Sam, the shifter, meets his real family for the first time and wonders if he shouldn’t have left well enough alone.  The season’s story arc deals with the nefarious plans of King Russell of Mississipi and his intent to take over vampire politics once and for all.  The second half is much better as things are finally revealed, several new super-naturals are introduced, and we end at the inevitable cliffhanger.

Technical

Video quality is among the best I’ve seen for a TV show on Blu-ray.  Color is rich and natural with consistent quality and no attempts to tint the palette for art’s sake.  There are a few instances of edge enhancement but it is sparingly done.  Contrast is mostly good but some dark scenes have obviously elevated black levels.  Sometimes it changes during a scene depending on which camera is active.  This is something I’ve seen with other TV shows including the benchmark Blu-rays of Lost.  It doesn’t ruin the presentation by any means but I do find it distracting.

Audio is also on par with the best of TV with clean clear dialog, crisply detailed ambient effects and a great music track.  My surrounds and sub didn’t get much of a workout but the front soundstage is very wide and three-dimensional.  Since the action takes place in the Deep South, the score is full of blues guitar and gritty country tunes.  I especially like the title song, “Bad Things” by country singer Jace Everett, though the rest of the show’s music is written by talented composer and performer, Nathan Barr.

Extras

There is a full complement of bonus features included not only on each disc of episodes but on a fifth disc which contains all the documentaries.  Users can turn on a picture-in-picture feature which has commentary from both actors and creators.  Additionally there is audio commentary available for six episodes.  The bonus disc has character perspectives, a behind-the-scenes featurette and an interactive guide to the world of True Blood.  Also, tagged onto each episode is a short called Post Mortem which has a bit of background on the episode plus some insights into future storylines.