I watched a lot of True Blood today. And when I say a lot, I mean like 10 episodes. First I had to finish my Season 3 rewatch so I'd be all caught up and then I had to (and I mean had to) watch the fourth season premiere.
True Blood isn't for everyone, of course. It's got more violence, gore, sex, and bad language than almost any other show on television. Add to the that vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, fairies, and witches and it's definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Of course those are also all the reasons that I love it. To me it's a big old addictive tangle of fun.
When I originally watched the third season, I remember thinking that it was a huge hot mess...but that doesn't mean I didn't like it. After my rewatch, I still enjoyed the hell out of it but it was easier to follow the (many) plot threads that wound throughout. But there are a couple things I am hoping the fourth season can sustain/improve upon.
First, I'd like the fourth season to do a better job of making the secondary (and tertiary) characters a part of the bigger plot. Sam, Jason, Jessica, even Lafayette seemed to languish in subplots that were separate from what was going on with Sookie. Second, I am hoping Tara will stop getting shit on by the plot-gods. I mean seriously. How much crap can one person be expected to take? I cheered for her when she left Bon Temps at the end of the third season because she needed a fresh start and to get the hell away from that place. As much as I took a certain sick delight in the character of Franklin (who might be the most fucking crazy person on this show EVER), watching him repeatedly torture and rape Tara made my feel like I was watching one of those Hostel-like movies. Not good for the soul. Finally, I want the show to continue with introducing the hierarchy and politics of the vampires. What is The Authority? Who makes the kings and queens? Basically, I have a lot of questions about the vampires and I want answers dammit.
So how did the fourth season premiere shape-up? In a word: it was great but a little ridiculous at times. But really doesn't that go for the entire show? There were some huge surprises (the fairies aren't all sparkles and light! Bill is the new king of Louisiana!), and hints were laid of the season to come (witches!). We got a glimpse of Tara in her new life in New Orleans as an ultimate fighter and lesbian (!!) and Jason is actually a deputy. God help us.
Of all the shockers, the revelation that the fairies aren't what we were led to believe is, to me at least, the most interesting. My favorite writer over at TWOP, Jacob, wrote a really interesting article about fairies (ney, faeries) over at Smart Pop and I really recommend you check it out. Despite the weirdness of the opening scene from the season premiere, when Sookie and her grandaddy go from fairyworld to Afghanistan and running away from IEDs, it's clear to the audience that our expectations of fairies are going to be completely subverted this season. I say bring it on. And again, that's firmly in the True Blood wheelhouse, and kind of the point.
I was pleasantly surprised the show decided to flash forward a year, it was weird to think that so much had happened in Bon Temps since the show began and yet it had only been about a month in the actual timeline. It was a brilliant move to propel the show forward and allow the characters to develop quickly. Some might call it lazy (as some of the characters will completely change and the writers aren't burdened with the mess of actual storytelling), but I have a feeling this season is going to center around showing us exactly how all these characters ended up where they are.
Oh, and add two more things to my season four wishlist: Sookie and Eric actually get it on (hawt) and more Alcide please!