HBO’s True Blood Blu-Ray Review

June 1, 2009 by  

true-blood-blu-ray-boxBrian Tallerico from HollywoodChicago.com presents in his report his review of HBO‘s True Blood: The Complete First Season which he gives it high praise and scores it 4.5 out of 5.  According to Mr. Tallerico the True Blood Blu-Ray is one of the best Blu-Ray disks to come out and worth every penny.  Below you can read Mr. Tallerico’s review in its entirety and to read his many articles please visit HollywoodChicago.com.

HBO’s excellent True Blood was often dismissed by critics and viewers last season as a “guilty pleasure”. Even the people who loved it felt a little bad about admitting it. I’m here to tell you True Blood fans to dismiss your guilt. This is great television. It’s pulpy, sexy, dark, mysterious, and the one trait great shows often share – unlike anything else on TV.

True Blood marks the first time that HBO Home Video has released a Blu-Ray season on the same street date as the standard version and the result is expectedly amazing. With crystal clear video, even better audio, and Blu-Ray exclusive special features, True Blood: Season One is one of the best Blu-Ray releases to date, arguably the best.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The show itself is still the main draw for a package as expensive as an HD season of an HBO show. I had seen the first few episodes of True Blood and thought it merely mediocre to good. I had heard from several people that the show just needed time. Every element – writing, acting, production, pacing – improves greatly with episodes three, four, and five and the second half of the season simply flies by. It’s one of the more entertaining shows on TV and I can’t wait for season two.

True Blood stars the excellent (and Golden Globe-winning) Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse, a young lady who can read minds. She lives in Bon Temps, Louisiana and is far from the only unusual character in town. In the universe created by writer Charlaine Harris and adapted by Alan Ball (“American Beauty,” “Six Feet Under”), vampires co-exist with humans but face daily discrimination.

Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a 173-year-old vampire comes to town and throws Sookie’s life into disarray. While the innocent waitress is falling in love, the world around her is falling apart. Someone is killing the locals. Is it her goofy brother? The boss who secretly loves her? Maybe even her sassy best friend?

true-blood-bill-and-sookie

True Blood works on so many levels. It’s a “Twilight”-esque soap opera, a gothic murder mystery, a social commentary, and often funny as hell. Whatever True Blood is for you is unimportant. It’s just unbelievably entertaining and when it embraces that straight-up entertaining side just before the midway point of the season, it will be impossible not to watch the rest.

It’s all there in the brilliant opening credits, one of the best such sequences ever produced. In a matter of minutes, all to Jace Everett (who sounds a lot like Chris Isaak but is not) warbling how he wants to do bad things with you, images of sex, religion, and violence blend together. True Blood is about a lot more than vampire romance. It is about the dark, hidden, dangerous side of everyone. And it’s a blast.

HBO had lost a little critical cachet since Tony Soprano and Carrie Bradshaw went off the air, but True Blood and In Treatment will be a part of the new wave that brings this network back some of the prominence stolen by Showtime, USA and TNT in recent years when it comes to cable acclaim. Don’t jump on the bandwagon too late.

As for the Blu-Ray release of True Blood, all of the episodes are presented in 1080p Definition Widescreen and they look amazing. Naturally, a lot of True Blood takes place in dark, low-lit locations and the transfer never causes any lack of definition or detail. The sound, mixed in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is equally remarkable.

As for special features, half of the episodes include audio commentaries by cast and crew including Ball, Paquin, and Moyer. The Blu-Ray release comes with “Enhanced Viewing” on all 12 episodes. Each ep includes picture-in-picture commentary by the colorful Lafayette, Bon Temps history/trivia, helpful hints and FYI’s that help unravel the show’s mysteries, animated maps, and Tru Blood commercials and vampire rights PSAs. A bit more behind-the-scenes details would have been nice but it’s a minor complaint and that information is offered in the commentary tracks.

At a list price of $80 (although you’ll find it under $50 at most outlets), True Blood on Blu-Ray is definitely an investment but if you’re thinking of branching into HD TV season sets, this is definitely one of the first you should get. It’s worth every dime.

Check out this preview and see for yourself:

SOURCE: HollywoodChicago.com
(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)

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