True Blood: The Complete First Season (2008) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Fantasy
Warner Brothers, HBO || NR - 720 minutes - $79.98 || May 19, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-05-27


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Alan Ball & Charlaine Harris (created by)
Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Episode Commentaries
  • Enhanced Viewing Experience


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (DTS 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

It's almost like vampire are a new, hip thing because you can't go anywhere now without hearing about them in some regard. Walk into the mall and you get Twilight thrown in your face. Go to the bookstore and you will no doubt find books from the "Twilight Saga" as well as others ones that have recently came out to jump into the hype. Then we have The CW who recently picked up a new Vampire show ("Vampire Diaries") and the previous vampire hits like "Angel", "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and even "Moonlight".

So what's this "True Blood" show about? Pretty much all of the above wrapped in a tiny little bow with tons of sex and drugs mixed into it. The show even name-drops "Buffy" and takes aspects from "Twilight" (yes, I am aware the first Stackhouse book came out in 2000) a puts them front and center.

Plot: Imagine a world where Vampires walk the earth - and everyone knows all about it. Well, that's "True Blood". In the show, Vampires have come out of the "closet" (surviving on synthetic blood sold in bottles known as True Blood) and the world is split into several camps - the two biggest being those who hate Vampires and the other being those who don't really care. One day, while working at the local bar in her very small town in Louisiana, Sookie Stackhouse (Paquin) runs into her very first Vampire - Bill (Moyer) - a good looking gentleman who instantly takes a liking to her. Sookie herself is mesmerized by him not only because of his looks but because she can't hear him - yep, she is telepathic and most of the town knows about it. Don't think anything around her she can hear you.

While one may think the whole show revolves around Sookie and Bill you would be wrong - it implores full use of all the townsfolk in a Twin Peaks-like way. Sookie's brother, Jason, gets into all kind of trouble around town where he is known for sleeping with girl after girl, but that comes back to bite him in the ass when numerous women are found dead and he is their #2 suspect (right next to Vampire Bill). Other characters include Sookie's boss, Sam - who also has the hots for her - and best friend Tara who suffers from family issues along with her gay cousin Lafayette.

While there was certainly some criticism because the first few episodes were rather dull (including a very Buffyish ending to the pilot), the show picks up around episode four/five and you would be hard-pressed not to want to watch all 12 episodes back-to-back. An engaging show with some great performances makes this HBO's next biggest hit.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Cast and Crew Commentaries on the following episodes: 'Strange Love', 'The First Taste', 'Spark's Fly Out', 'Escape from Dragon House', 'Burning House of Love' & 'To Love is To Bury'.

Enhanced Viewing Experience (1.0/1.1) - Now this is what many may call a total disappointment. The big banner on the case would make you think that you are in for a big Blu-ray exclusive treat but when you actually turn this option on you are greeted with very little. Besides some facts that pop up you get some really odd advertisements and whatnot. What's cute for the first ten minutes quickly becomes tiresome. Add to the fact you can't turn on commentaries either (really Warner?) makes this one a total dud.

Besides that, there are the Previously On and Next bumpers for each episode.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

“True Blood: The Complete First Season” is presented in 1.78:1 (MPEG4) on five, 50GB Discs. Talk about a perfect presentation - everything here looks so real you would never know you are actually watching TV. In one episode, Sookie is eating a Pecan pie and when you get a close up of it you can make out the smallest details. While some scenes still show minimal grain this is one of the finest presentations on the format next to "Lost".

Warner/HBO has included an English 5.1 DTS MA Track for this release along with French 5.1 DTS and Spanish 2.0 DTS. You read my Picture review above? Well, the audio is even better! Once again this is one of the most robust audio tracks next to "Lost" on the Blu-ray format. Dialog is perfect and rears are active 90% of the time. If you've never heard this show in 5.1...just wait until you "hear" what Sookie "hears".



.::OVERALL::.

Since I am watching the show for the first time I'm thrilled to have this be presented in glorious HD on Blu-ray. With perfect picture and audio quality and a very low MSRP I can't recommend this set enough. Here's hoping season two is just as good as season one!