True Blood: The Complete Second Season (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama
HBO || NR - 720 minutes - $79.98 || May 25, 2010
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2010-05-06


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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, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Select Episode Commentaries
  • Enhanced Viewing Mode
  • 2 Featurettes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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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 (and renewed!) a new Vampire show ("The 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.

Season Two really kicks things up a notch. Picking up right where Season One left off, we find out the identity of the victim inside of the car (and it comes as no surprise as they really wouldn't kill off the charming Lafayette, right?) and wonder where her heart went (hmm...). Tara (Wesley) gets taken in by the mysterious Maryann (Forbes) who may or may not have a secret past with shape shifting Sam (Trammell) while Bill (Moyer) and Sookie (Paquin) deal with a newly changed vampire, Jessica (), who takes a liking to Hoyt (Parrack). Oh, and my boy Jason (Kwanten)? He's praising the lord! Phew. Lots of things are going down in Bon Temps this season and while I won't touch on all, I will give my opinions on a few of the side-stories.

** SPOILERS BELOW **

First up is the very odd plot with Maryann. Again, spoilers are going to happen so if you've not seen Season Two, just please stop reading. Back to Maryann - can't stand her. The entire plot with her just feels so damn stretched out over 12 episodes that by the time the Finale hits, I just want her dead and gone. While the whole idea of her turning everyone in Bon Temps into an orgy-loving community is an interesting idea, it takes far too long for her 'master plan' to come to fruition and we finally earn exactly what she is and what she wants. They should have trimmed this down to 4-5 episodes instead.

Jason. Ahh, such a pretty dumb boy who hates him some vampires. After the death of his girlfriend last season, Jason joins up with a Religious crowd (Fellowship of the Sun) and quickly shoots the top with help from the founders, Steve and Sarah Newlin. This is one of the far more interesting stories of the season as we see how easy it is to manipulate a character like Jason into anything you want. The conclusion comes a bit too soon, but I have a feeling we will be seeing them again.

Bill and Sookie finally seem to be getting along when baby vampire Jessica comes along to mess things up. At first I didn't really care for her, but damn is she a great actress who looks very sexy (sorry guys, she has a clause in her contract not to get naked) and controls just about every scene she is in. The story between her having feelings for a human (Hoyt) is one of the best this show has produced. There is one scene in particular when she remembers that she is a virgin... ouch.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Packaging has slightly changed since Season One's release: While the general feel of it is the same, for some reason season two is just a wee bit thicker (and its black) even though it has the same amount of discs. The 'band' that goes around season one has been replaced with a slightly different version that folds over the top instead of going around the spine (which blocked the “True Blood” lettering - stupid decision in the first place). Hopefully this will be a permanent change to the HBO on Blu-ray distribution.

Audio Commentaries on the Following Episodes: "Keep the Party Going", "Release Me", "Timebomb", "New World in View", Frenzy" & "Beyond Here Likes Nothin (2)" with Cast and Crew including Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Michelle Forbes, Alexander Skarsgard, Rutina Wesley, Ryan Kwanten, Sam Trammell and more.

Enhanced Viewing Mode ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
- The following are PiP and play while you watch an episode. Keep in mind you can't listen to both audio feeds at the same time (episode audio goes very low), so while they are interesting, I found it very tough to follow as the dialog from the episode would cut in and cut out nearly every minute. The ratio is about one of the below every minute and a half or so.

-- Character Perspectives - Learn more about what's going on straight from the mouths of Hoyt, Pam, Karl and Steve Newline. Also available in non-PiP mode (but not worth watching since these would not make any sense unless you are watching them along with the episode) ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

-- Pro/Anti-Vampire Feeds - Receive news updates and information from both organizations throughout the episode and decide with camp you support (Really? We all know it's gonna be the Vamps!) ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

-- Flashback/Flash forwards - Move through time in the world of Bon Temps. Flashback to relive a pivotal moment or Flash Forward to reveal the significance of a certain scene. It actually pauses the current episode to play the Flashback/forward and then returns you back to the episode. Very cool. (Disney - take note of this. Why "Lost" on Blu-ray didn't have this feature is beyond me...) ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

-- Hints/FYI - Bits of Trivia and knowledge sprinkled through. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Featurettes:
-- Fellowship of the Sun: Reflections of Light (12 Minutes) - Split into four 'Question and Answers', this funny little piece plays like something that might air on PBS trying to capture some new people into Religion. Filled to the brim with cheesy music, green screen backgrounds and a pathetic looking animations, you'll want to check this one out.

-- The Vampire Report: Special Edition (24 Minutes) - Victoria Davis hosts an odd little program that discusses Vampires in the media (like their first TV Show, Vampire products, Infomercials etc.).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

“True Blood: The Complete Second 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. I'm still in awe how Season One looked, and after re-watching a few episodes from Season Two I still think this is one of the best looking TV shows on the format. While it may not be the cleanest looking (remember, not all grain is bad, kids), it's just a damn good presentation.

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 on the format. It's shame that when I typically watch this on HBO, I'm not getting the 'full' experience like I am on Blu-ray. Almost makes me want to wait for Season Three to hit Blu-ray... but I just can't do it.



.::OVERALL::.

It's tough to compare the two, but I'd say Season Two is just a wee it better than Season One just for the fact that it has introduced so many new characters (or expanded on old ones) that will be on the Series for a long time to come. While the Maryann subplot did drag things down, The Fellowship of the Sun, Bill & Sookie, Jessica and even Sam bring some very interesting stories to this season. As usual, a top notch presentation in both Audio and Video by HBO/Warner.