True Blood Season 2 [Blu-Ray]

True Blood Season 2 [Blu-Ray]
The current pop-cult vampire craze means that True Blood, in this second season, became HBO's biggest hit since The Sopranos. That same trend makes it difficult to look past the fangs and see that the sultry, sleazy Louisiana tale is a bloodthirsty, over-the-top, Grand Guignol soap opera. Human Sookie (Anna Paquin) is in love with vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer), a relationship complicated by the power dynamic Bill has with his "creator," Eric (Alexander Skarsgaard), who also has his eye on Sookie. Bartender Sam (Sam Trammell) is a human-to-animal shape shifter keen to keep his supernatural secret on the down low, which is complicated by the fact that an ancient, supernatural creature called a Maenad (Michelle Forbes) wants to take over the town and make everyone her mentally enslaved minions. And vampire/human relations get more conflicted with the rise of anti-vamp cult the Fellowship of the Sun, with whom Sookie's brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten), gets entangled. It's all delightfully, deliciously entwined with vampire/human lust and inter-cult power struggles in a humid stew of depravity and seriously compelling viewing. There's no sparkling, there are no chaste declarations of love ― this is primal, bloodthirsty desire written boldly across a cable-enabled canvas of adult storytelling. The second two Blu-Ray set takes advantage of its technology by adding in plenty of in-episode viewing options: perspectives from pro- and anti-vampire factions; the ability to flash forward and back to scenes of related significance; and in-picture "character" perspectives on different scenes from minor players. It's interesting to a point, but becomes just too much clutter after a while. A couple of in-character featurettes include pro-vampire news/talk shows and cheesy promotional shorts about the Fellowship of the Sun that ― as they did in season one ― make it seem like True Blood is a much more tongue-in-cheek vampire parody than the show actually is. Seven audio commentaries spread over its 12 episodes are occasionally revealing, but more often silly, like when Paquin and Forbes can't stop giggling through the series' climactic episode. True Blood is a beautiful and absurd spectacle of fantastical storytelling that's worthy of its overtones of gothic horror. (Warner)