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Monster drama ‘True Blood’ gets messy

By , Contributor

RYAN Kwanten and Anna Paquin in “True Blood”

In a season that could be described as compressed and rushed, “True Blood” has become a fantasy-drama show that ineffectively jumps from one outrageous scene to the next.

Barely resembling its much sturdier early seasons, “True Blood’s” sixth year started with the continuation of a promising cliffhanger. Vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) has merged with the undead goddess Lilith, remaking the once-noble character into a deadly messiah figure.

This metamorphosis has turned his erstwhile friends against him, primarily his ex, telepathic protagonist Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin).

In previous “True Blood” seasons, its semiheroic monsters are a diverse bunch, Louisiana residents who periodically faced a main, power-mad villain. This time, the attention shifts from Bill to the governor, Truman Burrell (Arliss Howard), whose antivampire campaign suddenly becomes the main concern of the show’s nocturnal creatures, even the law-abiding ones.

This is a direct consequence of last season’s Vampire Authority rampage, at least. Vampires are now incarcerated in a secret concentration camp, to be experimented on freely by their human oppressors.

Interesting concepts, but they—and most of the characters—don’t possess any “real” urgency this time. The silliness overpowers the serious and potentially compelling parts.

Sheriff Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) has suddenly become the father of four rapidly growing half-fairy daughters, whom he just named with numbers. And speaking of fairies, Sookie and brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) comically meet their long-lost fairy grandfather Niall (Rutger Hauer).

New relationships come across as forced and inconsequential. Sookie quickly gets involved with a fairy vampire hybrid, the enigmatic immortal Warlow (Rob Kazinsky). The shape-shifter Sam (Sam Trammell), who hasn’t mourned the death of his recent girlfriend, is suddenly thrust into another relationship.

“KINGS of Restoration”

There’s an unprecedented personality makeover, too. The werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello) briefly became a villain, alienating friends (and presumably, devout fans) during his stint as a gruff “packmaster.”

With just 10 episodes this season, the show messily compresses arcs while oddly prolonging grating or laughable ones. A less-important character is killed off, and there’s an unnecessarily drawn-out funeral-centric episode.

To cap it off, the season-ender reinforces the idea that things are being rushed, more than usual. Still, like the season finales before it, it’s a cliffhanger that piques viewers’ curiosity, showing just enough for them to come back next year.

Looks like it’s taking a back-to-basics approach with the coming story line. But if it really is “True Blood’s” final season next year, it had better make people care for its characters again, and quit messing up its already weakened mythology.

As we go to press, the Associated Press reports that it’s a wrap for the “sexy supernaturals.”

The report says the series will end next year, “following a 10-episode season that will begin in the summer. That will be the show’s seventh season.”

(“True Blood” airs Saturdays, 10 p.m. on HBO.)

* * *

Swedish series

CinemaWorld brings to Philippine television one of the best-selling Swedish novels-turned-crime thriller series.

“WALLANDER: Skulden (The Guilt)”

To be shown during CinemaWorld’s Thriller Fridays, “Wallander” is based on the novels of Henning Mankell, Godfather of Swedish Crime Thrillers. It is from the producers of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” It stars Krister Henriksson as Kurt Wallander. The novels have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

In tonight’s episode, titled “Wallander: Skulden (The Guilt),” 6-year-old Albin Landberg is found dead, floating in the sea and pumped full of sedatives. Suspects are lined up, from recently-freed pedophile Greger Frankman, to nursery helper Rebecka.

But it is discovered that Albin’s older adoptive brother Viktor was given the same tablets discovered in his corpse by his father. Thus, the investigation is brought tragically closer to home. “Wallander” starts at 11 p.m.

Hit reality series

“PAWN Stars” headliners Rick and Corey Harrison during a recent Manila visit. ARNOLD ALMACEN

Starting today, History’s hit reality series “Pawn Stars” and “Kings of Restoration” move to prime time— Fridays, 8 p.m.—on GMA News TV.

On “Pawn Stars,” Rick Harrison gets a chance to buy one of the quietest air crafts ever made, a vintage Schweizer glider. Will he soar into a good deal? And Corey meets a man selling a jersey autographed by famed New York Yankees icon Lou Gehrig. Will the owner get the $7,000 that he wants for it?

On “Kings of Restoration,” Rick Dale and the guys aim to please when an 1800s cannon rolls into the shop. Will the team get it to fire again? Dubbed in Filipino, “Pawn Stars” and “Kings of Restoration” air back-to-back on GMA News TV Channel 11.


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