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True Blood: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

true-blood-complete-series-bluray-coverU.S. Release

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The Collection

[Rating:3.5/5]

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After seven seasons of entertaining us with its twists, its sexiness, and its subversive social satire, and general campiness, HBO’s True Blood series, based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels, came to a close. But fret not fans, occasional viewers, and passionate devotees, HBO has collected together all seven seasons on beautiful high-definition Blu-ray Discs all previously released, with the notable exception of the seventh and final season, of course. So now, just in time for the gifting season, you can purchase one for that special someone in your life or just for yourself and relive every blood curdling (or bloodsucking, as it may be) moment in pristine HD. Relive the moment when Sookie (Anna Paquin) and vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) first met in Bon Temps outside of Merlot’s or when Bill was forced to create the new vampire pup Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll). Have a hankering for the hunky werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello), no more waiting for a full moon, next Sunday, or paying for it On Demand. Just pop in Season 3. Of course, you will also have the much maligned series finale which capped off a rather poor final season. But True Blood, over its seven seasons was filled with ups and downs. None of its seasons ever lived up to the brilliant first season. They had the sophomore slump in season two with a very dark and morbid season, but picked up in the third season even if they did get a little cliche with werewolves and so on.

If there’s one downside to this mammoth set from HBO it is that they haven’t included anything special to make you really want to part with your hard-earned dough. If you’re an über-fan (and why wouldn’t you be?) then you’ve probably already purchased the individual seasons, in which case you have nothing to gain from purchasing this. If you haven’t purchased them, or have a big gap in the seasons you already own, like four or more, then this set will be the way to go.

See our complete reviews of True Blood seasons 3-6 and our episode roundups from our very own “Entertainment Goddess” Aurora Snow.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

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True Blood has always looked wonderful on Blu-ray and this set, which repackages the previously available Blu-ray releases with the addition of the final seventh season, is no exception. The series’ image, from a Super-35 film source, is just a tad gritty – in a good way – really textured, with superb black levels and excellent contrast. The film-sourced AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodements remove all of the problems with noise and posterization that plagued the series in its broadcasts. The series varies between deep and dark, inky blacks and night shades, and rich midtones, with occasionally golden daylight; it always looks wonderfully natural.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

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Exceptional balance, good amount of extension into the mid-low range, and and great atmospherics define the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack that accompanies each season of True Blood on Blu-ray. It is a fine step up from the Dolby Digital of the broadcasts and allows you to pick out all the theatrical-quality nuance that the sound engineers build into these mixes.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

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HBO haven’t included anything new in this set to make it special, so all of the supplements are what was previously released with each season. In fact, the seasons that were released as BD+DVD combo packs, obviously, no longer have the accompanying DVDs, so, depending on how you look at it, you are actually losing some extras here.

  • iTunes Digital HD Digital Copy & Digital HD UltraViolet

Season 1:

  • Enhanced Viewing (Picture-in-Picture, in-episode viewing mode)) – Take a look inside the world of True Blood with the Enhanced Viewing experience. Learn more about the locals from man about town, LaFayettem unearth the history of Louisiana’s vampires; explore the colorful locations of Bon Temps and get helpful hints and bots of trivia along the way.
  • Episode Previews and Recaps
  • Commentary on Episode 1 “Strange Love” by Alan Ball (executive producer/series creator).4
  • Commentary on Episode 2 “The First Taste” by Anna Paquin (Sookie Stakhouse) and Scott Winant (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 4 “Escape from Dragon House” by Brian Bruckner (writer) and Michael Lehmann (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 5 “Sparks Fly Out” by Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton) and Dan Minahan (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 7 “Burning House of Love” by Marcus Siega (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 11 “To Love is to Bury” by Nancy Oliver (writer/director).

Season 2:

  • Enhanced Viewing – Dive deeper into the world of Bon Temps with the Enhanced Viewing experience. This in-episode mode includes four different features:
  • Character Perspectives – Learn more about what’s going on straight from the mouths of Hoyt, Pam, Karl, and Steve Newlin
  • Flashback/Flashforward – Move through time in the world of Bon Temps. Flashback to relive pivotal moments for Flashforward to reveal the significance of a certain scene.
  • Pro/Anti-Vampire Feeds – Receive news updates and information from both organizations throughout the episode and decide which camp you support.
  • Hints/FYI – Don’t miss a beat with these FYI trivia facts and show hints and clues.
  • Episode Previews and Recaps
  • Commentary on Episode 2 “Keep this Party Going” by Nelsan Ellis (LaFayette) and Michael Lehmann (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 7 “Release Me” by Raelle Tucker (writer) and Michael Ruscio (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 8 “Timebomb” by Stephen Moyer (Bill), Alexander Skargård (Eric), and John Dahl (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 10 “New World in My View” by Ryan Kwanten (Jason) and Sam Tramwell (Sam).
  • Commentary on Episode 11 “Frenzy” by Rutina Wesley (Tara), Alan Ball (writer) and Daniel Minahan (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 12 “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’”:
  • by Anna Paquin (Sookie) and Michelle Forbes (Maryann)
  • by Alexander Woo (writer) and Michael Cuesta (director)
  • Fellowship of the Sun: Reflections of the Light (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:12:14)
  • The Vampire Report: Special Edition (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:23:50)
  • Character Perspectives:
    • Hoyt
    • Pam
    • Karl
    • Steve Newlin

Season 3:

  • Enhanced Viewing – Dive deeper into the world of Bon Temps with the Enhanced Viewing experience. This in-episode mode includes four different features:
  • Character Perspectives – Learn more about what’s going on straight from the mouths of Jessica, Andy, Tommy, and Alcide
  • Flashback/Flashforward – Move through time in the world of Bon Temps. Flashback to relive pivotal moments for Flashforward to reveal the significance of a certain scene.
  • Pro/Anti-Vampire Feeds – Receive news updates and information from both organizations throughout the episode and decide which camp you support.
  • Histories/Bios/Hints/FYI – Don’t miss a beat with these informative facts, show hints and clues.
  • Episode Previews and Recaps
  • Commentary on Episode 2 “Beautifully Broken” by Alexander Skarsgård (Eric) and Scott Winant (Director).
  • Commentary on Episode 3 “It Hurts Me Too” by Alexander Woo (Writer) and Michael Lehmann (Director).
  • Commentary on Episode 4 “9 Crimes” by Kristin Bauer Van Straten (Pam) and David Petraca (Director).
  • Commentary on Episode 6 “I Got a Right to Sing the Blues” by Alan Ball (Creator and Executive Producer) and Denis O’Hare (Russell).
  • Commentary on Episode 7 “Hitting the Ground” by Anna Paquin (Sookie), Joe Manganiello (Alcide) and Brian Buckner (Writer).
  • Commentary on Episode 12 “Evil is Going On” with Stephen Moyer (Bill) and Anthony Hemingway (Director)
  • Post Mortems (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Episode 2 Anatomy of a Scene (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:32)– See the actors and crew get down to work with some not so vicious, but very wild trained wolves for the closing and opening scenes of Episodes 1 & 2.
  • Character Perspectives – These character perspectives are taken from the Enhanced Viewing mode picture-in-picture commentaries, but here they can be viewed separately, either all together or on an episode-by-episode basis.:
    • Jessica
    • Andy
    • Tommy
    • Alcide
  • Snoop Dogg – “Oh Sookie” Video (1080p/24; 00:02:58)
  • True Blood Lines – This interactive feature lets you explore the different character types in the world of True Blood (ex. Vampires, Werewolves, Faeries, Werepanthers, etc.) and the interconnection between each type in the ongoing storyline.

Season 4:

  • Enhanced Viewing – Dive deeper into the world of Bon Temps with the Enhanced Viewing experience. This in-episode mode includes three different features:
  • Character Perspectives – Find out the back story of what happened in Bon Temps while Sookie was missing in Faerieland, and get the inside scoop on all the comings and goings from your favorite characters including Andy, Arlene, Crystal, Debbie, Don Bartolo, Godric, Jason, LaFayette, Luna, Maxine, Melinda, Nan, Pam, and Tara.
  • Flashback/Flashforward – Move through time in the world of Bon Temps. Flashback to relive pivotal moments for Flashforward to reveal the significance of a certain scene.
  • Histories/Bios/Hints/FYI – Don’t miss a beat with these informative facts, show hints and clues.
  • Episode Previews and Recaps
  • Inside the Episodes (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Commentary on Episode 2 “You Smell Like Dinner” by Stephen Moyer (Bill), Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica), and Brian Buckner (writer, co-executive producer).
  • Commentary on Episode 3 “If you Love Me, Why Am I Dyin’?” by Anna Paquin (Sookie) and Alan Ball (creator and executive producer).
  • Commentary on Episode 4 “I’m Alive and on Fire” by Alexander Skarsgård (Eric) and Michael Lehmann (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 6 “I Wish I Was the Moon” by Raelle Tucker (writer, co-executive producer) and Gregg Fienberg (executive producer).
  • Commentary on Episode 9 “Let’s Get Out of Here” by Sam Trammell (Sam) and Romeo Tirone (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 10 “Burning Down the House” by Fiona Shaw (Marnie) Nancy Oliver (writer, co-executive producer), and Lesli Linka Glatter (director)
  • True Blood: The Final Touches (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:28:25) – A roundtable discussion with the True Blood post-production staff wherein they discuss much of their visual/special effects work.
  • True Blood Lines – This interactive feature lets you explore the different character types in the world of True Blood (ex. Vampires, Werewolves, Faeries, Werepanthers, etc.) and the interconnection between each type in the ongoing storyline.

Season 5:

  • Enhanced Viewing – Dive deeper into the world of Bon Temps with the Enhanced Viewing experience. This in-episode mode includes four different features:
  • Authority Confessionals – Learn more about the mysterious institution known as the Authority from Nora, Kibwe, Rosalyn, Salome, Steve, and Russell.
  • Flashback/Flashforward – Move through time in the world of Bon Temps. Flashback to relive pivotal moments for Flashforward to reveal the significance of a certain scene.
  • Pro/Anti-Vampire Feeds – Receive news updates and information from both organizations throughout the episode and decide which camp you support.
  • Histories/Bios/Hints/FYI – Don’t miss a beat with these informative facts, show hints and clues.
  • Episode Previews and Recaps
  • Inside the Episodes (1.78:1; 1080p/24) – Get the backstories on the making of the episodes with revealing interviews with the writers, directors, and cast.
  • Commentary on Episode 4 “We’ll Meet Again” by Chris Bauer (Andy), Alexander Woo (writer), and Romeo Tirone (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 8 “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Stephen Moyer (director/Bill) and Mark Hudis (writer).
  • Commentary on Episode 9 “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Denis O’Hare (Russell), Carrie Preston (Arlene), and Dan Attias (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 11 “Sunset” by Angela Robinson (co-executive producer/writer) and Lesli Linka Glatter (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 12 “Save Yourself” by Anna Paquin (Sookie), Alan Ball (creator and executive producer) and Michael Lehmann (director)
  • True Blood Episode Six: Autopsy (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 01:03:38) – Join the cast and crew as they dissect the major events of episode six and provide an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at how True Blood is made.
  • True Blood Lines – his interactive feature lets you explore the different character types in the world of True Blood (ex. Vampires, Werewolves, Faeries, Werepanthers, etc.) and the interconnection between each type in the ongoing storyline.
  • Authority Confessionals (broken out from the Enhanced Viewing mode) (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:31:04):
    • Nora (episode 1 & 7)
    • Kibwe (episode 2 & 9)
    • Steve Newlin (episode 3 & 10)
    • Rosalyn (episode 4 & 6)
    • Salome (episode 5 & 12)
    • Russell (episode 8 & 11)

Season 6:

  • Instant Preview – Watch free full episodes of current HBO and Cinemax series
  • Season 5 Recap
  • Episode Previews
  • Inside the Episodes (1.78:1; 1080p/24) – Get the backstories on the making of the episodes with revealing interviews with the writers, directors, and cast.
  • Commentary on Episode 4 “At Last” by Amelia Rose Blaire (Willa Burrell), and Alexander Woo (writer).
  • Commentary on Episode 6 “Don’t You Feel Me” by Daniel Kenneth (writer) and Howard Deutch (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 7 by Stephen Moyer (Bill) and Kate Barnow (writer)
  • Commentary on Episode 9 “Life Matters” by Carrie Preston (Arlene), and Brian Buckner (executive producer/writer).
  • Commentary on Episode 10 “Radioactive” by Brian Buckner (executive producer) and Kate Barnow (writer).
  • Vamp Camp Files – Get an inside look at the secret trove documents detailing the effort to eradicate vampires via the institution known as “Vamp Camp”
  • True Blood Lines – Uncover secrets from relationships past and present in this fully interactive guide and archive.

Season 7:

  • Instant Preview – Watch free full episodes of current HBO and Cinemax series.
  • Commentary on Episode 2 “I Found You” by Kate Barnow (writer) and Howard Deutch (director).
  • Commentary on Episode 4 “Death is Not the End” by Daniel Kenneth (writer), Gregg Fienberg (director), and Kristin Bauer van Straten (Pam).
  • Commentary on Episode 6 “Karma” by Angela Robinson (writer/director), Carrie Preston (Arlene), and Lauren Bowles (Holly).
  • Commentary on Episode 7 “May Be the Last Time” by Craig Chester (writer), Simon Jayes (director), and Chris Bauer (Andy).
  • Commentary on Episode 10 “Thank You” by Brian Buckner (executive producer/writer), Anna Paquin (Sookie), and Stephen Moyer (Bill).
  • True Blood: A Farewell to Bon Temps (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:28:12) – A discussion with Alan Ball and the actors on the ending of the series.
  • True Death: The Final Days on Set (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:14:52)
  • True Blood Lines

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

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This colossal 33-disc set of True Blood will make the perfect gift for the fan who does not yet own the series on Blu-ray. It looks as sounds just as wonderful as always on the high definition disc format and is a great way to relive all the scary, shocking, and sexy moments.

Additional Screen Captures

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