Blu-ray
Recommended
4 stars
Amazon
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Overall Grade
4 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
3.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
5 Stars
Supplements
3 Stars
High-Def Extras
2 Stars
Bottom Line
Recommended

True Blood: The Complete Third Season

Street Date:
May 31st, 2011
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
May 27th, 2011
Movie Release Year:
2010
Studio:
HBO
Length:
730 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

I was really into 'True Blood' when it first aired on HBO. I thought to myself, 'Now here's a vampire show with some balls.' Over the next few years we've been inundated with so many movies and TV shows featuring vampires and werewolves that I've lost count. Even though I still want to know what happens to Sookie, Bill, and the rest of the nutty people that populate 'True Blood,' I've got to say that I'm about all vampired-out. I've reached my vampire saturation point, and can only take so much snarling and furrowing of brows. I hate to say it, but I think I'm at the end of my rope with the whole genre. Yes, that even means with 'True Blood'. It's still the best vampire show on television, but personally, I'm through with vampires.

'True Blood' is now in its third season. The second season ended with the cliffhanger of Bill's kidnapping right after he had proposed to Sookie. The third season picks right up where season two left off. Bill is being driven down the road as three men hold him down drinking his blood. We've learned throughout the seasons that vampire blood gives people a high like no other drug can. It becomes a hot commodity. One of season three's subplots revolves around the dealing of vampire blood and if any vampires in the area are actually in on it. The blood of their kind is sacred, and if one of them is giving it away freely there will be hell to pay.

I found myself getting lost in the murky world of the vampire hierarchy during season three. Vampire kings, queens, and sheriffs pop up all over as we find out that vampires have a strict chain of command. Bill finds himself being made to choose who his allegiance will be with. Will he remain loyal to his queen, or will he become aligned with the Vampire King of Mississippi?

We do get some noteworthy information on Bill's past during this season. We get to see his vampiric origins and that he's actually loved before. His original wife is a main plot point in this season as he thinks back about her. Does he really love Sookie if he also loved someone else? Is he truly over the loss of his wife? It's the most interesting question of the season. We can see that Bill is really struggling with the thought that he may lose Sookie in the same way. Maybe he's doomed to never love because of his condition.

For fans of the series, season three continues on with all the sex, gore, and vampire love stories you've been become accustomed to. I find myself growing disenchanted with the show, however. Not because it's a bad show – it blows 'Vampire Diaries' out of the water – but the whole vampire scene has become an annoyance. I can only take so many actors glaring and growling at each other before it's just too much, and now with the heightened werewolf activity this has become even more prolific and intense. Fans will surely love this new season just like they've loved the previous ones, but I think I'm about ready to call it quits.

Blu-ray Vital Statistics

'True Blood's third season comes packaged just like the other Blu-ray seasons. The five 50GB Dual-layer discs are housed in cardboard fold-out style packaging, with each disc having its own hub. The fold-out housing slips nicely into a cardboard slipcover with attractive 'True Blood'-inspired cover art. According to the case, this season of 'True Blood' has been coded for region A.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Like it's previous Blu-ray releases 'True Blood: Complete Third Season' looks every bit as great as it ever has. HBO's 1080p/AVC-encoded image casts the city of Bon Temps and its residents in a crystal clear, but film-like presentation.

The colors in the south – like the earthy browns, rough reds, and rich greens – jump off the screen with this darkly saturated color palette. Skin tones never look unnatural. Everyone's face and skin retain their humanistic hues, down to Anna Paquin's pale rosy cheeks. Fine detail is optimum during the many intense close-ups that are peppered throughout the season. Blacks are another source of optimal viewing pleasure. They're deep, inky, and add depth and dimension to the picture. Since so much of the show is shot at night or in the dark it's imperative that the transfer does those scenes justice. The image maintains a nice filmic quality with a hovering, gritty layer of grain. The grittiness never distracts from the presentation, but rather adds to its Southern charm.

I didn't notice any egregious instances of technical anomalies. There's some light, negligible, banding here and there. Slight crushing also rears its head from time to time, but there's absolutely nothing big here that should worry fans who are excited to pick up this set.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

As far as I'm concerned, HBO has delivered nothing but demo-worthy audio presentations with each and every 'True Blood' Blu-ray release. Season three is no different, having the same kind of lossless track that you can use to show off your home theater sound system.

LFE is alive and well. It thumps along with the Southern-inspired soundtrack and during the more intense moments. Growls, groans, and gunshots are all given weighty low-end bass to really drive the sound home. Rear channels are ripe with activity as werewolves encircle their prey. Directionality works wonders as the wolves dive in and out of the scene, trying to tear off chunks from their latest victim. The standard whoosh that accompanies any fast-moving vampire seamlessly travels through the channels and follows them wherever they go.

Dialogue is perfectly intelligible, and even with those deep southern accents it's easy to understand everything that's being said. It's hard to compare the two, but if I had to I'd say that you'd be even more pleased with the demo-worthy audio than you will be with the stellar video.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • Audio Commentaries — Six of the season's episodes include commentaries. The tracks are for "Beautiful Broken," "It Hurts Me Too," "9 Crimes," "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues," "Hitting the Ground," and "Evil is Going On." Commentators include directors Scott Winant, Michael Lehmann, David Petrarca, Anthony Hemingway; actors Alexander Skarsgard, Kristin Bauer Van Straten, Denis O'Hare, Anna Paquin, Joe Manganiello, Stephen Moyer; and writers Alexander Woo and Brian Buckner. Alan Ball also finds some time to give a commentary on one of the episodes. Overall, these inclusions really delve into the series as a whole and its genesis up until this point so they are well worth your time.
  • Post Mortems (HD, 22 min.) — These tiny shorts aired after the episodes on HBO. They were more like viral marketing than anything, but each episode has their own Post Mortem that you can watch. Many of them are simply news stories or mini fake documentaries about the universe in which 'True Blood' exists. Many of them are tongue-in-cheek, much like the series. For those of you who didn't see the show on television I don't really want to spoil what's to come. Just check them out, you won't regret it.
  • Anatomy of a Scene: Episode 2 (HD, 11 min.) — Alan Ball and the crew for the season's second episode put together a scene that includes a werewolf attack. This is a pretty standard behind-the-scenes look at shooting a TV show, but it's still interesting to see how they put everything together to get one scene done.
  • True Blood Lines (HD) — If you have trouble keeping everyone – and everything – straight in 'True Blood' like I sometimes do, then this interactive guide to the show is going to be your best friend. All the information that you'd want to know about the creatures and people that populate the show is included here.
  • Previews and Recaps (HD) — If you choose to do so you can watch the "Previously On" segments along with the teaser spots that were constructed for the subsequent episodes.
  • Music Video (HD, 3 min.) — Snoop Dog performs a song entitled "Oh Sookie".

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

  • Enhanced Viewing Experiences — These Blu-ray exclusives are provided on every episode. EVE provides a Picture-in-Picture presentation that allows you to get insights about the characters. Flash-forwards and flash-backs are also included so you can travel back or forward in time to see essential scenes involving certain characters. Information from Jessica, Andy, Tommy, and Alcide are all provided here as they talk about their characters and what's driving them. Trivia about the show rounds out the package. These are a nice exclusive to have, but seem to get a little tedious after a while. Still, fans of the show will be pleased to have these in this set. It's yet another way to dive into the bowels of 'True Blood'.

Final Thoughts

I may be getting to my breaking point with the vampire genre, but 'True Blood' shows no sign of slowing down. To its credit, it's certainly the most interesting and worthwhile vampire show out there. These are the vampires that legend talks about. They don't sparkle – thank goodness. I've always enjoyed the dark humor of 'True Blood' and may continue watching if I can get past all the angsty action. Fans will be elated that HBO has put out another stellar release with fantastic video and demo-worthy audio. The wide variety of special features adds to the need for purchasing this season set. Recommended.

Technical Specs

  • 5 BD-50 Blu-ray Discs

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • French DTS 5.1
  • Spanish DTS 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • English, English SDH, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish

Supplements

  • Enhanced Viewing Mode - All Twelve Episodes

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