Thursday, July 7, 2011

True Blood Season 4!

So here is your long awaited recap and review of the True Blood Season 4 Premiere! Since HBO offered a sneak preview of the second episode back-to-back with the first we wrote about both episodes together... which was helpful because the second episode was much more exciting than the first.

(We waited until the second episode actually aired for everyone before posting this, so as not to ruin it for those who were not privy to the preview. Hopefully by now even you DVR-ers have seen both episode, if not - what are you waiting for? BEWARE OF SPOILERS!)

After a relatively disappointing Season 3 finale, the Season 4 opener "She's Not There" didn't really impress us that much. It definitely opened the door for lots of cool stuff to happen in this season, but it wasn't the shocking, exciting episode that we had been hoping for all year. Episode 2 "You Smell Like Dinner" was somewhat better and felt more like a premiere than episode 1 did. HBO was right to air them back-to-back, but they should have just opened with a 2 hour premiere instead of offering the second episode early as a "bonus" to only some of their viewers.

The opening of the premiere episode was... well... the phrase "what the fuck?" comes to mind. It was all kinds of WTF. Sookie goes to the faerie realm and it's all magic and glitter and trees bearing light fruit... and long lost grandfathers who haven't aged a day in over twenty years. Um, what?

Then the faerie realm turns all scary crazy creepy - and the beautiful faerie godmothers are actually hideous creatures trying to trap Sookie and others (Barry the bellhop!) in order to harvest new fairies. Again, what?

When Sookie finally returns to the regular world, her grandpa turns to dust and she finds out that she has been gone twelve and a half months. Yeah. When Sookie gets back, she sure has some explaining to do! I understand why she can't tell everyone "oh I was just off in faerie land for a year without realizing it" (not only would no one believe her, but she'd be putting herself in danger).

Yet still, this whole "vampire business for Bill" bullshit cover story is a really terrible lie. She couldn't pull a soap opera move and pretend she had amnesia for a year? Or that she was in a coma somewhere? Instead, everyone is supposed to believe that she was off doing "vampire business" for her lying ex boyfriend and let all her friends and family think she was dead. Whatever. I guess this is the writers' way of creating tension but it just doesn't feel genuine to me.

Personally I think in a case like this, the 'time skip' trope is kind of lazy television writing (it's right up there with 'it was all just a dream') because it's just way too easy to move the story along without actually moving the story along. Of course, we don't know that we'd necessarily care about what actually went down in the year that Sookie was missing anyway, so maybe this was the right decision after all.

So... Where Are They Now?
  • Bill is the King of Louisiana. Yep. Of course, he got the job by double crossing Queen Sophie-Anne and getting in cahoots with Nan Flanagan. Bill sure turned out to be a douche.

  • Jessica and Hoyt are living together like an old married couple... which would be okay if one of them wasn't a teenage vampire! Let's just say, it's not exactly domestic bliss. By the end of season 2, Jessica is the bathroom at the bar, getting it on with a fangbanger. "I can eat who I want!"
  • Pam has been forced to deal with the aftermath of "the Russell Edgington incident" which means human protestors outside the bar that she can't even kill without giving vampires even more of a bad name. As she put it, she has to "let these good people practice their Constitutional right to be fucking idiots."
  • Tara is leading a secret double life - after town-hopping for a while, she's living in New Orleans as a cage-fighter named Toni and is dating a woman.
  • Arlene and Terry are still adjusting to parenthood. Arlene is constantly freaking out about her baby doing anything "evil" and turning out like his biological daddy (Rene, although no one but the couple know this). “Decapitating Barbie dolls? What the hell kinda baby does that?”
  • Tommy isn't dead... he's living with Hoyt's mom (a fate worse than death) and faking a limp after being shot in the leg by big bro. (By the way, we totally called it back in September, that Sam probably "just shot him in the leg".)
  • Sam, permanently known as the bad guy who shot his own brother, has been attending "anger management" meetings... which turn out not to be "anger management" at all, but in fact just cocktail hour for him and his new shifter friends.
  • Andy is addicted to V. Finally got over that drinking problem... and now he's hooked on vampire blood. It's always something.
  • Jason is a cop. No really. You thought Andy Bellefleur was bad... apparently Bon Temps has no standards whatsoever for becoming an officer of the law. He's also the new "Daddy" to the inbreed were-panthers of Hot Shot, but without all the incest.
  • Felton and Crystal are back and they have a plan to make a baby (with Jason, who they're going to turn into a werepanther against his will)! If there was ever any couple we didn't want to hear from every again it was Crystal Norris and her brother-cousin-fiance.
  • Jesus and Lafayette are getting their witchcraft on... Jesus takes a reluctant Lafayette to a coven of witches led by a woman named Marnie and it becomes evident that Lafayette has some hard core power in him.
  • Eric starts out the season as the same old Eric... only now he owns Sookie's house! (Thinking sh was dead, Jason sold the house to a "mystery buyer". Twist!) This means he no longer needs an invitation to enter her home and he thinks that if he owns the house, then he can own her too.After a run in with the witches at the end of episode 2, it seems he's lost his memory...
At least there's something to look forward to in episode 3! If the books are any indication (look it up if you want, but we're not going to spoil anything) we think Eric's amnesia has the potential to take some very interesting turns!

New Characters:
  • Arlene's baby - Watching Arlene freak out about her son's potential for evil is just hilarious. We're pretty sure that kid is going to end up semi-evil, but we're not sure what will be the cause... Rene's genetics, something magical (this is Bon Temps) or maybe Arlene will drive him to it.
  • Portia Bellefleur - Portia is Andy's sister and the lawyer who tried to help Sookie get her house back. One might overlook her as an unimportant character, but as the head of the Bon Temps Chamber of Commerce, she's been seen with Bill as he tries to improve vampire-human relations. So  we think there's something going on that will come out later...
  • Luna - Sam has got three new shifter friends, but Luna is the most interesting of the three. Not only is it looking like she is Sam's new love interest, but unlike most shifters, she can turn into other people. She told the group about the "skinwalkers", evil shifters who gain the ability to shift into people by killing another shifter in their own family. (Her mother died giving birth to her.) We don't think it's just a coincidence that Tommy happened to pass through their secret meeting just at the moment she was explaining this to them. Wonder which of the Mickens brothers will try to get this power first.
  • Marnie the witch - There are quite a few new faces to be found at the coven meetings that Jesus and Lafayette have been attending (including one old face - Holly Cleary, the waitress from Merlotte's) but the most interesting, by far, is the leader Marnie. She is timid and quiet, but out of nowhere she's raising the dead and taking down Eric Northman! Of course, she may or may not be channeling some other hardcore witch, it's too early to tell.
The season opener may have been a little disappointing, but we're still psyched to see what happens next. If the season 4 teasers and trailers are any indication, we can expect to see Alcide the hottie werewolf again at some point, as well as Tara doing some ass-kicking outside of the ring. And of course, we know they didn't just drop that fairygodmother storyline in the first ten minutes. We're sure they'll be back.

Best quote of Episode 1:
Nan Flanagan: “I have proof. Scientific. People are far dumber than they realize.”

Best quote of Episode 2:
Sookie: “I will never be Eric Northman’s puppet."

Pam: “Shame for you, then. He pulls good string."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Transgender Actress Joins Cast of 'Hung'

This might be one of those "one step forward, two steps back" kind of situations...

The TV show Hung (HBO), about a financially strapped teacher who starts a business as a male prostitute or "happiness consultant," has decided to add a trans-storyline to the show for its third season, which premieres in October. The season will feature the lead character, Ray Drecker (played by Thomas Jane) looking to expand his customer base to include a transgender woman (and possibly gay men in the future). 

Ray's newest client is Kyla (played by Jamie Clayton), a transgender woman, who may eventually become his girlfriend. Now we know that there is absolutely lots and lots and lots of room for error here, but it's still pretty cool that there will be a transgender character on the show and that this character will be portrayed by an actual transgender actress. Clayton is most famous for her role on the makeover show, TRANSform Me (VH1).  

Hopefully the actual storyline will be better than Thomas Jane's and the executive producer's attempts to explain it... From
When Thomas first got wind of Ray's new adventures, "the idea of kissing a man was not a comfortable one for him, but he did great," says creator Colette Burson, who is exploring the possibility of making Kyla Ray's full-time girlfriend in Season 4. "They had to kiss for hours. After his initial shyness, she became a woman for him."
Any insecurities Thomas had disappeared when he arrived on set. "I asked, 'So where's the guy?' and was told, 'That's her!'" he told me at the 2011 Saturn Awards. "There was this beautiful girl who blew me away." [Via ONTD, emphasis mine]
Um... what? She IS a woman. Period. Don't fucking call her a man or a guy. She didn't become a woman for him. It's bad enough that Jane was so seemingly ignorant about the issue, but as the creator of the show, Burson should know better.

It's also interesting that Jane seems to be so clueless about transgender people, considering that he was married to Patricia Arquette, sister of transgender actress Alexis Arquette, for several years. (Their divorce became final a few days ago, on July 1, 2011.) Alexis' transition was documented in the film Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother in 2007.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blame the TV

So you might have noticed that we've been slacking off on the TV blogging a little bit lately. We have several reasons for that - some better than others - but we've decided that the best course of action is to blame the TV. We need a bigger, better, and brighter TV so that the trashy reality shows, vampire dramas, Lifetime movies, and other random programming that we enjoy can come through in better quality and get our blogging juices flowing again.

Our TV of choice for our fantasy ESC office would probably be something like this Sony ex521 LED TV. (And yes, even though it's only a fantasy at this point, we are already on a comparison shopping site checking out the deals. We just like to think of that as being prepared and planning ahead.) It's a BRAVIA TV, which means the colors are amazing - we could see all of the many separate and distinct orange skin tones present in the various Jersey Shore cast members! It also has a USB port built in, so we can view our own photos and videos. This should help us to organize our photos and also with our comic-related endeavors...and, let's be honest, it will help us procrastinate too.

We're going to start saving up. Sure, we have to get the office before we can get the new office TV, but you've got to start somewhere. Better blogging through better TV, here we come.