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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

True Blood
The Complete Fourth Season


Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Alexander Skarsgård, Chris Bauer, Nelsan Ellis, Deborah Ann Woll, Carrie Preston and Fiona Shaw
HBO Home Entertainment
RRP: £51.05
Certificate: 18
Available 21 May 2012

In the latest spell-binding series, Sookie Stackhouse finds herself entangled in a supernatural love triangle where she must decide between Bill, the new Vampire King of Mississippi and Eric, who is not the Viking he once was. However, are there bigger dilemmas on the horizon? When a charismatic Witch named Marnie threatens to overpower the Vampires once and for all, her Coven of white witches and mediums tempt Lafayette, Tara and Jesus with other worldly powers. Jessica tries to adjust to domestic life with Hoyt, while Jason finds himself alone in werepanther territory. Can Arlene and Terry come to terms with their unusual baby and will Alcideneed to free himself from the clutches of an old flame...?

Season four of True Blood sees the writing go from strength to strength. This collection, spread over five Blu-ray discs (for some unfathomable reason), collects together all 12 episodes of season four. As you'd expect, we start off where season three left off, but it soon becomes evident that all of our beloved characters are due to go through some sort of change. Well, it's only natural to stir up the storylines and keep everything fresh.

The main season story line is the introduction of a peaceful witch, Marnie, who becomes seduced by the power of the dark side and allows herself to be possessed by a spirit who wants her vengeance on vampire-kind. She has the power to wipe out their numbers, something that the vampires can't allow to happen. However, with public relations being important, how can they rid themselves of this threat without risking a damaging public image massacre?

Perhaps part of the reason that the show is going from strength to strength is that the writers are concentrating more on the characters than on the nudity and violence. Don't get me wrong, this is still a show which almost guarantees naked flesh nearly every episode, it's just that it now plays second fiddle to the intricate storylines (which you could argue wasn't so much the case in seasons one and two).

The downside with having so may characters to service becomes evident at the end of the season. The penultimate episode neatly ties up the witch story arc, but in order to wrap up each character's story arc for season three, another episode is required - and it really does take an entire episode to set everything straight, as well as set up the obligatory cliffhangers to whet the appetite for the next season.

Extras include True Blood: The Final Touches (28 min, 25 sec round table informal chat with the creators and key crew as they discuss various elements of this season); True Blood Lines (interactive guide on the main characters and different species); Character Perspectives (enhanced viewing featurette which features picture in picture video for each episode. At key points actors appear on screen, in character, to give you a little more background information); and audio commentaries for several episodes.

If you're a fan of the show then this is a no-brainer. My only slight moan is why HBO spread this over five discs. This would have easily fitted over, at the most, two Blu-rays. But then I presume most people would baulk at paying over £50 for two discs.


Darren Rea

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