After mulling it over for a couple of weeks I chose to read some of the reviews that have been offered up since True Blood - Season 3 ended.
Beyond the Ken Tucker review ‘True Blood’ season finale review: ‘Evil Is Going On,’ and on, and on… , which he published right after the show aired and which I linked to, I hadn't read any reviews or recaps until the last few days. Next to Tucker's, I found the best* one here. (*By best I mean more review-like in the old school sense of not being emotionally involved but rather assessing the episode in a non-partisan manner, providing some insights. Maybe I'm getting confused about "recaps" & "reviews" but if so, there seems to be a lot of overlap no matter where I read about the show.)
True Blood fans and critics can be extremely outspoken about the show and IMO, that is a testament to how great it is. Many fans had reactions to the last half of season 3 through the finale that range from bitterly disappointed to angry to perplexed to worried to feeling betrayed, let down...it goes on...and on...and on. For the critics, the majority of whom seem to have climbed on the the True Blood train because they were told to, it was easy to savage the show. In some ways it feels like they were champing at the bit from the get-go to really lay into True Blood and spit as much vitriol at it as they could. And they sure did.
But what some critics, as well as the folks unfamiliar with Seasons 1 and 2 (sometimes the same individuals) fail to get is that True Blood is a picture in the making. It is unfinished and therefore in some ways feels incomplete. I believe creator Alan Ball was concerned enough about the possible reaction from both critics and fans alike that his "just wait until season 4 video" was construed especially that reason.
I sat through one "bad" season each of both The Sopranos and Ball's previous premium cable show, Six Feet Under (it rant for 6 yrs., total). I think I loved the series ending of Six Feet Under more than any other television show ending ever. Point is, both shows went on to produce more seasons and they were mostly good-to-great seasons. Another complicating factor for assessing how "good" True Blood is and which is constantly hashed over, happens when one watches the HBO premium television show True Blood through the lens of having read the Sookie Stackhouse book series a/k/a "The Southern Gothic Mysteries" by Charlaine Harris (which so 'ya know, I did during season one of True Blood and since. I keep them separate just as both Harris and Ball have asked the audience(s) to do. Not hard for me as I have a short memory for most books I read years ago). The books are written from Sookie's POV only but the show, which features Sookie as the central character, ventures further into other character's hearts and minds. This is Alan Ball's vision, not Charlaine Harris's which is how it should be. Harris sold the rights to her Sookie Stackhouse series to HBO/Alan Ball to develop into a television series. She has and will continue to express her vision for Sookie through her books. The farther we get into Alan Ball's head (so to speak) the crazier this show may become because AB is a boundary-pusher. He is unafraid to try things that may fail instead of playing it safe and never venturing far enough as many shows do, to be able to reach an unforgettable place.
OK. I think I can rest my case about why I'm unconcerned about how AB chose to end True Blood Season 3 and I'm totally jazzed about season 4. Can't wait to start hearing more about it!
Here's someone who will be featured in S4. Recurring or featured I'm not clear on, yet. Lara Pulver's ethereal quality/looks make her a perfect Claudine.
Here are some of my favourite moments from Season 3. EDIT/ If you have some faves, I' d love to hear about them. Mine are going to take a while to finish.
Here Sookie torments the charred Russell Edgington who has been quite cruel to her and those she loves (Tara via Franklin, Bill). Even more, Sookie has heard Russell's demonic laugh when something goes terribly wrong for someone else including Sookie herself. Have the fans who are up in arms because Sookie laughed maniacally as she poured Talbot's gooey remains down the disposal considered that she was dishing back to him what he put forth? Not good enough? OK. How about the equally likely possibility that Sookie has ingested so much vampire blood after nearly being drained twice in a matter of what, a week, that she's not exactly herself? Or, since we are on Bon Temps time which moves very slowly she's been through enough in roughly 8 weeks (3 seasons) to drive the most sane person to do things that they otherwise would not do? OK. One more and I admit this one I hadn't fully formed an opinion on until I saw the idea floated elsewhere (see link above)
POSSIBLE SPOILER. You gotta know that faeries are not all sweetness and light. Take a look at the near-identical expression on Claudine's (Lara Pulver) face when she knocks the attacking Bill (Stephen Moyer) on his ass.