True Blood: Season Two (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-01-2010, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

87






Studio and Year: Warner/HBO - 2009
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Feature running time: 720 Minutes
Genre: TV/Drama/Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 2.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese

Starring:Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Chris Bauer, Jim Parrack, Todd Lowe, Deborah Ann Woll, Alexander Skarsgard, Carrie Preston
Directed by: Various
Created by: Alan Ball based on the novels by Charlaine Harris
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 25, 2010







"Ready for seconds?"



Film Synopsis:

Welcome back to Bon Temps, home to mystery, Southern sensuality and dark secrets. For Sookie Stackhouse, life is more dangerous than ever after she and Bill become more deeply involved. Meanwhile, Tara finds herself in love and under a spell; Sam puts his trust in an unlikely ally; Jason becomes involved with an anti-vampire sect; Eric recruits Sookie to investigate the disappearance of a 2,000 year old vampire; and Maryann is revealed to possess a power that can control almost everyone in town. Then, after making a shocking discovery, Sookie, Bill and Sam must form the last line of defense against a diabolical plan that raises this award-winning series to bloody new heights.






My Take:

True Blood is a one hour HBO TV series that takes place in the back woods Louisiana town of Bon Temps. It is a small community where everyone knows everyone else. The people of Bon Temps are your typical small town folk who take an active interest in each others business and seem to get along pretty well regardless. The world in which they reside is different. In their world vampire and humans coexist together in society. This was made possible by a scientist's invention called Tru Blood, a synthetic blood which can be bought at most local mini-marts and provides sustenance for vampires. Like humans they now have civil rights and an association to protect them. No longer do they have to feed on humans and their existence while not common place is looked upon as a regular occurrence. There are still many though who remain distrustful and apprehensive of them. Debates about the appropriateness and safety of allowing them to live among humans is a topic that is regularly debated among religious leaders and government officials.

In Bon Temps the presence of vampires has been much less of an issue until now. Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) knows how it feels to be an outcast. Since she was a child she has had the ability to hear people's thoughts. She has learned some level of control over it when around family and friends but she often has trouble controlling the rush of images and thoughts that flood her mind. She tends to see things differently than most and is open-minded about the integration of vampires. She became romantically involved with a hansdome 173 year old vampire named Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), after he moved back to Bon Temps and the two have become an item after going through a series of misfortunes that nearly resulted in both of their deaths.

When we last checked in with Sookie Stackhouse, the mystery surrounding a Bon Temps serial killer had finally been solved, to the town's infinite relief. Sookie is thrilled that soul mate Bill Compton escaped with his life (or is it death?) after coming to her daylight defense. On other fronts, Sookie's pal Tara Thornton sets down new roots with an affluent benefactor, Maryann Forrester; Sam Merlotte resolves to get in shape-shift shape after a forest foray; roguish brother Jason finds new purpose with an anti-vampire sect; and detective Andy Bellefleur licks his wounds after being proven wrong about Jason's guilt. But just as things are settling down, some deadly new twists threaten to ratchet up the saga of Sookie Stackhouse to bloody new heights!

This is an original show that feels unlike most other vampire based themes, especially compared to the rash of tween based films/shows that have arisen lately. Alan Ball is no stranger to successful cable television series. Six feet under was another well conceived and executed creation of his. Like that show this one's dark side isn't overtly so (even though we are talking about vampires). Its strength is drawn from interesting characters and intelligent writing. Anna Paquin is a talented actress who has been in the business for a long time for someone so young. She and Stephen Moyer have no trouble carrying the torch as the show's center piece although I like the fact that this season widens the focus with more of a multifaceted storyline. Tara (Rutina Wesley) and Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) remain among my favorite supporting players with vampire sheriff Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), newly turned Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) all coming in close seconds.

The show is perfectly paced as the storyline plays out over the season's twelve 1 hour episodes. It draws you into this alternate reality (of sorts) that feels relatively normal outside of the rather obvious (or maybe not) elephant in the room. Most would initially consider that elephant to be the vampires that have come to town and the assertion that they are inherently evil. Assuming that is true than you probably aren't looking hard enough because there is more to the events and people (both dead and alive) of Bon Temps than meets the eye. THAT is what makes this show so interesting and fun to watch. The season is spread out over five BD-50 dual layered Blu-ray discs. The bonus content is integrated and viewable by selecting the Enhanced viewing option that accompanies each episode. When applicable there are pop-ups (both video and text based) that features lots of trivia (both faux and actual), interviews, background on characters, animated maps, hints, behind the scenes content, flashback/forward timeline options and more. There are also seven audio commentaries by writers, directors, and cast members that further enhance the viewing experience. After watching last season I found that I quickly became addicted to this show and season two is no different as it has plenty of twists, turns and surprises as we follow the gang from Bon Temps as they encounter new evil that will require help from the most unlikely of sources if they are to survive.




Parental Guide:

The show contains violence, language, sexual content, nudity and strong thematic material.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 88



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 86


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

True Blood: Season Two comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner/HBO featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 19 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.1 mbps.

This 1.78:1 framed video presentation offers good high definition resolution that has a gritty, filmic texture that works very well with the show's theme. Images are stable and sharp with plenty of discernible texture and revealing fine detail during close-ups. Many of the show's sequences are shot in uneven and low lighting. Grain tends to take on more prominence during these segments which sometimes leaves backgrounds appearing a little muddled. Shadow delineation and depth is quite good. Blacks are deep while exhibiting appreciable dynamic range with stable yet slightly elevated contrast that never infringes upon fidelity. Colors are snappy and bright and sullen and muted where appropriate. Fleshtones appear descriptive with variable depth that brings out the finest gradations in the differing complexional types among the cast. The DTS-HD MA soundtrack is among the best I have heard from a TV series. The presentation is open with superb rendering of spatial sounds and off camera directional cues. Dynamics are punchy and sharp without being harsh or edgy. Bass response is deep, authoritative and on occasion room filling. Voices are clearly intonated with smooth sibilant free highs that offer excellent delineation that makes small inflectional changes detectable. Surround activity is abundant and predominantly comes in the form of atmosphere generating ambience however there is also effective use of discretely placed sounds that occasionally emanate from both the front and rear channels. The result is an immersive and involving soundscape that augments the show's dark theme.



Bonus Features:


  • (HD) Enhanced viewing/True Blood Live feed option on each disc- Enhanced viewing includes pop-up video/text with trivia (both faux and actual), faux commercial ads interviews, background on characters, animated maps, hints, behind the scenes content and more. True Blood live feed allows a link to Face Book and Twitter accounts to unlock gifts, post scenes directly to your wall and more.

  • Seven audio commentaries featuring cast/crew - Discs 1, 3, 4, 5 on episodes: 2, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12

  • (HD) Character perspectives (by episode option): Hoyt, Pam, Karl, Steve Newlin

  • (HD) Fellowship of the sun: Reflections of light - 4 segments

  • (HD) The Vampire Report: Special Edition - 23 minute faux TV Show




Final Thoughts:

True Blood is a well written character driven show that pushes the envelope with its eclectic premise which is drawn from the novels by Charlaine Harris. Being a fan I appreciate its evolving, multi-layered story and different perspective on the vampire genre. Season Two continues in that vein with its compelling, fun and dark theme. The show looks and sounds terrific in high definition and contains an assortment of fan friendly bonus features that enhance the experience on Blu-ray Disc. This season two set is a must have for fans and comes recommended if you're looking for a rewarding and darkly entertaining TV series. Enjoy!









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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post #2 of 10 Old 06-01-2010, 01:38 PM
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I liked the first season and the second holds up equally well. Still, am I the only one sick of vampires? I think the whole genera jumped the werewolf two Twilights ago.
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-02-2010, 01:03 AM
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I love this show. Its very catchy and extremely addicting! Ralph, I would have not watched season 1 if it weren't for your review. I didn't know much about the show until your review and I figure I would give it a try and I loved season 1. I watched season 2 over the course of 3 days and was very pleased although I must say that I thought season 2 was not as good as the first season. I would give season 1 a 5/5 and season 2 between a 4 and 4.5. Hopefully season 3 is at least equally as good as the first 2 seasons. I loved the whole Maryanne story line. She was perfect for this part and I even felt intimidated whenever they showed her up close!
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-02-2010, 04:35 PM
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maybe it played better when you can watch all the eps one after the other.....but when my wife and I watched Season 2....and had to wait a full week for the next ep, it was horrible. NOTHING HAPPENED. This season was spinning its wheels way too much. The whole Marianne storyline should have been finished within 5 eps max, yet they drug it on ALL SEASON. UGH.
I own Season 1 (which I loved), and if Season 3 is any good, I will probably end up purchasing this disc just to complete my set....maybe it'll be better the second time!
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-02-2010, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

maybe it played better when you can watch all the eps one after the other.....but when my wife and I watched Season 2....and had to wait a full week for the next ep, it was horrible. NOTHING HAPPENED. This season was spinning its wheels way too much. The whole Marianne storyline should have been finished within 5 eps max, yet they drug it on ALL SEASON. UGH.
I own Season 1 (which I loved), and if Season 3 is any good, I will probably end up purchasing this disc just to complete my set....maybe it'll be better the second time!

I did notice some filler as well, but not to the degree you describe. I think there was generally enough happening in the subplots (Godric, Fellowship of the Sun, various romances, etc.) to keep it moving. If you were only mainly interested in that one aspect of the story, though, I can see how the rest could seem like filler.


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post #6 of 10 Old 06-03-2010, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubJunk View Post

I did notice some filler as well, but not to the degree you describe. I think there was generally enough happening in the subplots (Godric, Fellowship of the Sun, various romances, etc.) to keep it moving. If you were only mainly interested in that one aspect of the story, though, I can see how the rest could seem like filler.

I really liked the Godric stuff. And anything involving Jessica or Eric. I guess I just hated the whole Marianne storyline to begin with, so it just felt painfully long (also, i hated Eggs).
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-03-2010, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTripps View Post

Still, am I the only one sick of vampires? I think the whole genera jumped the werewolf two Twilights ago.

Not sick of Vampires here. But I like the horror genre in general, so disliking one or two films would not sour me on all of them. I don't paint with a broad brush, and judge all films on their individual merits. But that's just me.

Art
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-03-2010, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post

I loved the whole Maryanne story line. She was perfect for this part and I even felt intimidated whenever they showed her up close!

Playing Admiral Cain in the Battle Star Galactica series (and the Razor movie) may have given her some gravitas.

I was studying Bacchus/Dionysus cults for a Humanities class when this season was on first run. Alan Ball really likes his ancient mythology.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-04-2010, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

maybe it played better when you can watch all the eps one after the other.....but when my wife and I watched Season 2....and had to wait a full week for the next ep, it was horrible. NOTHING HAPPENED. This season was spinning its wheels way too much. The whole Marianne storyline should have been finished within 5 eps max, yet they drug it on ALL SEASON. UGH.
I own Season 1 (which I loved), and if Season 3 is any good, I will probably end up purchasing this disc just to complete my set....maybe it'll be better the second time!

I can see how this show would get frustrating by watching only 1 episode per week. I don't know if I would enjoy the show as much if it were only 1 episode a week. I can see your point on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

I really liked the Godric stuff. And anything involving Jessica or Eric. I guess I just hated the whole Marianne storyline to begin with, so it just felt painfully long (also, i hated Eggs).

I liked the Godric storyline, but hated how that story line quickly faded. They could have really built something there I thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTripps View Post

Playing Admiral Cain in the Battle Star Galactica series (and the Razor movie) may have given her some gravitas.

I was studying Bacchus/Dionysus cults for a Humanities class when this season was on first run. Alan Ball really likes his ancient mythology.

I have never seen Battlestar, but it may be something I start watching due to the excellent reviews its received. Perhaps this summer since I will have more time with most TV shows recently ending.
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-04-2010, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post



I liked the Godric storyline, but hated how that story line quickly faded. They could have really built something there I thought.

Gotta agree with you there....but I'd rather they leave us wanting more, than wearing things out like show many shows do
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