True Blood: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray]
by Various Directors
Review by Charles Mohapel
HBO Home Video Blu-ray ISBN/ITEM#: B00280LZAO
Date: 26 May 2010 List Price $79.98 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: IMDB.com / Show Official Info /
Creator: Alan Ball
Based on the "Southern Vampire" series of novels by Charlaine Harris.
Cast (Series Cast Summary - 15 of 108):
Anna Paquin ... Sookie Stackhouse Stephen Moyer ... Bill Compton
Jim Parrack ... Hoyt Fortenberry
Sam Trammell ... Sam Merlotte
Ryan Kwanten ... Jason Stackhouse
Rutina Wesley ... Tara Thornton
Chris Bauer ... Detective Andy Bellefleur
Nelsan Ellis ... Lafayette Reynolds
William Sanderson ... Sheriff Bud Dearborne
Carrie Preston ... Arlene Fowler
Alexander Skarsgård ... Eric Northman
Deborah Ann Woll ... Jessica Hamby
Todd Lowe ... Terry Bellefleur
Adina Porter ... Lettie Mae Thornton
Michelle Forbes ... Maryann Forrester
True Blood: The Complete First Season was based on Dead Until Dark, Book 1 of the "Southern Vampire" series of novels by Charlaine Harris, so it should come as no surprise that True Blood: The Complete Second Season is based on Living Dead in Dallas, Book 2.
After watching each episode, I suggest playing it again with Enhanced Viewing enabled (Requires BonusView). This very cool interactive feature is packed full of Character Perspectives, Flashback / Flash Forward, Pro / Anti-Vampire Feeds, and Hints / FYI. If you want to see something they highlighted, follow the simple on-screen instructions.
When I read that the commentary for Season 2, Episode 2: Keep This Party Going featured Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette Reynolds) and Michael Lehmann who directed this episode, I expected lots of fireworks, or at least hilarity. Well known for his improvisational skills on the set, Nelsan is often the focus of his co-stars, sometimes to the detriment of their own performances. But instead of getting Nelsan at the top of his game, he came across as flat as Lafayette immediately after he got of Eric's dungeon in Fangtasia. Sadly this commentary was very laid back and sleepy.
The commentary for Season 2, Episode 7: Release Me features Producer Raelle Tucker (she wrote this episode) and Michael Ruscio who directed this episode. Another episode, another laid back commentary.
Things definitely pick up fast with the commentary for Season 2, Episode 8: Timebomb by Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton), Director John Dahl, and Alexander Skarsgård (Eric Northman). Without a doubt, this is my favorite commentary of Season 2. My favourite moment comes when Swede Alexander Skarsgård joked about working with Dane Allan Hyde (Godric) and speaking in "Scandinavian", meaning no one else could understand them. (More than likely they spoke in Swedish since it is more commonly spoken in Scandinavia.) Stephen Moyer says this show is a meritocracy – if you're good, you stick around.
The commentary for Season 2, Episode 10: New World in My View by Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse) and Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte) is lots of fun and my second favorite of Season 2. Here we learned that both Nelsan Ellis and Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton) are graduates of the acclaimed Julliard School.
When it comes to the commentary for Season 2, Episode 11: Frenzy, it features Alan Ball (Creator / Executive Producer and writer of this episode), Rutina Wesley, and Daniel Minahan who directed it. Alan Ball was as laid back here as he was in doing the commentary for the series pilot and this commentary is also low key, but lots of fun.
Season 2, Episode 12: Beyond Here Lies Nothin' is a double-barrelled treat since the finale for Season 2 comes with not one but two separate commentaries. The first features Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse) and Michelle Forbes (Maryann Forrester), starting off as a gigglefest as they just had so much fun. Author Charlaine Harris makes a cameo appearance in this episode, sitting at Sam's bar having a drink as Bons Temps celebrates Maryann's demise.
The second commentary for Beyond Here Lies Nothin' features Alexander Woo who wrote this episode and Michael Cuesta who directed it. Another low key peek behind the scenes during the shooting of this episode, it at least has the saving grace of being interesting.
When it comes to the "Character Perspectives", the one with Hoyt was funny at first, but quickly lost its appeal since he focuses on minutiae.
My favorite by a Louisiana country mile is the one with Pam. She's so delightfully catty, keeping her fangs "hidden", but showing her obsidian-sharp verbal claws. Best of all, she also provided some interesting insights on Eric, Godric, Stan, Isabelle, Dr. Patricia Ludwig, Nan Flanagan, Bill, Lorena, Queen Sophie-Anne, Hadley Hale (Sookie's cousin), Jessica. Also, Jason Stackhouse – look out, Pam is now interested in you.
Listening to Karl (Maryann's chef) share his thoughts, his "hero worship" of her comes across as appropriately creepy, but he became very tiresome all too quickly.
Watching Steve Newlin foaming at the mouth, he rapidly becomes a bad parody of a televangelist.
Listening to "Fellowship of the Sun – Reflections of Light", these people are scarier than the vampires and dumber than a sack full of hammers. If these are the best hope of humanity against the vampires, we're all in big trouble.
In "The Vampire Report: Special Edition" Victoria Davis was hilarious as the host of this special. The spin doctors of the vampires are infinitely more talented and more intelligent than those for humanity.
Do yourself a big favor and have a True Blood: The Complete Second Season and whet your appetite for Season 3. The episodes themselves rock, especially so on Blu-ray, but while the bonus features are abundant, most of them did little to make my pulse race. The only exceptions were the commentaries for Episode 8: Timebomb, Episode 10: New World in My View, and Episode 11: Frenzy in that order, plus Pam's "Character Perspective".
While I'm not a fan of most of the bonus features, they're simply the icing on the cake and without a doubt, it's the twelve episodes of Season 2 that form the cake. And what a magnificent cake it is - cut yourself a big slice, sit back, and enjoy it.