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DVD Review: ‘True Blood: Season 3’

★★★★☆

With the release of vamp drama True Blood’s third season on DVD and Blu-ray, it’s hard to ignore the show’s rapid climb from cult favourite to ratings winner, a result of its sexy and explosive appearance, making it one of the hottest shows on television in recent years.

Whilst at first glance True Blood may just appear to be another vampire show with a good looking cast, a big budget, and an abundance of cleverly placed selections of fresh music, it really sets itself apart from the rest. Its popular appeal is self-evident, but why is it that the show is attracting a wide range of audiences and not just the “I hate my parents” crowd?
First of all, it maintains a cult following, long after it lost the ‘cool’ factor amongst cult audiences and secondly it is now becoming the subject of academic interest for reasons relating to the creative manner in which it deals with issues of race, abuse, family, and sex.
True Blood is violent, passionate, and funny all at the same time and presents a young and sizzling cast that includes Anna Paquin, Alexander Skarsgard, and Ryan Kwenta.
It offers much more than the teen-flick vampire tripe we have become so accustomed to since the birth of the Twilight series and manages to tackle contemporary and historical issues without detracting from the exhilarating performances of its cast and its frenetic and energetic style of production.

By utilising the deep south of the US as its setting, and by recognising the racial tensions and political issues that have existed in the US since the birth of the nation, the presence of Vampires trying to live peacefully amongst humans within the modern world is cleverly contextualised.

True Blood introduces a new social outcast in the form of the vampire, one that is to be feared because of the differences that exist between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Their existence represents the dangerous threat of temptation, symbolised by their blood – known as ‘V’ – which acts a hallucinogenic drug for humans, highlighting issues of drug crime and substance abuse and ultimately suggesting that without the presence of the vampire drug issues would not exist.
The contextualisation of urban problems that exist within the US highlights the ignorance of white America towards the true causes of its countries’ problems and the disparity that exists between the white middle class and the poor ethnic minorities that are forgotten about in the ghettoes, establishing a powerful social critique. This is an academics wet dream!
However, with all of that said, the third season is all about the entertainment factor, getting back to the hard-hitting vampire stuff, with lots of blood, lots of sex, and the introduction of an array of new creatures that includes Shape-shifters, Werewolves and Witches. Love triangles continue to threaten and the potential loss of key characters seems evident.
Arguably, True Blood: Season 3 is the best to date as it is more visually potent than the previous two and allows for the story to really begin escalating to climactic levels. Characters are explored in more depth, with particular attention paid to Sam Merlotte’s background and the history of Eric Northman, and eyes will be opened to even more twists and turns in the power of True Blood’s take on evolution.
In Bon Temps everyone has a secret to hide and True Blood: Season 3 really does let the cat out of the bag. Be prepared for some shocks!
Russell Cook