I wish I could say I was surprised to hear that the coming season of "True Blood" will be the show's last, but I can't. I don't think too many fans of the show can, either. After a disappointing sixth season, one that plowed through storylines willy-nilly and made little effort to wrap them up in a way that was either satisfying or logical (do I need to say more than Warlow, people?), it seems that it may really be time to hang it up. But, just in case we find ourselves struggling with Sookie's exit from our lives (or mourning the loss of out weekly dose of Alexander Skarsgård), it may help to remind ourselves why it's time for "True Blood" to get staked.
1) Let's make this the best last season ever! Okay, no one's going to get that "Ordinary People" reference, but I'm not kidding. As terrible as much of this season's finale was (again, Warlow, people!), promising storylines were set up in the second half, and I'm more than happy to follow them wherever they go. Zombie vampires? Okay, why not? Sam as mayor? Sure! Sookie and Alcide? Absolutely! I am also hoping Eric isn't as dead as he seemed to be (while it may have pleased many viewers to see him naked, I'm still unnerved that the moment had to happen while he was on fire), especially since Pam is looking for him. There is, of course, one storyline that was suggested in the season ender which I don't particularly want to see...
2) We're done with Bill and Sookie, aren't we? Bill and Sookie had some wonderful, romantic, emotionally wrenching times together. They've been through hell and Lilith and have emerged on the other side. Maybe this final season will sell me on the idea of the two of them getting back together, but if they don't, I'm pretty okay with that. After a certain point, another make-up and break-up (although often for good reasons over which these two don't have a hell of a lot of influence) starts to feel like they've become that couple you hate to invite to dinner because you never know if they're talking to one another or if they're going to make-out in the kitchen while everyone is trying to eat. Plus, so much has happened in this on-again-off-again dance that I'm not sure if logically they can simply forget all of the bad stuff in order to throw themselves into this love affair yet again. It's just been too much, and maybe the only sensible thing to do is to move on. Even if that means pairing up with Alcide and making him get a haircut. Not so thrilled about that, Sookie.
3) If Sookie is completely over her messed-up supernatural life, shouldn't we be? When your main character starts rolling her eyes and complaining about all the blood-sucking, shape-shifting, supernatural garbage going on around her and the super hot vampires that won't stop knocking on her door, you have to start thinking that the plot can logically go in one of two directions: 1) she moves away or 2) she complains and complains and complains until viewers stop watching in sheer frustration. This season seemed to reflect a general frustration on the part of the creative team, as if writing scripts about how miserable Sookie was gave them an outlet for their own feelings of spinning in a hamster wheel of vampire lore.
4) Alan Ball left and nothing was ever the same Yes, things had also been uneven before series creator Ball signed off, but even devoted fans had a hard time defending the sixth season of the show. There was less dark humor, storylines felt unnecessarily rushed, attention was lavished on plots that should have been quickly resolved while others didn't seem to have been completely thought out. There was a slapdash quality to the season that was frustrating for those who'd invested so much time into the series. Given that so many of the characters had already been established as witty, complex and sometimes wrenchingly broken, they deserved better than they got. It's hard not to imagine some of the cast getting their scripts, sighing deeply, then doing what they could to sell the nonsensical. Even Rutger Hauer couldn't do much to fix what was broken on the page.
5) Bon Temps isn't that big of a place One of the charming things about the show is how it captures the feel of a gloriously weird, indisputably creepy small town where everybody knows your name, even if they don't know you're a supernatural being. The problem is that after a certain point, everyone's slept with everyone else and dragging in new characters for the sole purpose of stirring the pot starts to feel a little forced. Though Sookie can book out to Faerie Land and the show has introduced us to a fascinating assortment of critters (Werepanthers! Maenads! Serial killers! Oh my!), it's hard to shock "True Blood" fans anymore. Lots of beloved characters have died (kudos to the show from never shying away from that, at least), but the revolving door of new villains and allies has been getting creaky for a while now.
The truth is, seven years is a damn good run for any show, and "True Blood" has earned the right to sail into the sunset with ten (hopefully, hopefully) solid episodes for the final season. Often when the end is in sight, a long-running show finds its moorings and says what it needs to say. I'm going to assume that when the last episode rolls, I'll miss the show a lot more than I'm missing it right now with the disastrous Warlow storyline still unpleasantly fresh in my memory. I'm expecting better, and hopefully putting a stake in the series will give all of us exactly that.
Will you miss "True Blood"?