Monday, September 27, 2010

LYNNPD's Random Thoughts on True Blood's Season 3

As featured on The Vault -

Each week, I did a review for The Vault of each episode for Season 3. Below is my review of the entire season which appeared on the Vault on September 27, 2010.

Now that two weeks have elapsed since we saw the "jaw dropping" finale of True Blood’s Season 3, I thought I'd write down some "random thoughts" about the whole season. It's been fun to write about each episode weekly and, for the most part, I give this season a big "THUMBS UP!" However, there were some issues too, that should be mentioned and below are observations (the good with the not so good) for the entire Season 3 of True Blood.
Let me start off by saying that Episodes 1 through 9 was perfection, in my opinion. Each week, the new episode was better than the one before it and I anxiously looked forward to the next installment. However, viewing the last three episodes wasn’t as satisfying to me as the first nine. This also happened to some degree in Season 2 and even a tiny bit in my beloved Season 1. It’s almost as if the writers look at each season in quarters or, if you will, three episodes at a time. There is lots of attention and energy paid to the first nine episodes, but the last three always seem more rushed and just there for the purpose of either tying up loose ends or to set up what's going to happen in the next season.I wonder if the writers work out what is going to happen for the entire season as they begin the process each year or if they look at each episode separately. If they aren't looking at the show in a full season chunk, at least at the onset of writing, then I think they need to.I expect there to be loose ends that need tying up during the last three episodes, but there were so many this year that each of these episodes seemed to be rushed in an attempt to quickly resolve them. Also, there were changes to several of the characters at the end of the series that made no sense. A few examples are:
  • Sam: Why did Sam change his personality so quickly and what was the catalyst that made him turn into a monster? I know that it was supposed to be spawned by Tommy's ridicule of him, but that wasn't as apparent as it should have been and didn't seem to me to be significant enough to warrant such a drastic change in Sam’s personality.
  • Lafayette: Originally, when Lafayette's saw the monster face on Jesus he was frightened and asks him to leave his apartment. However, the next day after seeing more visions, he is calling him for help? I don't understand this.
  • Eric: I know Godric's visions were what made Eric change his tune about killing Russell, but it seemed odd that he would all of a sudden give up a 1000 year quest. Also, Godric helped him look for Russell during WWII, so why now does he want him to give up? I know that Godric, sees things differently now, but this seemed to me too glib and a twist that was just thrown in quickly to change the story.
I feel bad criticizing this fabulous season at all, but there are other points I must make before I'm done. The biggest flaw of this season, in my opinion, was that there were too many storylines. I wish that the writers would stick to basics. When they do, True Blood is awe inspiring. Personally, I prefer seeing the vampires and the stories that highlight the political intrigue and the co-existence of humans with vampires. Having unrelated storylines only takes away from the core characters that everyone cares about and wants to see. Because most of Season 3 was focused on the vampires story, this made it successful. I have little interest in the tangential storylines unless they relate to this core theme. In Season 3, I enjoyed seeing the arrival of werewolves but only because they were woven into the vampire culture and story, I like knowing about the AVL because it was about the politics of vampires and humans co-existing. The Fellowship of the Sun is also interesting for the same reason.Last season, since the Maenad storyline had nothing to do with my idea of True Blood's core theme, it fell flat leading me to believe that the addition of new characters unrelated to True Blood’s key theme is a mistake. However, the additional characters were an asset to Season 3. Since many of them were not only excellent actors with wonderful characters to play, but they were also part of the vampire storyline. The King of Mississippi, Franklin Mott, Alcide, Debbie Pelt, Cooter, and Talbot, all were fascinating characters that enhanced the vampire/human story.
It was obvious to me that the main storyline in this season was really about Bill and his struggle with who he is and how he interacts within the vampire culture. During Season 2, Bill seemed to be almost, dare I say, boring, in his non-stop and single minded devotion for Sookie. While I loved that, it also didn’t make for a very interesting Bill. This season we got to see a whole new dimension to Bill, "Badass Bill" and I liked it. Many were upset at the ending of S3 when Bill was rejected by Sookie for deceiving her, but for me, this made him more interesting. I don't for a minute think that Bill is attempting to be deceptive, and I think he truly loves Sookie, but to know that things weren't really as we thought, intrigues me. Bill now has secrets that I want to know about, making his character exciting. I just want to know more and more.
It was also interesting to see Eric change throughout the season. At times he was almost “human” when speaking to Sookie and toying with Lafayette, but he was also capable of horror when killing Talbot and locking Sookie into the basement at Fangtasia. I wonder as much about Eric’s character now as I do about Bill’s? Perhaps it’s something innately part of being a vampire, that, inevitably, still includes some remnants of their past humanity, I’m not sure, but it makes for exciting drama.
Sookie seems the same to me, always changing her mind and attitude and not listening to others when they warn her of danger. She constantly walks into danger when she should know better, and never gives anyone a chance to explain. I’d like so see her get some brains.
I enjoyed the flashbacks, too because they help us to understand the characters better. Bill and Lorena going back to his home and meeting his wife, learning of the death of Eric's family were very welcomed. And, Nan Flannigan and "The Authority" added dimension to the vampire/human relationship storylines. And, who could forget King Russell, Talbot, Coot, Debbie Pelt, and of course, the totally insane Franklin Mott. All of these characters tied into the main theme of the season and therefore worked.
So, when veering away from how the vampires and humans interact, is where the season lost interest to me. For example, while it was interesting to see Sam's past and history, it was his supernatural nature and how it affected his life that made it interesting. However, because it didn't tie in with the "vampire/human interaction" theme, even though it was the best of the tangential story lines, it still didn't work for me.
Think about the story lines that were not popular in past seasons. For me, they were the daemon story line in season 1 and the orgy/meanad story in Season 2. In Season 3 the one that fell short has to be the Hot Shot story line. Each season would have been fine without them and True Blood would have been better served in showing us more with the main characters interacting. For example, have the vamps to go Merlotte’s more, find reasons for the humans to be with the vampires and let the lead characters interact more with the vampires. Lafayette relationship with Jesus, however touching, is still not as interesting to me as the one he has with Eric. Jessica and Hoyt's story is interesting because they are so cute together, but also because it's about the interaction of a human and a vampire. I’d like to see more within Bon Temps, too. Where is the gritty, wet, dirty feel we had in Season 1? The people of Bon Temps and how they adjust to the invasion of the vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters is what I want to see more of. It was good how the werewolves were interwoven into the vampire culture; let’s also see more of this.I must repeat however, that Season 3 was a good one. I enjoyed it immensely and in my opinion, True Blood is still the best on TV. I am anxiously looking forward to Season 4 and rest assured, I will be glued to the TV then too.

Below is my list of the ten best and worst thing about Season 3. What's your opinion?

  1. Best New characters - Denis O'Hare, James Frain, Kevin Alejandro, Marshall Allman, Brit Morgan, Joe Manganiello, Theo Alexander
  2. Badass Bill
  3. Eric showing a more generous and kind side
  4. Bills hair and makeup
  5. Pam being made a regular
  6. Hoyt and Jessica getting back together
  7. Denis O'Hare's performance as the King of Mississippi
  8. James Frain's performance as Franklin Mott
  9. Nan Flannigan and the AVL and the whole vampire politics storyline
  10. Strong episodes 1 through 9
  1. Hot Shot storyline
  2. Faeries
  3. Joe Mickens underwear
  4. Tara's torment
  5. Sam's about face behavior for no apparent reason
  6. The trippy scene with Lafayette and Jesus
  7. Not enough Andy Bellfleur, Arlene, Terry and other folks in Bon Temps
  8. Killing off Talbot for good
  9. WTF ending
  10. last three episodes
Be sure to read and comment the other reviews, lists and opinion posts about Season 3 that we have prepared here for you at The Vault by clicking on the links below:10 WTF Moments of True Blood Season 3What is your favorite True Blood Season 3 Episode?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Meeting Sam Trammell and his surf for charity

Article by Lynn Powell Dougherty featured at

On a Saturday, what a better way to spend the day than to watch the ocean waves carry many celebrities on their surfboards. Yesterday, September 11, I drove to Malibu up the Pacific Coast Highway to just north of the Malibu Pier. It wasn’t easy, or cheap, but I found a place to park my car very near the day’s event. I was there for the Surfrider Foundation Celebrity Expression Session. One of the celebrities attending was True Blood’s Sam Trammell and, of course, that was the main reason I went.
To see lots more photos of this event and of Sam Trammell, visit the photo gallery.
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Sam Trammell
When I walked onto the beach it was still a bit cloudy, but very shortly the sun came out as I approached the tent where all the celebrity surfers seemed to be. I immediately came up to a low fence and there was Sam Trammell having his picture taken with a fellow True Blood fan, who’s name was Pinky. As he started to walk away, after they had gotten the photo, I called out to Sam and he came back over. I introduced myself saying I was also a representative of The Vault. He immediately knew what site I meant since he has met representatives from our site at both Eyecon in Florida last fall and at Bitten in August, in the UK. He said how grateful he was for how much support we give to the show and asked if I’d like a photo with him. Of course I did.
I’ve met many of the True Blood cast, but this would be my first time meeting Sam up close and I can tell you it was a great experience. Like the others I’ve met he was personable, kind and generous with his time. A truly nice guy.
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Sam and me
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Pinky with Eric Balfour and Me and Sam in the background.
Here’s a little bit of information about the event and about the Surfrider Foundation:
Martyn Lenoble and Christina Applegate hosted the Surfrider Foundation’s fifth annual Celebrity Expression Session at First Point, Surfrider Beach in Malibu. The 45-minute free surf gave celebrity surfers from music, film and television the opportunity to have some fun demonstrating their skills on Malibu’s famous point, while also raising money and awareness for the Surfrider Foundation.
2010 Celebrity participants were:
  • Martyn Lenoble (Host, Pornos For Pyros)
  • Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
  • Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
  • Sam Trammell (True Blood)
  • Eric Balfour (Haven)
  • Austin Nichols (One Tree Hill)
  • Eric Avery (Jane’s Addiction)
  • Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker)
In addition to simply showcasing their surfing abilities, the celebrity contestants helped to raise money for the Surfrider Foundation. For every wave caught and ridden, event sponsors Cali Bamboo and Barefoot Wine donated $100 per wave back to the Foundation.
While the celebrities readied themselves to surf during high tide, which was expected precisely at noon, being front row center was great since I got to take lots of photos of Sam while he got into his wet suit and readied his surfboard.
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Sam preparing his surfboard.
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Putting on his wet suit
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Ready to go.
Then, the surfers filed out to the surf to wait for the sign that it was time to enter the water. The waves kept coming in closer and closer and for those of us wearing shoes (I’m still too east coast) we had to jump back each time the surf came in to keep from getting soaked. There were photographers from the press and lots of people on the beach, but it was a very casual group and quite respectful of the celebrities.
Finally the call came telling them to go out and start surfing. Sam paddled out with the rest. He had to go out pretty far to catch a wave, but catch one he did. We got to see his surfing skills and he did a fine job.
samsurf6 400x300 Meeting Sam Trammell and his surf for charity
samsurf19 400x300 Meeting Sam Trammell and his surf for charity
Once the 45 minutes was up, the participants all came out and marched back to the tents. What a better way to raise money than to do something you love, and they all seemed to have a great time. I have to admit that it was a lot of fun for me too and I would have enjoyed watching all the surfers, even if Sam wasn’t there, but I’m glad he was.
You can help to save the ocean too, in several ways:
samsurf27 400x300 Meeting Sam Trammell and his surf for charity
I couldn’t resist not using this photo here, he is so cute!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jace Everett Talks about finale’s song ‘Evil’

Interview by Lynn Powell Dougherty featured at

The True Blood Season 3 Finale episode airs on September 12. I’m having trouble believing that Season 3 is almost over because it seems like yesterday when we were all waiting patiently for the season to start.
While a finale episode is always bitter sweet, I think this finale might be a bit sweeter than usual, because it includes as its title song, a collaboration of two great True Blood musicians.
Also, as a special treat, the Vault is running a contest where you can win a True Blood Season 2 soundtrack CD. See the contest rules below.
Inspired to remake a classic blues tune, True Blood’s music supervisor, Gary Calamar and CC Adcock came up with the idea to remake, for the finale’s title song, “Evil“.
Jace Everett, the writer and performer of the show’s title theme song, Bad Things, was asked to join in and work with CC to create a new version of the classic blues song by Willie Dixon, which was recorded and made famous by the great blues artist, Howlin’ Wolf. CC Adcock, the musician who wrote Bleed 2 Feed, which is on True Blood’s Season 1 soundtrack, and who has appeared with his band playing at Arlene and Rene’s wedding in Season 1, got together with Jace and fellow producer, Mike Napolitano to record this great new version.
ccadcock Jace Everett Talks about finales song Evil and win a Season 2 CDgaryc Jace Everett Talks about finales song Evil and win a Season 2 CD
C.C. Adcock and Gary Calamar

Below is the mini-documentary about this collaboration recording, presented by HBO, showing how the recording came to be.

jace 279x300 Jace Everett Talks about finales song Evil and win a Season 2 CD
Jace Everett
Since the resulting recording of “Evil” by CC and Jace is the title song of Season 3′s finale episode, it seemed appropriate to find out more about it. Recently, I had a chance to speak to Jace Everett about the making of the song and that interview is below with a bit also thrown in by Gary Calamar.
Can you tell me how the song and the collaboration with CC Adcock came to be?
Gary Calamar (music supervisor) and CC Adcock were bouncing some ideas for a “classic”song to use this season for trailers. Much as they used Dylan’s song “Beyond Here Lies Nothing” for last season. Howlin’ Wolf was one of the blues greats they had in mind.
How did you and CC get together on it?
CC and Gary thought it would be cool to get me involved. They called me up and CC and I spent a couple of weeks bouncing ideas back and forth. The whole production style, while certainly a collaborative effort, was really the brain-child of CC and Mike Napolitano. Mike engineered the track and had some great ideas to augment where CC and I envisioned it heading.
Tell the fans a bit about the origin of the song?
This is a classic blues written by Willie Dixon. Willie wrote so many songs that are now considered standards. Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and others all recorded his tunes. To say nothing of the fact that white boys like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and countless others have been aping Willie’s tunes ever since. Now I guess CC and I are getting in on the action!
Can you tell me about the experience of making the recording? When was it recorded and where?
I flew down to New Orleans and spent a couple of days with CC bouncing from studio to studio. The track is a really good mixture of raw and loose musicianship and some cool loops and sound design. I really like the mixture of technology and raw humanity we captured.
I understand that a mini-documentary is being aired along with the season finale. What was the filming of that like? When did you do it?
CC had the good sense to get a camera crew there for the weekend! We just documented the event. It’s all shot on location in New Orleans.
Tell me what you think of the song Evil and does it fit in any of those made up music categories?
It’s an amazing song. The Howlin’ Wolf version is simply untouchable. It can’t be improved. Hopefully, we showed our respect and merely put a 21st century spin on it.
It’s, as a song, as pure a Blues number as you can get. I think where we took it is maybe a little “post-modern”, if you will.
What do you think of when you hear the word “Evil”?
Besides Dick Cheney? I don’t know. There’s the cartoon version of evil; pitch forks, horns and the like. Then there’s the real-life evil; the crap we humans do to one another through selfishness, laziness, greed, and religious fervor.
I guess I prefer the pitchfork! Far more manageable! LOL!
What do you think of True Blood’s big success?
Well, having spent a little time with the creators, cast, and behind the scenes folks of the show, I couldn’t be happier for them. They are a good group of people. I think it’s a real hoot of a show. Funny, sexy, scary, addictive. Obviously, it’s been good for me, too. Here’s hoping for another 10 seasons and the 3D Imax movie in 2014!!
Do you and CC have any plans for future recordings together?
Nothing concrete at present, but it would certainly be something I’d like to do. We have a lot of similar taste in music, but still approach things a little differently. It’s a nice mix that I hope we’ll explore in the future.
Gary Calamar has already told me that his eight year old daughter, Zoe and two friends did backups for the song and it is their voices at the end saying “Evil”. He said that CC sent him a demo and that Zoe and her two friends recorded their part in LA and it was sent back to be added to the song. Is this the way it went? Do you have anything to add?
Yea, my bit was done by then, but I think that’s how it went down. you know, with modern technology, it’s truly astounding what can be done in the recording world. Napolitano deserves big kudos for wrangling it all together.
What do you think differentiates this version of the song from the original?
Well, it’s louder! CC had the conceit to make a record that a young hip-hop fan could dig. You know the blues of the ’50′s and ’60′s was, at the time, “race music”. It could be argued that hip-hop started that way. Now, of course, hip-hop is ubiquitous. From jazz, blues, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and now hip-hop, black Americans have really invented the bulk of popular music. Then us crackers water it down a bit and make it safe! CC and I love the classic blues music. However, a lot of young black kids aren’t even aware of it. It became gentrified and adopted by white boys. I think CC wanted to bring the two worlds together. A lot of my friends in the hip-hop world are big fans of the show [True Blood] and I’ve gotten some really good feedback on the track from that angle.
Gary also mentioned that the acoustic recording of Bad Things would be available on Itunes, is this true? Or will it be elsewhere too, other than your acoustic album, Old New Borrowed Blues?
Yes, the acoustic version of “Bad Things” is also on the Season 2 soundtrack available at ITunes.