Monday, August 25, 2014

Good night, True Blood

Inevitably, even the best of things come to a close.  Last night, we bade farewell to the town of Bon Temps and its denizens, both human and supernatural. As a cable series, it has had a long run - seven seasons.  HBO, the network which aired True Blood, is now announcing this is the final season of Boardwalk Empire as well as The Newsroom.  Neither of which lasted as long as our TB buds.

The last two seasons of TB were harrowing, lots of carnage and seemingly insurmountable odds to turn it all around.  It has always been a roller coaster ride but it graduated from the one in kiddieland to the granddaddy of them all in thrills and chills. 

As a writer I know a bit about what you need for a good story.  You need a hook in the beginning to keep the reader(or tv viewer) interested.  That makes them want to come back.  Then you keep putting in hooks at the ends of some of the chapters (or episodes) to make them anticipate the next one.  You need characters to which the audience can relate - real, recognizable emotions and interactions.  You need to build a fictional world that will draw the audience deeper into the story.  Again, you need real, recognizable characters and situations.  If you have that, doesn't matter if your character is a vampire, a werewolf, a fae, or a plain old human - your audience will be drawn into the story and come back for more.

When your audience learns to care about your characters, you've struck the mother lode.  I'll let you in on a little secret, most writers (at least the ones I know personally) are intimately involved with their characters.  The authors live with these people in their heads, usually banging on the inside of their foreheads demanding to be let out...So the authors care about their characters, their creations, their literary children.  It's obvious that the writers, executive producers, cast, and crew of TB cared about their characters as well.

The final episode did the best thing for all those characters - they wrapped up all the storylines nice and neatly.  No character's situation was left hanging.  That's the way to end a good novel.

Of course, if you're going to do a sequel or a spin-off you  have to leave something to build your new creation.

There was no hint of that with the characters in Bon Temps.  Looks like last night was well and truly it.

This final season has been particularly hard on the series' regulars - several of them met the true death unexpectedly and horribly.  In a sense it wrapped up the story, but that old roller coaster ride got steeper and harder to take when it plunged down into the abyss. Yet even one of them had her story resolved last night and she was able to ascend to the next world after being bound to the earth.

The finale was filled with danger, excitement, comedy, and extreme pathos.  Sort of the emotional seven-year run of TB encapsulated in one last burst of glory.

I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen it and wants to - so I won't go into plot details.

I will say the worst moment in TB history came for me last night.  It wasn't unexpected and it was completely in character for the ones involved.  But, lordy, it made me SOB...I sat there gulping and grabbing for my Puffs-with-lotion by the handful.  Of course, in true TB fashion, only a minute later I was howling with laughter at the next bit. My shih tzus viewed me from the floor with worried expressions.

The conclusion was more than satisfactory.  Everyone got what was coming to them in a good way or not...Everyone, except the true villain of the piece, was happy, radiant even at the end of the episode.  The villain got her just desserts and got them for eternity...That was a funny bit, too.

So like in a good novel, we know that although we will make no new visits to the town of Bon Temps, the citizens (like the "heart" in Celine Dion's song) will go on with their lives or afterlives whichever the case may be.

Author Charlaine Harris made one final appearance in the series based on her books.  Look for her manning the production console at the filming of the infomercial...that's all I'm sayin'.  It was a quick shot, but long enough to recognize her.

To the cast and crew of True Blood - thank you for seven glorious years of keeping us all spellbound and coming back for more.  And thank you to the writers and producers for providing us "Trubies" with a most satisfactory ending. 

Sorry, Ms. Harris, but I liked the resolution of the series better than the one in the books.

I wonder if Game of Thrones will make it seven years?  Shoot, honey, with all the written material (I don't know how many books are out now, but they're each as thick as a medium sized town's phone book in the past) - that show may go on forever...

Bonne Nuit, Bon Temps - go gently into that good night. 

We'll revisit you on video and remember the good times.

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