HBO's Sunday nights have been evenings of exciting television thanks to the epic series Game of Thrones. Fans of the network will no doubtably be missing their weekly trips to Westeros, but HBO is banking on the return to Bon Temp can fill that void. After an anticlimactic season finale last summer True Blood returned for their sixth year this past Sunday night.
Before we get into some fresh blood, first a quick little recap from season five to bring you up to speed. The vampire authority is all but dead or destroyed in the madness surrounding the ancient vampire blood of Lilith. Hopped up on V, Alcide, challenges and kills Shreveport's pack master JD; making him the new pack leader. Meanwhile back in Bon Temp the fairy Andy sacked up with, gave birth to quadruples, and then left them all for him to raise on his own. Then during a rescue of Bill, Sookie and Eric witness him drink the sacrificial blood, dye, and comeback as something more monstrous.
Unfortunately like most of True Blood's season premiers not much happens here in "Who Are You, Really?". The most exciting stuff for the series is always in the mid-season area which leaves these opening episodes to lots of setups and exposition; though a bit boring at times, this often does lead to exciting TV in a couple weeks' time. The one aspect of a quieter premier is the trade-off on new characters being introduced. So even if you don't care what the regular cast of characters are doing (and I didn't really here), the tease of new regulars or guest stars is what makes the show stay fresh. There is an introduction to a new governor character named Creighton Burrell (Arliss Howard) who could eventually become a villain this season revolves around. But the new cast member I'm most excited for is Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner, Batman Begins) joining the series.
From the looks of things Hauer might be playing the Warlow character that the entire last season spent hyping up, but never actually showed other than in silhouettes or shadows. As of right now IMDb is showing Hauer as both Warlow and Niall Brigant for the series, so that could mean Warlow has multiple forms or is able to use people as a vessel. The casting of a big name like Hauer, and as a main cast member rather than a guest star, makes be lean towards him being the big baddy for this sixth season. And after the death of Denis O'Hare's fan favourite villain, in Russell Edgington, at the end of last year there is void in the series that needs to be filled.
I could go into the stuff about Bill becoming a rebirth of a vampire deity but after one episode there isn't much to go on. The only thing as of right now it looks like he is or could be more powerful than Eric for the first time ever, so that dynamic could shift some things around in the episodes to come. All the rest of secondary surrounding characters and their story arcs aren't very clear yet so True Blood still has some more explaining to do.
HBO audiences still trying to get over the loss of Game of Thrones for another calendar year will be disappointed here since True Blood's sixth season premier lacks the same 'wow' factor. Even though comparing the two series isn't fair to one or the other, the excitement a season premier should bring only lasts for the first 10 minutes of "Who Are You, Really?". Being in the sixth year of a successful show has huge pressure to go along with it. Hopefully the new main cast members, the shortening from 12 episodes to 10, and there being a new showrunner will bring the series around and make it what once was.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.