Ranking True Blood Seasons From Worst to Best
(Beware, there are probably going to be minor spoilers for the entire series)
Recently during these days of quarantine, I have found myself going back to HBO’s hit vampire drama, True Blood. I used to watch it a few years back on Amazon Prime, but when HBO released it on Hulu in the summer of 2020, I finally got to finishing season 7. True Blood is one of the many shows I have actually watched from start to finish since I find it quite hard trying to watch new things.
But as I sat back and forced myself to finish the final season, I realized True Blood has seen better days. So now I have decided to rank the seasons from worst to best. Starting of with…
Season 5 starts off with Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) as they try to flee from the grip of the vampire authority. Sookie (Anna Paquin) has made her choice to be with neither Bill or Eric and that definitely effected the way the rest of the series goes. Almost all the tension from that love triangle dissipates and we are left with boring plot. The authority is uninteresting and odd while the humans in Bon Temps do nothing to peak my interest . Even Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis, R.I.P) can not save this season. Tara (Rutina Wesley) makes for a boring vampire, Eric and Bill fall out of their familiar characters, and Sookie starts to grind my gears a little more each episode. There is really only one episode that I like and that is episode 5 where they bring it back to the interesting trio with an add on of Alcide. (Joe Manganiello) Sookie isn’t with Bill or Eric for most of the season allowing her to figure more out about her heritage. This leads her to her distant fae cousins but it is really weird. But otherwise, the season ends with Billith, the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard. I suppose if anything, Christopher Meloni can be interesting but honestly, just skip this season if you want.
I had said earlier that I had just recently finished season 7 and there is a reason for that. The controversial season and its ending are just so unsatisfying and the plot feels empty. There is a time jump and Sookie is dating Alcide, Sam is mayor, and vampires all over the world are dying since the tampering of Tru Blood by Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp), in the last season. Although this might have made for an interesting last season, the character’s reactions just tend to annoy me. Honestly, past season 3, characters seem to veer from their original attitudes, personalities, and opinions. Eric somehow has Hep V, the big bad virus, and is giving up on doing anything about it until Pam (Kristin van Straten) tells him that Sarah isn’t actually dead. Sookie kind of has nothing to do to be totally honest, and the humans do stupid things to try to protect themselves from the infected vampires. The ending is the worst part. Although I stick with the choice to (big spoiler) kill Bill, I think that the future jump to Sookie’s happy ending with some anonymous husband we never meet is a cop out- along with Jason’s (Ryan Kwanten) quick girlfriend turned bride we meet in like the second to last episode. Jessica and Hoyt, a couple that I have always thought were good together, get married even after Hoyt was glamoured to forget about Jessica’s infidelity with Jason. Eric and Pam get an entertaining ending, but the ride to get there is weak. The whole plot with Tara’s mom Lettie Mae (Adina Porter) and Lafayette trying to contact Tara beyond the grave is unnecessary. It is a pretty bad end to an era.
Season 4 is the last season that follows any resemblance to the books. The plot revolves around the witch cult in Bon Temps and its lead necromancer Marnie (Fiona Shaw). It starts with the return of Sookie coming from an alternate plane where evil faeries reside. This is when I started to realize that the shows supernatural element was not being balanced right. There are other supernatural beings that start popping up and although faeries are part of Charlaine Harris’ books, the way it (and other crazy beings) is presented in the series could have been done so much better. Bill is now King of Louisiana, Eric has bought Sookie’s house in the year that she was gone, and everyone has kind of moved on with their life away from Sookie. Eric looses his memory and is soon a puppy dog that Sookie allows into her bed. I have found the Eric/Sookie romance weird. They make much more sense in the books than in the show and I have always felt the chemistry between the two was kind of lackluster. Eric’s infatuation with Sookie beyond her telepathy has always been all-together unfounded. They just don’t click. That is a big majority of the plot. The witches don’t work for me as a threat and it would have been more interesting to explore the problems that arose for the vampires post- Russel Edington murdering a news anchor on live television. They slightly dive into that with the way the AVL is trying to maintain damage control, but I believe there was more potential there as well as with the Eric/Sookie plot line. Overall, a mediocre season that leads into an even worse season.
Season 6 is kind of okay all things considering. The most engaging part of the show is its vampires… obviously. But they had seemed to slightly loose that with its lack of integration of humans and vampires in the season prior. Average Andy (Chris Bauer) doesn’t exactly shake hands with Vampire Sheriff Eric Northman, but they bring it back to Bon Temps. The plot is much more interesting and there is definitely a lot more to look at. Again, Sookie doesn’t feel like she does much to move the plot along but that is to be expected after season 5. The plot revolves around the governor of Louisiana creating a camp to put vampires in. The vampires are experimented on and in the end, Sarah Newlin -the real brains of the camp- creates the Hep V virus that leads into season 7. The character interactions are what make the season. Eric and Pam have a tense relationship after the end of season 5 where Eric released her, but they both tend to be fun to watch as their personalities are allowed to play in the camps. Bill is an asshole, but the tension he builds between characters is an acceptable I supose. Pretty much any scene in the camp is good fun to watch as you see the vampires take revenge in the end only to be screwed over by the Tru Blood. Sookie is still annoying however and the creation of Warlow (Robert Kazinsky) was not a wise one. He is a weak half cooked villain. Jason continues to switch between hating vampires and loving them through the show and especially through this season. Overall, it was an okay season sandwiched between two really shitty season.
Season 2 is one of the only times I have cared about the affairs of the humans in Bon Temps. The beginning and the end of the season are spectacular fun. Maryann (Michelle Forbes) is quite a good villain to the townspeople as she plays on the prudish nature of many of them. She makes the conflict in Dallas seem less intriguing honestly however and although I love the vampire action on the show (especially anything with Eric), I did not think the plot of finding Godric (Allan Hyde) all too engaging. I know many people like Godric’s character but I never understood the appeal. The scenes in the vampire hotel are hit and miss with me. The beginning of the season starts off on a bang though and allows the human characters to flourish as they try to fight the forces of Maryann. Sookie gets clawed by Maryanne and that is one of the most interesting episodes in the season. The end episodes where Eric goes to see queen Sophie-Ann (Rachel Evan Wood) in her lavish mansion are great too.
Season 1 starts it all off and I find it quite endearing. It is the season I feel has the most southern charm as well as being well grounded for a vampire show. We are just being brought into this world of Sookie Stackhouse and everyone does such a good job with its introduction. This is the season I find Sookie being the most tolerable pretty much likable. It sticks to the nature of the first book pretty well and offers our first look at the stunning title sequence that still holds up well today. The season is filled with twists and turns and it is no wonder with a breakthrough first season like this, HBO green-lit more seasons. The plot is great, the acting even better, and the relationship built between both Sookie and Bill works. We get a good heaping taste of the town of Bon Temps and how they treat Sookie and it proves to be one of the best seasons. Not only is there a serial killer in Bon Temps to build tension, season 1 is just another season where I find myself engaged with the humans and the vampires. Eric is only in a few episodes but him and Pam’s chemistry always works so well. It is a true example of a great job world building.
Season 3 is amazing. It offers the best plot, acting, and interactions. Russel Edgington makes an amazing villain. The plot twists and turns into the most engaging season True Blood has to offer. They open up the world more allowing us to see more of all the characters including Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) and Eric Northman. Russel is the big bad the show deserves and allows viewers to deep dive into all things vampire. Everyone is on their A game for this season and the interactions are spot on. There is not much in this season to dislike. It gives viewers everything they want in a vampire show: a great plot, great conflict, a love triangle. There isn’t much to complain about as we see all the characters being utilized to the best of their ability. The introduction of the werewolves is smooth and Bill’s secret is revealed in a wonderfully theatrical way. The last few episodes of the season are super good but so is everything leading up to it. There is no one in the season I feel is useless and everyone helps to keep a story going. Season 2 allowed for a great set up into season 3 and allowed it to be as great as it is. Even Tara’s story I find to be well written as she deals with trauma after trauma. The scenes with her and Franklin (James Frain) are tense and scary and I genuinely feel bad for her. Sookie kind of screws her over with being a bad friend and we see her more annoying traits start to bloom in this season but otherwise, I find it to be the best season of True Blood filled with adventure, drama, and character deep dives.
Ultimately, True Blood was a product of its time and is my guilty pleasure that has ages just about as well as any vampire show has from the Twilight era of vampire-themed media. Although it may seem odd in the sphere of 2020’s world, we should still give credit to Alan Ball (series creator) for his more mature approach to the vampire genre as well as Charlene Harris who created these characters. Sure, Sookie is the weakest character there is, but the exploration of vampires “coming out of the closet” is a nuance idea that was handled in a really topical and interesting way. So yes, True Blood was part of my rebellious yet vampire-crazed faze when I was 12 but it is still something to remember.