Disclaimer: Some spoilers for Lost and Heroes appear in this post.
A couple of hours ago news broke on True Blood’s Facebook page that the shows next season (season 7) would be its last.
There’s some 57,000 comments on the post and counting, all stating their dismay at the shows end. Plenty of people are complaining about a “popular show” being “cancelled” and that they are going to “cancel their HBO subscription” because True Blood is the only reason they have one.
There are some concerns that Alan Ball giving the show over to someone else shot the plot dead in its tracks and its been going downhill ever since. Some argue that now that “Eric has been killed off”* the show won’t have anything left to give (come on, the Viking is hot but he can’t be the only reason you watch it). Some people are demanding what they think the writers should do with the storyline and characters, whilst stating that 20 episodes must be shown as opposed to the regular 12, because we were all “duped” by the ten episode season recently.
What utter bullshit.
Seven seasons is a hell of a long time for a storyline to play out. For characters to develop past the standard five seasons is a really rare thing, especially when it is a series based on a book (however loosely). Sometimes a great show has to end, and what better way to end then at its peak?
Some people showed their distaste at Season 5, the season before the recent one this year. Those of you who have followed the show will remember – it’s the one with Lilith and the authority and the religious-nutcase shit. I really liked this season, in my opinion this season and the last one have only been getting better – no matter how ludicrous the plot may seem the storyline is actually a really solid piece of work.
Season 2 really pissed me off. It was basically 12 episodes of fucking and killing. I found this season pointless, an experimental “what can we get away with” bullshit. But funnily enough no-one seems to mention that this season could just have easily caused the shows decline had it followed in this vein, simply because those people who have a HBO subscription are paying for what they can essentially get for free on any porn site on the internet. Including the part where the Maenard makes Tara and Eggs eat organ-pie.
There were a few comments on the True Blood post stating “I want True Blood to last forever” and “I NEVER want True Blood to end.” You know what happens to shows that try to last more seasons than it should? It loses its touch; it shrivels up, withers away; any former great character is left to forage for scraps of humour and drama, battling between developing and shying away, ready to hang up their hat.
Shows like this include: Heroes and Friends.
Oh! Don’t shout at me. Friends declared the end would be season 7, but then it went on for a nice round number of ten seasons before bowing out of the sitcom territory. Friends only lasted this long because of its genre – situation comedy – and the fact that each episode is a 22 minute baggle of gags and dry humour and inside jokes. If every episode was joined to make the traditional 42-45 minutes (True Blood is around 54 minutes minus advertisements), the series would probably have bowed out after season 4.
Heroes was a great show that should have stopped at season 1. It was a great season confined to its own unique plotline but did it really need to then go into that much detail? Did we really need to know the other side to Sylar, or would it just have been enough to play him out as the evil villan? By the time the fourth season drew to a close, half of the hard-core Heroes fans didn’t know what the fuck was going on. An antagonist who was bigged up to be this massive scary fella, when we find out he can just shift a couple of rocks (like, hello! Peter and Sylar could use telekinesis since the first season!) would be any indicator that it’s time to can the series.
And then there are those shows which are cancelled without any kind of closure – Veronica Mars was a show cut right in the middle of a season, causing the rightful rage of fans everywhere to demand its continuation; shows like Firefly which barely got its feet off the ground. Or my first love, The OC, whilst parading a proud four seasons, the last episode was rushed and conceited, like the producers couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Then there are the rare gems which last for only a set number of seasons, yet are re-watched and loved to this very day – despite its years in cobwebbery video stores. I am of course, talking about Battlestar Galactica. Galactica (the newer version) is complete. It boasts character and plot development, has twists down to a t, in self-contained series of four separate seasons. The show was mainly created this way so to avoid the dreaded “cancelled show” syndrome, and thus its entire series is a finished piece of art, neither tainted by producers nor hated by real fans.
Then you have those shows I’d like to refer to as the “salesman show.” Those shows which promise you a good buy “stick with me and you’ll never go hungry again!”** waffle. They promise a good plot, great twists and clues and bits to keep you guessing. They make you invest time into their product or idea, so you end up going “oh, sure. Sounds like fun!” and sometimes you sort of figure out it’s a crock of shit about half way through, but by then you’ve invested so much in the idea you just can’t quit now! So you stick with them until the end, where they pull the wool away from your eyes, the carpet from under your feet and shaft you with a big “SURPRISE! We won’t tell you what this has all been about, but it’s okay because here’s a pretty story about how everyone dies but they all get to be happy in the end.” Ahem. The show Lost, anyone?
Fans of True Blood may whine and moan and bicker with each other about why “the best show on earth” shouldn’t be axed (if it even is) over some other garbage like Jersey Shore (hint: TV is for the morons) but what it comes down to is creative choice. There’s a time to end things, to finalize what it is you really want to say – but that time should not be at the hands of some big producer trying to figure out “what the fans want” or because the show has fizzled out and withered away into nothingness, and the only reason another series isn’t being made is because they forgot to write one.
Great shows deserve great exits, and True Blood Season 7 will go out with a bang.
Things don’t last forever Trubies, but the end of the show won’t suck; it will drool with anticipated delight and action enough to leave you wanting to play the entire seasons 1-7 over and over again. Because repeat lasts forever.
So enjoy what the writers have left to offer while they still care, keep watching old episodes on Netflix and shut the fuck up.
*Not actually true at this point.
**Yes that is an actual Lion King reference.