Last week I reviewed the Dexter season seven blu-ray set to much disappointment. In complete contrast, the True Blood season five blu-ray set has everything that you want in a box set.
Each episode has an option called “True Blood Enhanced Viewing.” Playing like a less-obtrusive Pop-Up Video, with this option on, you get lower third graphics with insights into the scene. I like that they slide on and off the screen without a little pop-up sound. These aren’t behind-the-scenes tidbits - those you get from the various commentaries. These are story-based: details on character relationships and histories; things from former seasons that you may have forgotten; biographies of minor characters; details that aren’t mentioned in the episode (like the name of songs playing and what is in Lafayette’s Cajun margaritas), and questions to ease you into watching a little more critically (like, “Jason is the only one who is seeing his parents - but is it really due to his recent head injury?” or “What could Bill’s reasons be for lying to Salome?”) I really like these pop-ups. It breathes new life into episodes you have likely seen multiple times, and it adds depth for the hardcore, obsessive viewers.
Another unique feature of the True Blood set is the “True Blood Lines.” It is basically a family tree for True Blood characters. They are divided up into species (human, werewolf, vampire, shapeshifter, fairy) and clicking on a character brings up a photo, description, and links to other characters to whom they are connected. The layout of each screen is a little inelegant, but with so many characters, I imagine it was tough to code the disc. Also, only season five characters are included here - but there is an “Archive” section that allows you to get quick details on other characters throughout the show’s history.
Additional features include “Authority Confessionals” (members of the Authority tell their story directly to camera like reality-show confessionals); some behind-the-scenes featurettes with cast and crew; and select episode audio commentaries from Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Denis O’Hare, Carrie Preston, and more.
Side note: the surround sound on this set was awesome - it drove my dog nuts. He only goes nuts when audio is very realistic. So there you go - dog approved!