So Long, Sookie: Letting Go of Good T.V.


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author: Nicole

The seventh and final season of True Blood, the HBO show based on the popular Sookie Stackhouse series, is set to start on Sunday, and to that I say,

“Good Riddance!”

Let me be clear–I’m a fan of the show. Initially, I wasn’t; I watched the pilot in 2008 and I distinctly remember thinking, “Mmm.. not for me.” I couldn’t get past Vampire Bill’s strange Southern drawl, and how he pronounced Sookie’s name. “Sooookiehhhhh.”

Fast forward to the start of the fifth season, 2012.

The hoopla surrounding the premiere–along with the insistence of some “fanger” friends–prompted us to give the show another chance. We binge-watched the entire season in a matter of weeks, and let me tell you:  I was hooked. Its campy-ness, over the top characters and uber-dramatized plot lines sank its fangs into me hard.

Then why the good riddance-can’t-wait-to-catch-ya-on-the-flip-side-of-my-bluray-player farewell?

I have developed a strong belief that a show should not have to suffer a long, slow death just because it’s popular. Plot lines and characters I love should not be subjected to the “Jumping the Shark” fate of many of those that have come before. If there’s character growth to be had and story development to be made, then take all the time you need. if not … learn when to quit.

True Blood may be throwing a wrench in an otherwise pretty good track record for HBO by doing just that – knowing when to quit. Many of HBO’s most popular shows ended within five or six seasons, when the stories had already been told and the characters’ arcs already achieved. Depending on who you ask, True Blood is going out right on the cusp of either a season too late or just in the nick of time.

TV has become a powerhouse medium, rich in substance and complexity. With so many outstanding shows, envelope-pushing cable and streaming series all competing for viewership, there may be a tendency for networks to hold on to a “good thing” just a little too long and at the cost of the material itself. I’ve been burned before. Friends? Maybe 4 seasons too long. How I Met Your Mother? Probably 2-3 seasons too long (and don’t even get me started on the finale). Even relatively new shows that premiered with a bang are starting to burn out quick. (New Girl.)

As a few other TV shows I’ve loved say their final goodbyes alongside True Blood  (Parks and Recreation and Community, I’m looking at you!) I will say a wistful goodbye. I raise my tear-stained remote in your honor and thank the Netflix gods that there will be a chance to return and fall in love with you all over again, sans resentment for an overstayed welcome.