Why Not HD? True Blood
Yes, it’s a rhetorical question — we all know why season five of True Blood, which starts tonight, can’t be viewed in HD.
That’s because, despite being an HBO signature series, it’s airing on Prime ahead of SoHo.
And Prime is the last of the network hold-outs when it comes to converting to HD, despite a schedule crammed with HD-ready content, like Doctor Who, Top Gear, Strike Back, Boardwalk Empire, The Crowd Goes Wild and, of course, True Blood.
Given the first four seasons screened on Prime, and very soon after their HBO transmissions, it is only fair that Prime continues to play new episodes ahead of SoHo.
But it’s not fair that SoHo subscribers, who already are paying $10 a month to see HBO content in HD, may have to wait months for True Blood to be showcased in 1080i.
As readers of this site have pointed out, given Sky owns both channels, why not run True Blood on SoHo, in HD, a few days after its SD airing on Prime?
It’s a sensible compromise but Sky won’t have a bar of it because True Blood is seen as too valuable a property for Prime to relinquish as a free-to-air point of difference.
At the same time, Sky isn’t willing to invest in an HD upgrade for Prime and would rather rort its SoHo subscribers instead.
Result: more gnashing of teeth from the early adopters who have helped to drive Sky’s success than you’ll see in a whole season of the vampire drama.
Never has a show’s promotional tag line — “Don’t cry. It’s back” — been more apt.
The fifth season went to air 11 days ago in the US, to largely positive reviews.
“They’ve added a new element that makes it something I can finally (I’m sorry) sink my teeth into,” said the New York Post. “They’ve added politics as blood sport.”
According to TV Guide, “True Blood is well on its way to staking its claim yet again as the summer guilty pleasure with TV’s bawdiest bite.”
While Variety said the show “remains great fun, and clearly benefits from being back on a better-directed course”, Hitfix thought the first four episodes “directionless and meandering“.
The show’s return coincides with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opening this weekend in the US to favourable early reviews.
Variety called it “a Civil War-era actioner of questionable taste and historical accuracy but surprisingly consistent entertainment value” and The Hollywood Reporter, “a hybrid horror-historical actioner that gleefully warps facts to entertaining effect”.
It opens here on August 2 and could be out on Blu-ray before season five of True Blood is spilt on SoHo.