Friday, July 25, 2014

New Avery Shaw title hits shelves

For those that follow my books, the fifth Avery Shaw mystery -- The Preditorial Page -- has officially hit stands.

Here is the blurb: Is speed-dating okay when you're in a relationship? It is when you're looking for a killer, especially in Avery Shaw's world. 
A naked body has been discovered in the nearby Clinton River, and while Sheriff Jake Farrell is keeping his cards close to his vest, Avery has another avenue of information: Eliot. 
It doesn't hurt that the medial examiner seems to have a crush on her -- and verbal diarrhea -- and she keeps stumbling on information that propels her ahead of the pack. 
Unfortunately for Avery, when she discovers information that no one else has -- and she finds herself on top of the media game -- she has to make a decision, and that decision is going to tick off everyone she knows. 
Between Jake's anger, Eliot's worry, and Grandpa's insistence that you can't force a handicap parking space on a business owner, Avery has her hands full. 
Lexie has a new place to live, Carly is adjusting to married life and Avery is trying to convince the men in her life that she's not in danger, despite all evidence to the contrary. 
It's a busy week -- kind of. 
In actuality, it's just a normal week for this hard-headed reporter, until someone's eye focuses on Avery and she finds herself in real danger. Again. 
Jake is angry and Eliot is torn, but Avery has an idea on how to solve the case. The only problem is, when all is said and done, someone is going to be shot ... and Avery is going to regret every move she's made on this case when it happens. 
Will someone survive to see another Avery Shaw catastrophe?

For those interested, the book is available for $3.99 as an ebook and $13.29 as a paperback.

As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

GENERAL HOSPITAL: How Rafe became another plot point

So General Hospital writer Ron Carlivati took in all the fan complaints over the past few months and fixed them.

He listened as fans complained about newbies taking over the show.

He listened as fans complained about killing off another child.

He listened as fans complained about plot-driven writing when they really wanted character-driven writing.

And he fixed it. No, he did.

How did he fix it?

He took the legacy character of Rafe (he’s a Barrington – he is a legacy character), made him a drug addict and then had him work for Fluke to run Patrick off the road and ultimately kill Gabriel. Then they had him try to run a police barricade – somehow fly out of the car (are there no airbags in Port Charles?) and die from a blow to the back of the head, even though he flew face first out of the car.

It makes perfect sense.
Oh, wait. What the heck is going on here?


This is the exact opposite of fixing things.

First off, if there was nothing for Rafe to do – and that was apparent – send the kid off to boarding school. Instead, we’re supposed to believe that Rafe got into drugs and let Fluke order him to knowingly run Patrick’s car off the road.

In what world?

Rafe may not have been a perfect kid, but he certainly wasn’t a purposeful murderer. He risked his life for Sam and Danny numerous times – and that was before he even knew them.

So Rafe was suddenly a drug-addicted thug – even though we hadn’t seen him on screen for months – and he’s perfectly fine with running Patrick off the road with a pregnant woman and a small child in the car.

The sad thing is, Rafe’s drug addiction could have been a decent story. As fans remember, Patrick spiraled down into drug addiction himself after Robin “died.” How great would a story of Patrick hating Rafe and then helping the kid go through rehab and come to terms with what he accidentally did (instead of turning Rafe into a hitman) been? It certainly would have been a superior story to what we got.

After directing his anger at the perpetrator who killed his son for all of five minutes – seriously, Sam and Patrick solved that case in an hour, so why couldn’t the PCPD – they blamed Silas, blamed Kiki and then figured out it was Rafe over the course of one conversation.

There was no flow. There was no buildup.

Then Molly jumped in the car with Rafe and they fled from the police – and tried to run a road block. That
sound you just heard was millions of GH fans collectively slamming their foreheads against their desks. It’s just ludicrous.

And, what’s even funnier is that Rafe isn’t dead quite yet. He’s just brain dead. I mean, just last week, Alice collapsed at ELQ and we found out she needed a new heart and – oh my stars and garters – here’s a heart for her. What are the odds of that?

Pretty big in Carlivati’s world, frankly. Why do you think Lulu is considering having a baby? Because Ava is going to need one to steal in nine months after Nina throws her down a flight of stairs. That’s why.

Why do you think immigration suddenly showed up at Maxie’s apartment? Because Levi called them himself to force Maxie into a green card marriage (just wait for it) to try and keep her away from Nathan.

Carlivati needs to stop with his current mantra: All plot all the time, none of that pesky character development.

He needs to reverse course, take a long look around, and fix what he’s broken. Sure, Bob Guza actually broke GH. Carlivati is desecrating the corpse, though, and it’s gone from mildly irritating to repugnant.

Fans want to see what’s going on with Lucy, Felicia, Kevin and Scotty.

Fans want Monica trotted out for more than a medical malady. We haven’t seen her since AJ’s funeral, for crying out loud.

Fans want to see some romance – and Nathan and Maxie can’t carry the entire show.

I will give Carlivati some (minor) kudos, though: Revitalizing the Brownstone was a great idea. All these
young hipsters that are living with family members would actually have a place to live together – and that could be entertaining while also being a nod to the past.

That’s the only good thing – besides Nathan and Maxie (I know, I sound like a broken record) – right now, though.

Because there’s certainly no rooting value in Nina and Ava – the airhogs of summer. There’s certainly no rooting value in the rapist with a brain tumor, Franco. There’s certainly no rooting value in Ric faking his death and letting Julian go free. And there’s certainly no rooting value in Jordan and Anna having hilariously public conversations in the park.

Shape up Carlivati. Fans have put up with enough. We want our show back.


What do you think? Did Carlivati make a mistake killing off Rafe?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Nina is now at the top of my “list”

Oh, Nina, you are crazy.

You’re not bordering the line of crazy. Honey, you’ve crossed it.

You’re not justifiably angry and hurt and lashing out – because that would be understandable, and the powers that be at General Hospital don’t do understandable.

No, Nina, you’ve jumped on the train and are speeding towards Crazy Town – where you will be named queen and reign forever with no other able to usurp your power.

I think most viewers knew that – when Michelle Stafford was hired – Nina wasn’t going to be some consummate victim. No, she was going to be a mean heroine with a certain strength to buoy her. I don’t think anyone realized that strength was going to be diagnosable mental illness, though.

Head writer Ron Carlivati has wasted no time in making sure that viewers realize that Nina is crazy.

A more subtle writer would have dragged things out; let us wonder about Nina, feel for her. Not RC, though.
He had to keep his title as Plot Driven King intact so he outed her two weeks into her tenure and gave her absolutely no rooting value whatsoever.

 I would like to think this means that Stafford is only on for the short term – but since RC insisted on giving Franco a tumor and trying to make him a hero, I have my doubts.

On Tuesday’s episode, Nina and her “nurse” sat down to make a hit list. Okay, maybe they won’t all die, but she wants to exert some pain on these people. So Silas, Ava, Sam, Madeline and Kiki better watch out (although, how she blames Kiki for any of this is beyond me).

It gave me an idea, though. If Nina can make a “list” then I’m going to make my own GH hit list.

These are the characters that have done me wrong – and Nina really is at the top of the list after the past two weeks for all the reasons mentioned above -- and I want some bloody retribution.

10. Sabrina Santiago: She made me watch her whine and moon after a man that was clearly out of her league for months. She had every character on the canvas – some created just for this sole purpose – propping her to the point where I wanted to deafen myself with Q-tips every time she was on the screen. I half expected the first words Robert spoke when he woke up from his coma to be: "Forget the fact that I saw Robin and she is alive, how is that nice Sabrina girl that keeps trying to steal Robin's life doing?" I hate passive aggressive characters, and Sabrina fits on that list – right between Lily and Courtney. Let’s hope that Sabrina decides to stay in Puerto Rico for good.

9. Carly Jacks: You are living with the man that facilitated the rape of your son. The man that kidnapped
your daughter. The man that faked the rape of your best friend’s wife. You make excuses for his “brain tumor” – but the only one buying that is you. Your children certainly aren’t. And, while you’re off trying to run Sonny’s life, you’ve left your brat of a daughter with the guy that once kidnapped her. On the flip side, you know that your ex-husband brutally killed the father of your child and you're protecting him -- even though you've said he's a danger to your children time and again. Buy a clue, Carly.

8. Ava Jerome: Enough is enough. You shot Olivia, killed Connie, framed AJ, slept with your son-in-law, set up AJ’s death by mobster, had sleazy crypt sex with your boyfriend’s father, threatened everyone in town and betrayed your brother. It’s time to die. Since you’re on Nina’s list, I’m guessing a fall down the stairs is in your future – and then a baby theft (anyone else wondering why Lulu is pushing for a kid so hard? Ava’s going to need a baby to steal). I don’t want another baby theft and I’m tired of Ava being on every day. I love Maura West, but I want to see Lucy, Kevin and Scotty – not Ava.

7. Sonny Corinthos: You’re a despicable human being. You like to fancy yourself as a mobster with a heart of gold, but you’re not. You’ve betrayed everyone in your life. Everyone. You’ve declared your children off limits while terrorizing the children of your enemies. You killed an innocent unarmed man – after stealing his child from him. You never take any responsibility for your own mistakes but blame anyone and everyone else you can. You’ve thrown more barware than a drunken hooker -- and fathered more children than a jacked up NBA star. I’m just tired of you. It’s time for Sonny to ride off into the sunset with Brenda. It’s General Hospital – not General Mobspital.

6. Olivia Falconeri: There’s no rooting value in her relationship with Sonny because it all happened off screen. Her visions are embarrassing. Her intrusion in her grown son’s life is annoying. And, quite frankly, I think she’s worn out her welcome in Port Charles. If ever there was a character that could just be lifted right out (to help ease the over-population in Port Charles) it is Olivia. Maybe it’s time she returned to Bensonhurst.

5. Lulu Spencer: While I’ve never warmed to Emme Rylan’s Lulu, I have decided to look at the character as someone else completely – which at least makes the character tolerable to me. Kind of. The sudden insistence on carrying her own baby – right on the heels of getting Rocco back – makes me want to smack the character, though. You live in a shoe box and you can barely take care of the kid you have now. I know RC is just forcing this so Ava has a baby to steal when Nina deprives her of the one she’s carrying but, come on, does Lulu’s entire life have to be around procreation? Because it has been for the past two years and it’s getting old.

4. Morgan Corinthos: If he screeches “Mikey!” one more time … I swear, I'm going to pop him one. I think Morgan has potential as a character and I think the actor who portrays him is going to go on and find success in prime time and movies (probably sooner, rather than later). If we get the full three years with Bryan Craig in the role, we should consider ourselves lucky -- because the kid is going to run away to do something else at that point. That being said, Morgan is a whiny brat. The fact that he would even consider raising a baby with Ava after what she did makes my stomach turn. Morgan should be a dynamic character – let’s not saddle him with the never ending task of propping Ava. It wears on me. Bring on Scotty, Kevin and Lucy's kids for an age-appropriate love interest.

3. Tracy Quartermaine: Tracy has been many things over the years – including a woman that was willing to let her father die for power. She is not an idiot, though. So Tracy refusing to see the light where Fluke is concerned irritates me. She keeps accusing Kiki of hitting on Luke. But she never asks herself: Why? Kiki is with a rich young man who adores her. Luke is a pasty old white dude that doesn’t have two nickels to ruin together. So why would Kiki be after him? Then there’s that whole forgetting Dante’s name and acting weird every time she turns around. You’re a mean woman, Tracey, you’re not an idiot.

2. Levi Dunkleman: You have no redeeming qualities. Your voice is like nails on a chalkboard. You’re alienating Maxie from her family (including keeping her from good food) and keeping her from her child. You're self-righteous and a know-it-all. You’re also clearly up to something. I know you’re just being used as a temporary stumbling block for Nathan and Maxie – with another ulterior motive thrown in for good measure, perhaps -- but that weird shadow on your top lip makes me want attack you with a really painful laser electrolysis system – or a burning hot Epilady.


1. Ron Carlivati: Okay, he’s not a character. He has managed to ruin GH, though. Previous head writer Bob Guza decimated GH. He did. He lost millions of viewers while trying to prop his agenda, all the while flogging viewers with Jason, Carly and Sonny every single day. He’s the reason GH is in big trouble right now. That being said, RC is the one dousing the corpse with gasoline and lighting it on fire. RC is a plot driven writer – not a character driven writer – and the things that are going on at GH – like Nina and her stupid list – are not acceptable right now. For the love of all that’s holy, please try to get Claire Labine back. She’s the only one that can right this sinking ship. GH got left off the best writing list for the Emmys -- even though there were two open spots. The show couldn't even get a pity nomination. That's a direct message to Carlivati.

What do you think? Who would make your list?

Friday, June 20, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Aurora Sky gives new twist on young adult vampire story

It takes a lot to surprise me when it comes to young adult fiction anymore.

And yes, despite the misconceptions associated with it, I love young adult fiction. Especially in the summer – when I just want to turn my brain off and have an enjoyable read.

That’s exactly what I discovered with Nikki Jefford’s Aurora Sky series.

I’m not going to lie, I was a little unsure of what I was getting myself into during the first third of the first book. I stuck with it, though, and I’m glad I did because I would have hated to miss out on this world.

What were my initial misgivings? I thought they were going for Buffy The Vampire Slayer, complete with an Initiative twist. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m getting a little ahead of myself, though.

Aurora Sky is a typical teenager. She’s looking forward to her senior year of high school. She’s struggling with her best friend – who is jealous of Aurora’s academic success and her college plans - and she's crushing on another student from afar.

Then – bam! – Aurora’s world is turned upside down when she’s involved in a car accident. Her distraught mother agrees to give the government control of Aurora’s life – if they save her.

And what does the government want? It seems they’ve infected Aurora with a bevy of viruses that make her
“almost” a vampire. They have a serum, though, that must be taken every thirty days that will still keep her human. As a side result, Aurora’s blood is now toxic to vampires. And part of her job is to lure them in and then poison them with her blood.

After a long convalescence, Aurora slowly regains her strength and then tries to return to the life she was living before the accident. A few things have changed, though. First off, she’s terrified of getting in a car. Second? She finds herself inexplicably drawn to the school bad boy – Fane – who she couldn’t stand before.

Things start happening pretty quickly for Aurora at this point. Fane seems just as drawn to her as she is to him, so he dumps his vicious girlfriend Nikki and takes up with Aurora (which doesn't go over well with Nikki). For her part, Aurora is trying to keep her secret identity from Fane – even when she’s paired up with a hunky new partner named Dante.

And, for the twist everyone sees coming in the first book, Fane is (of course!) a vampire – which complicates everyone’s relationships.

I don’t want to go into any further spoilers – but this series has a lot of twists and turns that aren’t readily apparent.

As a heroine, Aurora has normal teenage feelings – even though she has adult problems. Between dealing with her depressed mother, a besotted Dante and a conflicted Fane – Aurora has a lot on her plate.

At initial glance, this series might not look like it has a rich mythology – but that’s very far from the truth. Jefford is an excellent storyteller. So, instead of dropping everything in the first book, she doles out information a bit at a time. That’s how I like my fiction. I never understand why an author reveals everything in the first book and then wonders why he/she has nowhere to go. Sometimes less really is more.

In addition to making Aurora a believable heroine, Jefford has also surrounded her with “real” characters. For example, while Nikki might seem to have no redeeming qualities in the first book – you soon learn more about her. Sure, you might still hate her, but you also might find some of her antics enjoyable.

Dante and Fane are both interesting love interests and Jefford doesn’t feel the need to make one of them the bad guy to prop the other one. They both are authentic and real.

And, without ruining everything, the events at the end of the third book, Bad Blood (which I just finished reading last night), will leave readers chomping at the bit until Jefford can get another installment out. Yes, it was really that good.

The writing itself is sound and the prose is enjoyable without being overbearing. There are a few typos here are there, but nothing major. We’re talking sporadic incorrect punctuation and not knowing the difference between blonde and blond as the biggest problems – so even grammar Nazis shouldn’t have a reason to complain.

Quite frankly, the best reason to read these books is Aurora herself. She feels like a real person in an extraordinary world – and you can’t ask for more than that.

Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter is available for free. Northern Bites is 2.99. Bad Blood is $3.99. There are also two novellas: Stakeout and Evil Red which retail for .99 each.

Take a chance on something fun this summer. True fans of the genre won’t regret it.


TELEVISION: Falling Skies returns Sunday – but is it still worth watching?

I’ve been a big fan of TNT’s Falling Skies since the beginning.

To be fair, I wasn’t sure if I would like the alien drama. The only thing I knew about Noah Wylie’s acting ability was that he drove me nuts on ER and he was in those Librarian movies – which didn’t really interest me (knowing that Christian Kane is going to be in the new series, though, will force me to watch – but that’s a whole other issue).

Steven Spielberg gave the show some heft, though – and I do love an alien invasion storyline.

So, I tuned in – and I was blown away.

To me, Falling Skies is what the V reboot should have been. It was gritty, well-acted and it touched on the bigger questions about collaborators and human nature when the world comes to an end. The V reboot – despite Elizabeth Mitchell – was all flash and no substance.

At its heart, Falling Skies is about family. Tom Mason (Wylie) lost his wife in the early days of the invasion. His middle son, Ben (Connor Jessup), is taken by the aliens and “harnessed” and forced to do slave labor. His eldest son, Hal (Drew Roy) is stuck between being a boy and being a man and his youngest son, Matt (Maxim Knight) is trying to learn what being a kid really means in a new world.

Supporting characters include Will Patton’s gruff and loyal Captain Weaver, Moon Bloodgood’s quiet and
dedicated Anne, Colin Cunningham’s rapscallion John Pope, Seychelle Gabrielle’s innocent Lourdes and Sarah Sanguin Carter’s feisty Maggie.

Through the three previous seasons, other characters have come and gone – but most of Falling Skies’ drama is generated through these characters.

The first season of the show as all about survival and dealing with the harnessed kids. Once Ben is freed, we soon find out the harness has mixed alien DNA with his own and given him enhanced abilities. Through the years, Jessup has grown the most as an actor and his Ben is the character that most often serves as the moral compass to those around him.

On the flip side, Hal often reverts to teenage whining as he straddles a line between adulthood and the inconsiderate teenager he was before the world came to an end. As his love interest, Maggie is probably the most interesting female character – and her loyalty is only tested by her pragmatic nature.

The first two seasons of Falling Skies were strong – but I had issues with the third season.

I didn’t have a problem with Hal being implanted with a worm so the aliens could control him. That’s good science fiction.

And, as a viewer, I understood that Bloodgood’s real life pregnancy forced Anne to be off screen for most of the season. Those things happen in television. It is what it is.

On the flip side, though, I’ve found the show dwelling on unimportant political issues at times – and that seems to drag down the narrative.

And, finally, Tom and Anne’s newborn daughter is (quite frankly) a jump the shark moment.


Anne gave birth to Alexis early in season three, found out she was somehow an alien hybrid and then disappeared with her for the bulk of the season – only showing back up in the season finale. When the duo did show back up, Alexis had aged years and could now walk and talk.

I think Kenneth Johnson should sue.

Johnson, the creator and writer of V, also wrote about a half alien, half human, hybrid named Elizabeth. Elizabeth also grew rapidly – so rapidly she saved the day at the end of V: The Final Battle. While Alexis hasn’t technically saved the day yet, she did eradicate all the worms that were infecting Lourdes and she appears to have some sort of power.

Johnson also wrote in his original work that the humans joined forces with other aliens to eradicate the invading aliens (did you follow that). And, when the first alien threat was over, it looked ominously like the “helper” aliens were now going to take over.

That is also exactly what is happening in Falling Skies. The Volm have showed up, pledging that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and said they will help defeat the invading alien army. Then, at the very end of season three, they tried to relocate all the humans to camps for their own safety while they continued the war.
Of course, our heroes balked, and we’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out what will happen next for them, but I’m a little worried.

I still think Falling Skies is well-written and acted, but the writing is starting to suffer. Let’s hope that season four rights the ship instead of sending it down the same road that V: The Series did before it was ultimately cancelled.

What won’t work is Alexis being the new focal point and sudden “savior” to us all. That failed on V and it will fail here.

Alien invasion stories only work when you look at the human element associated with it. Falling Skies is – sadly – starting to lose the human element.


What do you think? Is Falling Skies losing its mojo?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TELEVISION: When is your favorite show kicking off its summer season?

It used to be that summer was a desert for new programming.

None of the networks (big five or otherwise) wanted to waste their shows on a season when people historically didn’t watch television.

That’s not the case anymore.


Not only is summer a peak television season now – some of summer’s most reliable shows are also marking real viewership highs.

For me, summer has become about guilty pleasures like True Blood, Switched at Birth, Dallas, Witches of East End and Wilfred. There are other shows, though, like Suits, Falling Skies and Under the Dome that offer true quality.

While this may be True Blood’s last season, a couple of the networks are also offering new fare – which I’m curious to check out, including The Last Ship, The Leftovers, and The Strain (which is based on a series of books I enjoy).

So, when does your favorite show premiere?

June 19
Defiance (8 p.m., Syfy)
Dominion (9 p.m., Syfy)
Rectify (9 p.m., Sundance)
Rookie Blue (9 p.m., ABC)

June 21
Almost Royal (10 p.m., BBC)

June 22
Wipeout (8 p.m., ABC)
The Last Ship (9 p.m., TNT)
The Musketeers (9 p.m., BBC America)
Rising Star (9 p.m., ABC)
True Blood (9 p.m., HBO)
Falling Skies (10 p.m., TNT)

June 23
CeeLo Green’s The Good Life (10:30 p.m., TBS)

June 24
Covert Affairs (10 p.m., USA)
NY Med (10 p.m., ABC)
Tyrant (10 p.m., FX)

June 25
Big Brother (8 p.m., CBS)
Young & Hungry (8 p.m., ABC Family)
Mystery Girls (8:30 p.m., ABC Family)
Taxi Brooklyn (10 p.m., NBC)
Wilfred (10 p.m., FXX)

June 27
Girl Meets World (9:30 p.m., Disney)

June 29
Reckless (9 p.m., CBS)
The Leftovers (10 p.m., HBO)
Unforgettable (10 p.m., CBS)

June 30
Under the Dome (10 p.m., CBS)

July 6
Witches of East End (9 p.m., Lifetime)

July 9
Extant (9 p.m., CBS)
The Bridge (10 p.m., FX)

July 10
Welcome to Sweden (9 p.m., NBC)
Working the Engels (9:30 p.m., NBC)

July 11
Hemlock Grove (Netflix)

July 13
Ray Donovan (9 p.m., Showtime)
Masters of Sex (10 p.m., Showtime)
The Strain (10 p.m., FX)

July 14
Backpackers (8:30 p.m., CW)
Seed (9:30 p.m., CW)

July 17
Rush (9 p.m., USA)
Married (10 p.m., FXX)
Satisfaction (10 p.m., USA)
You’re the Worst (10:30 p.m., FXX)

July 22
Food Fighters (8 p.m., NBC)

July 23
America’s Got Talent (9 p.m., NBC)

July 27
Manhattan (10 p.m., WGN)

July 30
Penn & Teller: Fool Us (8 p.m., CW)

July 31
The Quest (8 p.m., ABC)

August 1
The Killing (Netflix)
Masters of Illusion (8 p.m., CW)

August 4
Bachelor in Paradise (8 p.m., ABC)
Partners (9 p.m., FX)

August 8
The Knick (10 p.m., Cinemax)

August 9
Outlander (9 p.m., Starz)

August 13
Legends (9 p.m., TNT)
Franklin & Bash (10 p.m., TNT)

August 18
Dallas (9 p.m., TNT)

What do you think? What’s your favorite summer show



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TELEVISION: Saying goodbye to True Blood is a mixed blessing

I loved True Blood before it was even a television show. That is to say that I loved the books that the series was based on, so I was determined to love the series, too.

It’s always an iffy proposition when a beloved book series is turned into entertainment for the masses. Thankfully, for fans of Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries, HBO was the network that became home to Sookie Stackhouse and her merry band of cohorts.

Since the show was on HBO, that meant that there was rampant swearing, nudity and violence – all things I’m totally fine with. It’s not for everyone, but it upped the entertainment value for me.

When the show debuted, it was a cultural phenomenon out of the gate. The first season was well done, well
acted, well cast, and well paced. There really was very little to complain about.

Unfortunately, that can only be said about the first season.

Starting with season two, a disturbing trend started to surface: Hit-or-miss writing.

I think, when the writers focused on the big three – Sookie, Bill and Eric – the writing was usually solid. There were gaps in their stories, too – don’t get me wrong – but it was still fairly even.

It was the secondary characters that saw the brunt of the bad writing – especially Sam, Alcide and Lafayette.

Because True Blood drifted so far from the literary source material – the writers could essentially do what they wanted to do. That was both a good and a bad thing.

Take Game of Thrones, for example. I love the show, but it sticks to the books a lot more than True Blood does. Therefore, every big death that has happened, has come straight from the books – so it’s not that surprising.

True Blood, on the other hand, broke from its literary source.

Lafayette, for example, should have been dead after the first season. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that practically every storyline he’s had since that first season has been a righteous dud.

Then there’s Alcide, who – other than his introduction story – has been mired in pack politics that don’t
match the book and often find the character backsliding on a regular basis.

Sam has wandered from story to story – never quite fitting in – and suddenly professed his love to a young woman he’d known all of two weeks (right on the tail of Luna dying) and his characters seems to be lost at sea.

On the flip side, Jason Stackhouse continues to delight. I hate the character of Jason in the books and yet I can’t get enough of him in the series. Every dumb thing he does makes me laugh. Every heroic thing he does makes me laugh. Quite frankly, practically everything he does makes me laugh.

Unfortunately for Jason, his new vampire story seems to be a real dud. I have a feeling he’ll end up with Jessica when it’s all said and done – although I still hope she’ll end up with Hoyt.

Speaking of Jessica, she’s a character that doesn’t exist in the books and who – for the most part – has been an absolute diamond in the rough. I fell in love with Jessica when Hoyt did – and I still feel a little sad about their breakup. Still, she had a better story in season six than just about anyone else.

I think True Blood’s greatest mistake was delving into fairy stuff too often. Although, to be fair, I thought that was the books’ biggest mistakes, too.

And, when it comes down to it, I don’t know any book fans that truly ended up happy when Harris ended the series last year. I’m kind of curious what will happen when the television series ends this year?

Eric fans (both book and television) have made no bones about what they want. I think they’re going to be
disappointed, though. Eric’s storyline has deviated and, while he and Sookie occasionally cross paths, I don’t think they’ve built up any great love story between the two of them on screen.

Eric fans are vocal and often whiny (yeah, I said it), and they stomp their feet and throw a tantrum to get what they want – but I don’t see it happening here, just like it didn't happen in the books.

In the real world, I think Sookie and Alcide would make the most sense. She’s not immortal (neither is he) and that whole age thing would be a pesky barrier. She doesn’t want to be turned into a vampire, so what are her options if she’s with a vampire?

This isn’t the real world, though, and I honestly believe that Bill and Sookie are end game.

Why?

They’ve gotten the bulk of the romantic story. The first three seasons were completely about their relationship. And, after that, their relationship was still the underlying story.

Think about it, when Sookie and Eric got together – it was put in terms of how it affected Bill and Sookie.

When Bill became Billith, it was about how he was scaring everyone – and especially Sookie.

When it came time to take out Warlow, despite everything he said, it was Bill that was willing to die to save Sookie.

And, when you compound that with the fact that their portrayers ,Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin, are
married in real life? I just think the writers are going to make them end game. I don’t see another end there.

Now, we know this final season is about the vampires gearing up for slaughter since the True Blood supply has been tainted. The last scene of the sixth season was a group of them getting ready to descend on Bon Temps and an outdoor barbecue.

The show runners have said that the season opens up with a bloodbath – and some longtime characters may die in that opening scene. In fact, one of the deaths is being called “shocking.”

My guess is that Arlene, Terry, Lafayette or Tara’s mom will be the shocking death. I’m sure some other people will die throughout the season (Pam better survive and inherit the Earth), but I can’t see them taking out a big dog too early.

In the end, I think True Blood was a beacon of entertainment hope in a usually stiff summer season. In recent years, some of the summer programming is actually better than fall and spring programming – and I think True Blood deserves some of the accolades for that.

Was True Blood perfect?

Absolutely not. True Blood idled at ridiculous and peaked at stupid on occasion. The writing was also all over the place – with stories being dropped out of the blue (Jason being a werepanther, Lafayette selling drugs, Tara being attracted to men, etc.) and some supernatural themes being shoved down our throat.

That being said, True Blood had moments of brilliance. And here are my top five:

5. Lafayette delivers an “AIDS” burger: True Blood never shied away from difficult topics. Lafayette
being a gay man of color (who also sold drugs) could have made him a stereotype. Instead, Lafayette managed to steal the show on many occasions – including the season one episode where a couple of red necks send Lafayette’s burger back because they don’t want to get AIDS. Lafayette’s response – licking the bun, especially – was spot on. Not only did he beat up all three of the “manly men” taunting him, but he also admonished them to tip their waitress before leaving. That scene is only one of a hundred that showcase why the first season was so great.

4. Terry’s Funeral: Season six was, without a doubt, True Blood’s weakest. Still, there were a few moments that tore at the viewer’s heart – none so much as Terry’s funeral, though. Poor Terry, he never got to truly be happy. He thought Arlene was pregnant with his child, but it turned out to be Rene’s. He sacrificed his military buddy to save Arlene but then couldn’t live with the guilt. Then, when he couldn’t take it anymore, he arranged his own death after setting Arlene up financially. The most crushing part of Terry’s death was that, right before the hit, Arlene arranged for him to be glamored to forget his guilt. Sadly, it was too late for Terry, though. The best moment of the funeral came when Sookie outed herself as a telepath (even though most of the town already knew) and told Arlene that she was reading Terry’s mind the first time he saw her and knew what he thought, and that he loved her from the first moment he saw her.

3. Jessica meets the sun (not quite): The witch storyline was one of my favorites in the books, but it kind
of fell flat on the small screen. While most of the witch storyline felt forced and contrived, Marnie/Antonia trying to force all the vampires to day walk was chilling. With Bill anchored down by silver next to her, Jessica managed to cast off her chains, trick her jailer, and make her way upstairs and was ready to fry. She didn’t know what was waiting for her on the other side of the double doors -- other than sunlight that would surely kill her. So, with Bill screaming in the basement and Jason fighting the security guards on the lawn, Jessica opened the doors and … yeah, Jason saved her. It was still a great moment.

2. Godric meets the sun: The Fellowship of the Sun was a lot scarier in the books than it ultimately ended up being on the small screen. And, while the overall story had highs (Jason’s takedown of Steve Newlin and rescue of Sookie) and lows (the scattered Texas vampires, the fumbled Barry subplot) the emotional heft of season two was reached in Dallas – not in Bon Temps. Between Eric’s breakdown at losing his maker (Alexander Skarsgaard’s finest work) to Sookie meeting the sun with them, Godric’s death proved that immortality isn’t everything.


1. Russell Edgington delivers the news: Denis O’Hare’s delightfully obnoxious portrayal of Russell Edginton is really one of True Blood’s greatest achievements. Between Russell carrying around the urn of goo that used to be Talbot to Edgington’s sad little façade with the street hustler, O’Hare managed to make Russell riveting. When Russell took it upon himself to start slaughtering people on live television, though, it was both horrific and hilarious. Russell was one of the greatest book deviations on the show – and he helped make the middle run of True Blood highly entertaining.

The final season of True Blood debuts on Sunday.

What do you think? What will you miss most about True Blood?