LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - What a strange trip it was for "True Blood," a series that began with enormous promise, began to drunkenly stagger as if it was imbibing something more mood-altering than blood, and finally lurched back toward a measure of sobriety in the home stretch of its seventh season. Still, Sunday's series finale (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven't watched) -- despite some poignant moments -- was simply too little, too late to redeem a show that frequently managed to feel absurd even for those who once happily believed in a world filled with vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, faeries and demons.
Before settling into a focus on wrapping things up where the program began -- with the telepathic Sookie (Anna Paquin) and her seriously complicated relationship with vampire beau Bill (Stephen Moyer) -- "True Blood" spent too much time throughout the season dealing with peripheral characters, occasionally killing one here or there, without yielding much of an emotional payday. Nor did it really make sense to elevate Anna Camp's Sarah to become such a centerpiece of the plot, with her blood representing the salvation to a vampire plague.
Credit Brian Buckner and Scott Winant -- who wrote and directed the finale, respectively -- for deftly flipping "happily ever after" on its head, with Bill having chosen to die rather than condemn Sookie to a dead-end life with a vampire. The producers built to that in previous episodes with flashbacks about Bill, setting the stage for his noble sacrifice.
Coming back to them felt right, in a way the series hadn't in quite some time. They always represented the show's center, even with Sookie's veritable smorgasbord of supernatural suitors along the way and Bill's detour into something resembling vampire godhood.