With two buzzed-about awards shows coming up this week — Sunday’s VMAs and the Emmys on Monday — this space would typically be dedicated to one of those. In a selfish but necessary decision, I must instead turn to True Blood (Series Finale, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO), which ends its seventh and final season this week.
How does one effectively wrap up a vampire drama that has forced viewers through a gauntlet of werewolves, maenads, witches, shape-shifters and a very confusing naked vampire messiah? No one knows (at least, True Blood writers don’t, clearly), so brace yourself as we spin wildly out of control toward some semblance of a conclusion for the residents of Bon Temps.
Though True Blood will always hold a place on my long list of favorite shows, it’s not without major flaws (See: the last three seasons). The entire idea of vampires “coming out of the coffin,” fighting for equal rights and, as seen more recently, battling Hep V, have often come off as a cheap attempt to allegorize LGBTQ issues and HIV/AIDS — without any effort or effectiveness. The show is responsible for many questionable/abandoned storylines, plot holes and general absurdity, so when you invest in seven seasons of True Blood, you sign up for crazy. But, between WTF-moments punctuated by a carousel of character hookups (making vampire blood-fueled sex hallucinations a thing is a genius tactic for ensuring that your audience will get to see nearly every character bone, if only in a dream sequence), True Blood has offered some of the best TV moments.
I didn’t have television access when True Blood first premiered. But 10 minutes into first watching the pilot, after that initial vampire introduction and the intoxicating theme song (still one of the best TV intros), I was hooked. Here was a show that ran with a supernatural idea but didn’t take itself too seriously. All at once it was campy and frightening, gory and sexy and, most of all, fun — which is what TV should be more often.
In this week’s final (sniffle) episode, Sookie continues to try to sway Bill; Eric and Pam face off against Gus and the yakuza; and Andy… comes upon an inheritance? OK, maybe it is time for this mess to end.
WEDNESDAY AUG. 20
Epic Ink (Series Premiere, 10:30 p.m., A&E) – The latest in a string of tattoo shows centers around a Springfield, Ore., shop known for hyper-realistic pop culture tats.
Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project (11 p.m., VH1) – Is this the end of Hunter Valentine? Amy decides to leave the band and Linda encourages her to stay as a solo act.
THURSDAY AUG. 21
Inside the Actors Studio (8 p.m., Bravo) – James Lipton pays tribute to the tragically late, universally great Robin Williams.
Spark: A Burning Man Story (8 p.m., Showtime) – An inside look at the weeklong desert festival, first held in 1986, celebrating art, nature, creativity and self-expression. Also: drugs.
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – Heidi needs a dress for the Creative Art Emmys and tasks the designers with creating her look.
FRIDAY AUG. 22
Jonah From Tonga (10 p.m., HBO) – The boys are on their best behavior as Catholic school representatives sit in on classes at the Lazarus House. Just kidding, Jonah and friends make a series of terrible decisions that lands them in juvie. Don’t give up on them, Kool Kris!
The Knick (10 p.m., Cinemax) – The Knickerbocker surgeons practice on pigs; Barrow seeks out his missing tooth; Thackery considers operating on a former companion.
SUNDAY AUG. 24
2014 MTV Video Music Awards (9 p.m., MTV) – What pop culture-defining moment could possibly top Miley Cyrus’ now-infamous teddy bear twerk-off with Robin Thicke? My prediction: Beyoncé — no stranger to iconic awards show moments — will divaliciously serve Jay Z divorce papers at some point between her performance and her acceptance of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. Pre-show at 8 p.m.
The Leftovers (10 p.m., HBO) – Kevin distracts himself from the recent troubling events by hunting that pesky deer that tore up his kitchen. Elsewhere, we catch up with Tom, Nora interviews for a job and Grandpa Garvey is honored.
MONDAY AUG. 25
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards (8 p.m., NBC) – The Emmys, on a Monday? Yup. Seth Meyers hosts this annual tribute to TV. Including the 7:30 p.m. red carpet coverage, this is a near-four-hour event. Snack accordingly.