True Blood Is Practically Renewed, But Alan Ball's Role May Shrink

HBO paraded its wares before a crowd of grumpy journalists yesterday at the summer TCAs (the Television Critics Association press tour, which thirsty critics also refer to as the annual Alcohol Poisoning Whirlwind), and True Blood was one of the centerpieces of the network's presentation. Naturally, creator and showrunner Alan Ball was there to chat about the show.

The biggest nugget of information Ball had to share was good news for fans: He's signed a multi-year deal with HBO, practically guaranteeing a fifth season of the vampire drama that's sucked in big ratings for the network and become legend around proverbial watercoolers (not that there was really any doubt). But there's a hitch, according to Deadline Hollywood, which reports that Ball is currently only signed on to fill the role of showrunner for one more year and might take a backseat should it when it continues, in order to develop new series.

True Blood without Alan Ball? Can that work? Ball's witty and kinky stamp has been part of the show since the opening scene of Season 1, and is a large part of what makes the show work. The flip side of that is Ball is the credited showrunner for Seasons 3 and 4, which many folks (myself included) think was/is garbage.

I love Alan Ball. His work on Six Feet Under and American Beauty was incredible. He also single-handedly brought HBO back from the dead with Seasons 1 and 2 of True Blood. But it's hard to tell whether True Blood will succeed or suffer without him at the helm.

What do you think, True Blood fans? Should Ball stick with the show he created? Or, given the recent decline in the show's quality, is True Blood ready for some new blood?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Season 4 is definitely the worst. Seasons 1 and 2 were certainly the best. Such amazing television I can rewatch over and over, definitely sets a standard for quality TV as Six Feet Under did. Season 3 is weaker, but only really dips in quality in the last 4 episodes. Up to then is great. I don't want Alan Ball to go away, ever.
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I personally loved all the seasons and thought seasons 3 and 4 are really great. I would like to see Alan Ball stay but if he don't I still think the show will be great.



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In my opinion, season 1 and 2 were the best, basically standing toe to toe but season 3 was slightly weak. Season 4 has been good but I think its too early to judge it as a whole season. We are halfway there in the current season and not much action has occurred but I am loving the whole witches stuff and hope they use that more in the next 6 eps. I also like the witch Marnie (Fiona Shaw) but didn't like Russel in the early stages.
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It's interesting - I think a lot of the people who feel True Blood has declined in the last two seasons are also people who would more likely to dislike the actual book series this is based on. I haven't read it, but based on what I've been told, it's a lot more 'out there' - they've taken a path more along the lines of the book series, this season, however they've added a somewhat creepy and realistic twist to it all. When you consider that the book series has Elvis in it (that is, Elvis was made into a vampire), that Sookie's faerie roots aren't as dark as they've been made to be in this season, etc... well, I think you just can't please everybody. I really loved last season, I'm enjoying this season- I feel like forcefully tyring to make it "like it was" again is a bad idea, and 'new blood' trying to do that would be a mess. True Blood is evolving - as long as they keep it in the hands of people who have been working on this project with Ball, perhaps it can keep its quality...
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I don't think the show lost of his quality but it's maybe because I've watched all the episodes in a short period of time. It's clear that this season it's taking a completly different direction and I think only the creator of the show knows where it's going....
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Seasons 1 and 2 of True Blood had this inexplicable feeling of freshness to them, the vampire genre had been staked to death, but this show had a witty sense of playfulness and originality that was truly fun to watch. While there are still occasional glimpses of brilliance(Eric and Pam being involved in most of them), True Blood as fans can pretty much unanimously agree, has taken a precipitous decline in quality. Alan Bell's resume is impeccable, and I hope he can restore this show to its former glory, but if not, an infusion of new blood might not be a bad thing.
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I have yet to watch True Blood yet, however American Beauty is one of my favorite movies and Six Feet Under is in my top five for tv shows. I would like to try TB just because it's Ball, but I don't care for vampires. So I would love to see him start another show.
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Hard to say, I enjoyed season 1 and liked 3 a little less than 1, but more than 2, which I half liked and half hated. I didn't think season 3 was better than 1 though. So far I think season 4 is better than all 3, excluding the first 8 minutes of season 4's season premiere. So, it might not suffer much if Alan contributes from time to time if he can't stay on full time.
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if the show follows the book directly its boring, ball puts his own twist on it.
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love true blood, and this season seems ok, sooo.... Alan Ball can do whatever, the show will live on
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I really hope that Alan Ball quits this project, because it sucks, and creates new show, something like Six feet under, which was brilliant. Actually I can't belieave hat man, who created SFU is author of this shitty vampire soap opera.
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New blood. PLEASE!!!! I still watch every week, yet find myself asking: 1. What the f*@# is this sh**?!?!?!?! and 2. Why am I still watching?? and the answers are I dunno and cuz I'm dumb I guess respectively...also there's nothing else on?;)
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This is based on a book; when they stray from the book, people complain. No Ball no problem.
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season 4 isn't over yet.. it might turn out better than expected. at least Sookie resembles the girl we got to know in season 1 again. I do think TB lost it's craziness, originality and much of it's soul in season 3.. or at least in parts. I think it has to do with the fact that Sookie isn't the main protagonist anymore and she is less determined and less naive as she was. Adding in heavy swearing and dumb ''comic'' exclamations into her lines haven't emphasized her credibility as a character. She is not much the representation of wholesome innocence as she used to be. Is Alan Ball to blame?
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You are right. He engineered the horrible seasons 3 and 4. Then only good thing was the eye candy casting. Never really cared whether shows or movies follow the letter of the law in recreating books, but seriously.....this far off??? Then to top it off, it seems the auther wrote book 11 to try and make it more tv capable. What the heck is going on????
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