Truly, Prime Draws First Blood Again

Once more, SoHo subscribers will miss out on seeing True Blood in HD when season six premieres on Prime.

Sky’s free-to-air channel again has first dibs on the HBO hit because it was the first broadcaster to screen the vampire drama in NZ.

The latest season goes to air this weekend on HBO and, if it were a SoHo exclusive, probably would be airing here in the 8.30 Monday slot Game of Thrones has just vacated.

Instead, SoHo is replacing Thrones with the two-part British spy thriller Restless and the earliest Prime will screen the premiere will be July 5.

It’s preceding the new episodes with a re-run of the season five finale on June 28.

True Blood always has been one of Prime’s signature series, so it’s fair enough that the network retain first-run rights.

But it’s not right that fans who subscribe to SoHo — which has HBO content as its foundation — should have to wait months to see season six in HD because Sky refuses to upgrade Prime to an HD service.

So SoHo HD subscribers are getting stung twice: they miss out on immediate access to True Blood in 1080i; and even if they can endure Prime’s sub-par SD transmission, they’ll still have to wait weeks to see episodes that will be buzzed about online within hours of their HBO broadcast.

Rubbing salt in the wounds of this short-sighted strategy is Prime’s decision to dump True Blood from midweek to Friday, a night that’s traditionally one of the week’s lowest rating.

The channel’s acknowledgement that True Blood no longer has the same free-to-air pulling power should be reason enough for SoHo to screen it the same week as Prime.

Early reviews of the new season — the first without creator Alan Ball as showrunner — are as mixed as the early signals “as to whether the show will get back on track” (New York Times).

“After a couple of seasons where the show and its mythology have grown increasingly crazy and outlandish, True Blood returns on somewhat surer footing,” said Variety, “with a couple of key cast additions and driving storylines to bolster the serialised drama.

“Once one of HBO’s biggest assets, the series has been eclipsed qualitatively and buzz-wise by newer entries like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire, but when on its game, the vampire drama proves there’s still life left in it, even if there’s a good chance the whole thing goes skidding off the blood-soaked rails.”

The Boston Herald reckons True Blood “is pumping strong again”, with a “wondrous infusion of energy, twists and scares”.

But People magazine argues it’s still “neglecting the potent subtext of vampire myth –forbidden sex and romance — in favour of political allegory” while Entertainment Weekly says “it’s getting harder to remember that this blood-leeching drama used to be a whole lot of fun”.

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3 Responses to “Truly, Prime Draws First Blood Again”

  1. Why is Sky refusing to turn Prime into HD? … SO annoying 🙁

  2. Because the channel doesn’t earn enough ad revenue to justify, in Sky’s view, the cost of converting Prime to HD.

  3. It’s not just vampires that suck … 🙂

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