HBO’s ’True Blood’
Blood. Bare asses. Smelly dead corpses. Mental hospital flirting. Very sexy werewolves. While this might sound like a lot, it’s really only scratching the surface of the third season of the mega-popular HBO vampire series True Blood.
With a first season in 2008 that geared up slowly, by the time last summer’s second season started, the heat was on: True Blood became a phenomenon. Ratings doubled, and audiences couldn’t get enough of the off-the-wall madness that was played out in the town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.
However, while year 2’s season-long story about a powerful Maenad (MaryAnn, played brilliantly by Michelle Forbes) took the show to new levels of craziness, True Blood managed to find a balance between storytelling of lunacy proportions balanced with gore and shock regularly topping episode after episode with a dash of the occasional heartfelt moment. Even creator Alan Ball recently referred to what happens in the show as "absurd," but he (and true fans of the show know) the fun of True Blood is turning off that critic voice in your head and just going along for the ride.
That advice is best served for the third season. The action picks up right where season 2 left off, with Bill (Stephen Moyer) being kidnapped shortly after proposing marriage to Sookie (Anna Paquin). Sookie looks to sexy vamp Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) for help and, yes, there is a continued level of flirting between the two of them that should keep fans hoping for a liaison. It’s not long before we find out who has taken Bill, and, along the way, we come up on the main thrust, so to speak of this new season--werewolves.
Other characters are busy on their own stories as well, and, with Ball being openly gay, it should come as no surprise that True Blood manages to be very gay without coming off as a gay-centric show. Lafayette takes care of his cousin Tara (Rutina Wesley) and his schizophrenic mother (guest Alfre Woodard) but the mascara-wearing cook will also find himself drawn to his mother’s nurse (newcomer Kevin Alejandro). Also: in the first episode two characters you’d never suspect to be drawn to each other are suddenly contemplating taking a shower together!
Furthermore, the King of Mississippi, Russell (played by Denis O’Hare) is seeking a battle with the Queen (Evan Rachel Wood) with the help of his male partner of 700 years, Talbot (sexy Theo Alexander) and, as if it’s a perfect world, the gay issue never comes up. Following that portion, we soon meet werewolf Alcide (hunky Joe Manganiello), and I guarantee his ripped, bulky torso will make you wish he was getting down with any of the other hot men on the show... who knows, maybe he will.
Dim-but-hot Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) tries to get his libido back while figuring out what he wants to do with his life. And shape-shifter Sam (Sam Trammell) finds the family he never knew he had--though, in sync with the rest of the show, things won’t be as they seem.
Ball and his writers are smart enough to know to keep things moving, and the stories weave in and out of one another seamlessly. Also, while there’s plenty of eye candy for male and female viewers, there’s also the occasional heart-stopping scare, and even a moment where you realize that you truly care about these people.
As absurd as it all might sound when you talk about True Blood around the water cooler the next day, the show amazingly continues to take the idea of entertainment and runs with it, making one of the most exciting, humorous, engaging series on the television scene today.
Do yourself a favor, though, turn off that questioning voice , fasten your seatbelts, and enjoy the bumpy night.