Friday, June 12, 2009

New season of "True Blood" doesn't suck

After watching the first two new episodes of the second season of HBO's deliciously fun vampire series "True Blood," I've realized something very important: single heterosexual women (and single gay men) should probably avoid this series like the plague.
Don't get me wrong. The show -- about telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and her adventures in Louisiana's supernatural underworld -- is a hoot, full of witty dialogue, hilarious performance and truly beautiful (if creepy) imagery. I'd never steer anyone away from it based on quality.
It's just that, if you're single and so inclined, Bill Compton will ruin you for ALL other men. As fans know, Bill is Sookie's boyfriend. He's also a vampire and, as played by the sultry Stephen Moyer, he's the most ridiculously erotic man (dead or undead) currently on TV. He's over a hundred years old and has the manners of a Southern gentleman. He's gorgeous. He pronounces "Sookie" as "Sucky," which, for some reason, is unbelievably hot. He's great in bed. And, in this season's premiere, he offers a ticked off Sookie an apology so eloquent and beautiful, I literally gasped. Seriously. It's the kind of apology that ends with the sentence "You are my miracle." Swoon!
Sigh. OK, Bill worship aside, it's nice to have this enjoyable (if a bit unfocused) series back on TV. The new season, which starts Sunday at 9 p.m., picks up where the last one left off, with Sookie and Tara (Rutina Wesley) finding a body in Andy's (Chris Bauer) car. I won't reveal who that body belongs to, but I will say that it was a bit of a surprise. The show wastes no time in following up on some of last season's other hanging plotlines, like Bill's murder of Sookie's skeevy uncle; the bratty new vampire Bill had to "turn" to make up for murdering a vamp to protect Sookie and a little back story on Maryann (Michelle Forbes), the mysterious woman who kind of adopted Tara at the end of last season. We learn a bit more about Maryann's history with Sam (Sam Trammell) in Sunday's premiere and, let me say, I couldn't be happier that Forbes seems to be getting a larger part this season. Like fellow "TB" cast members Bauer and William Sanderson, Forbes is one of those actors who has been in nearly every show, and she's always a dark delight.
The show also hasn't lost its dark sense of humor. In addition to the supernatural mayhem, we get scenes like the one where Bill teaches new vamp Jessica how to recycle, and another in which the Sheriff lectures Andy while wearing some sort of country line dance outfit.
"True Blood" does have flaws, with Sookie Stackhouse a pretty polarizing character. Paquin is adorable and charming, but Sookie can be tough to take at times. I understand her life is confusing, but she's just so damn whiny. Plus, in the second episode, she does something so stupid that you just want to shake her.
The show's narrative also can get a bit twisty, and I sometimes worry that they're trying to do too much with too many characters.
But, overall, "True Blood" is a treat. It's good to have it back. And not just because of the overwhelming hotness of Bill Compton.
The new season of "True Blood" begins at 9 p.m. Sunday on HBO.

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