I think True Blood is one of the best shows on TV...I mean, it's HBO. HBO is allowed to get away with stuff that the regular networks can't (Game of Thrones, anyone? Holy moly.) And they certainly push it to the limit on True Blood - all of the gore, violence, and sex (::ahem::)...whoa. But the sensational stuff aside, at its core, True Blood is a sharp, biting (pun intended!) social satire woven into a compelling storyline with memorable characters. It's not for everyone, but it definitely is for me.
Interestingly, I hated the first three episodes of season one. Hated them. Was totally turned off by everything - the deep South location, the annoying gap between Anna Paquin's front teeth, the fact that the vampires were mean, and not nice, Twilight-like vampires. But I gave it a little time and now I'm totally hooked. Hell, I was Sookie for Halloween last year. (Brian was a member of the Fellowship of the Sun church, and Scotty was a vampire. Please overlook all of the weird Freudian interpretations; it was more about finding costumes that fit (Scotty) and were agreeable and low-maintenance (Brian).)
I will forever credit Eric the Vampire with getting me through the last few months of pregnancy. Sunday nights were about the only thing I looked forward to, especially near the end, and when we paired Lucille's BBQ with our viewing, suddenly, a tradition was born. So there I sat, in the middle of the summer of 2009, stuffing my face with pulled pork and sweet corn while watching Sookie avoid death for the 100th time. I'm a firm believer Scotty was as big as he was when he was born as a result of our new tradition. And all that pulled pork.
And season four kicked off this past Sunday! Rejoice, True Blood is back! There is a whole cast of new characters, including a witch's coven that just moved into the neighborhood, as well as 12 months and 2 weeks of Sookie's life that needs explaining. Apparently, when she went to the Fairy world (after finding out she's part fairy, making her understand why she's so delicious to vampires; fairy blood just tastes better. It's like the McDonald's Coke of blood types, I guess), time took on a different quality. While she was only there for a few minutes, a year of her life went by. And in that, Jason her brother, sold her house, Bill became King of Louisiana, and Tara is now Tony. (more on that later.) Sam is still grouchy, Arlene is still a little neurotic, especially when it comes to her new baby, and Layfayette is still dating Jesus (Hey-Zeus, the nurse from the assisted living facility, not the Savior of the world, for all of your non-True Blood fans.)
I think I probably did myself a major disservice by reading all of the Sookie Stackhouse books in the off-season, since I kept repeating, "That's not in the book. That's not the way it happened in the book. That person didn't do [blah, blah, blah] in the books." Part of the reason seasons 1-3 were so, well, delicious, is because I didn't know what was going to happen. And now I do, and am kind of irritated that the TV show is not following the books. But interestingly, I will say, I enjoy the show a lot more than the books, a feat that rarely happens.
I'd like to credit Eric the Vampire for that, aka Alexander Skaarsgard.
Anywho, enough of that, let's get to the good stuff. Episode one was rather...um, underwhelming? It's kind of like the show had to completely reboot itself from season three, in an effort to make up for Sookie's time travels. Jason is still caring for the little werepanthers in Hot Shot, but they don't seem to like him since they just locked him in a freezer (very similar to the one I bought from Sears in January.) Tara, still distraught over the whole Franklin mess, has reinvented herself as a lesbian cage fighter that goes by the name of Tony. As I looked at Brian with very, very, very wide eyes, he simply shrugged and said, "No better way to spice up a series than the use of lesbian cage fighters."
Hmph. And there you have it.
Layfayette is still struggling to accept the fact that he may be magical, and so rather unwillingly goes to a seance at a local shop. Marnie, the owner, is the leader and the ragtag group surrounding her, seating rather uncomfortably on their floor pillows, seems believable. Holly is there, the waitress that tried to help Arlene last season. Another woman, one with glasses, is clearly not who she says she is, since the scene ends with her trotting over to the King of Louisana's house, ready to share info. But behind the desk is...Bill. When did he become King?
And coven, with Layfayette's rather unexpected help, manages to bring Marnie's dead parrot back to life for just a few moments before it crashes to the floor again. This proves to be the catalyst for all of the major drama in season 4, since as Bill puts it...if witches can manipulate the dead, they can control vampires. Scandal! Looks like our favorite Undeads are no longer top of the food chain.
And perhaps most startling is that Eric is the new owner of Sookie's house, meanly she cannot banish him from her abode. Bummer, Sookie. Looks like it's either time to find new digs or give in to the giant Nordic vamp. (I vote for the second.) And fans of the books will note, since we're officially up to book 4, things do change between Bill, Sookie, and Eric. It should be interesting to see how Alan Ball does this. Shower scene, anyone?
Overall, it was a solid episode. Kind of heavy on explaining, a little light on blood, but the drama is definitely building. Considering book 4 was probably my favorite book in the series, I've got my fingers crossed for a great season.
What did you think? Thoughts?