True Blood: The Complete Third Season

DVD REVIEW
Title: True Blood
Studio/Distributor: Warner Bros./HBO
Principle Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Alexander Skarsgård, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Nelsan Ellis, Carrie Preston
Number of Discs: 5
Released: May 31, 2011
Stars: 4.0

I haven’t yet read the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris upon which True Blood is based, but I just bought the first three in the series so will hopefully be enjoying them soon.  I started watching True Blood (rated R and definitely for adults) about a year ago because I’m a vampire fan and love Southern Gothic settings.  I also count Oscar & Emmy winning creator/producer Alan Ball’s previous series Six Feet Under among my all-time favourite shows, so I couldn’t wait to see what he was doing.  The glowing reviews for this HBO series had already made their way to my consciousness so when I finally watched Seasons 1 & 2 (I give them a 5 star review) I became addicted to this series for as long as it runs.

The characters in True Blood (a synthetic blood manufactured for vampires so that they can reveal themselves to the world and live among humans without necessarily feeding upon them) are so well-written, intriguing and phantasmagorical that you can’t help but be drawn in by them.  The interwoven storylines are complicated, outrageous and downright joyful in their debauchery.  The cinematography is superb, the music – especially the theme song “Bad Things” – is utterly captivating and most of all, the acting by this top-notch cast is quite simply out of this world.

Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, True Blood tells the ongoing tale of Sookie (Anna Paquin, Golden Globe-winner for this role), a waitress with telepathic gifts -– and an irresistible attraction to now-174-year-old vampire Bill Compton (her real life husband Stephen Moyer), who went missing in the Season 2 finale.

I loved the bacchanalian evil of Marianne Forrester (Michelle Forbes) in Season 2 and was sad to see her staked, but in Season 3, Bon Temps, Louisiana is besieged by vicious werewolves and we find out that much to Sookie’s chagrin, she is in fact, a fairy!

Sookie desperately tries to find her fiancé Bill with the help of her werewolf bodyguard Alicide (the hunky Joe Manganiello); assigned by vampire sheriff Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) to protect her.  Together they travel to Mississippi where they must out-manoeuvre the Vampire King, Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare appears to have had an absolute blast with this character), who along with his disciples – a pack of sadistic werewolves who feed on vampire blood – plans to consolidate his power.

Sookie’s dim but loyal brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) is working on his police exams and meets a mysterious girl named Crystal while his detective friend Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) is on the wagon and making a name for himself as a local hero.  Bud and Arlene’s relationship is tested by Arlene’s unexpected news – Arlene’s a character I could do without as I find her annoying – and Sookie’s shape-shifting boss Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) is discovering that his real family are people he never would have chosen as friends.  Sookie’s best friend Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) is mourning the death of her lover Eggs but soon finds an ally in a creepy vampire named Franklin Mott (James Frain) and later, some solace in Sam’s bed.  Tara’s V-addicted cousin Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis plays my favourite supporting character to perfection) takes up with his crazy mother’s (Alfre Woodard) gay male nurse Jesus (Kevin Alejandro), and teen vamp Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), after being briefly tempted by Sam’s brother pledges herself to Hoyt (Jim Parrack).

Haunted by visions of his past, Bill makes a surprising pledge of allegiance to Edgington and by the end of Season 3, Sookie, in a fit of fury, uninvites him from her home forever.

The reason I liked Season 3 a bit less than the first two was because I like Bill & Sookie as a couple and in this season they are not together very much.  As far as supernatural beings go, I’m less interested in werewolves than I am in vampires, shape-shifters and fairies but I must confess that werewolf Alcide was a tasty bit of eye candy who almost had me forgetting about Bill.

There is always a lot happening every season and it can be hard to remember everything, so HBO’s episode guide is a great way to refresh your memory.  Season 4 has already started but as I don’t have cable, I’ll have to wait until it’s available on DVD to find out what happens next.  I’ll be one of the first in line to rent it from Classic Video when it is!

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