1. Nothing But The Blood
This week saw the eagerly anticipated return of HBO’s True Blood, a program that expertly blends the Southern drama of Tennessee Williams with sexy vampire mythology and the driest sense of humor known to man. Add to all this a rather substantial dollop of sex and drugs, and the result is the funniest detective/vampire/romance series ever produced.
Set in the Deep South, True Blood follows mind-reading waitress Sookie Stackhouse and her crazy gang of human, vampire and shape-shifting friends as they struggle with the reality of mind-reading, vampires and shape-shifters, as well as the odd serial murderer. During it’s all too brief first season run, the show regularly pulled in up to 6 million viewers each week (including repeat and DVR viewers), and caused controversy with its unprecedented levels of nudity, gore and graphic sex scenes. Controversy aside, True Blood‘s first season was well written, smart, sassy and indisputably sexy.
Nothing But The Blood picks up exactly where we left off last season – with the discovery of yet another body. It seems a second killer has rocked up in Bon Temps, and this one has a very particular calling card. Poor Miss Josephine, the friendly neighborhood shaman/pharmacy assistant, had her heart ripped out before mysteriously appearing in Detective Andy’s car.
Closely tied to the death in more ways than we can possibly know, Tara’s (Rutina Wesley) grooming by the curious Maryann (Michelle Forbes) continues apace when she officially becomes Tara’s savior and pimp. Marianne’s idyllic, somewhat bacchanalian lifestyle is shaping up to be more than simply a style – all the signs point to her being a Greek god, which doesn’t bode well for Tara and her new boyfriend. If Greek myths have taught us anything, it’s that paradise comes at a price…
Elsewhere, Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Sookie (Anna Paquin) continue their ever-so-slightly Mills and Boon-esque relationship, despite the fact that Bill apparently is unable to not kill anyone who’s threatened/hurt/pulled a face at Sookie, and that they seem to have acquired a new teenage daughter.
When it comes to meting out punishment, Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) certainly has a sense of humor – it seems Vampirism is no cure for moody juvenile delinquents. So far, so so – mysterious deaths and vampires are the definition of Bon Temps.
It’s when we catch up with Lafayette and Jason that the really interesting stuff is revealed. Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten), still reeling from the deaths of his girlfriend, grandma and several women he slept with, has wholeheartedly embraced the vampire-hating Fellowship of the Sun church, which puts him on a crash course with Sookie, Bill, Eric and pretty much everybody else in town.
Jason’s journey was one of the most interesting last season, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be any less interesting this year, despite his new found purity.
Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) is in big trouble, chained as he is in Eric’s secret dungeon. Meting out his own justice to those he believes are involved in killing fangs, Eric’s campaign for Best TV Vampire Ever stepped up a notch this episode. His foil-tipped, trackie-sporting, flip-flop-wearing feeding frenzy is easily the highpoint of the premiere. The attack on one of Lafayette’s fellow prisoners is reminiscent of The Lost Boys‘ feast on the beach – brutal, gruesome and impossible not to watch. It also proves that age-old adage: never disturb a vampire while he’s having his roots done, you silly boy. Sadly, this leaves Lafayette as the sole remaining prisoner…
By turns gripping, shocking, hilarious and just plain brilliant, the season two premiere more than met the incredibly high standard set by season one. If the rest of the season is even half as good, it’s going to be an interesting year in Bon Temps.
True Blood is that rarest of things – a truly original show – and continues to be one of the best hours of TV currently available to the viewing public. If you’re not watching this already, what’s wrong with you?