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Review: True Blood Season 3 Premiere

In Television on June 16, 2010 at 11:52 pm

And the plot (and blood) thickens…

True Blood, HBO’s version of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series seems to have outdone the books themselves. To a point when I stopped reading the books because the TV series was so much more interesting. Whatever supernatural gore and weirdness Harris serves up in print doubles itself on television.

So it’s not surprising that the third edition of HBO’s successful vampire drama kicked off with over 5 million viewers on its first airing. Season 3 will air 12 episodes, which started with Bad Blood, aired last June 13 simultaneously on HBO and HBO Canada.

The plot is loosely based on the third book of the Charlaine Harris series Club Dead, the key word here being loosely. True Blood is one of those screen adaptations which twists the facts to its advantage rather than disappointing the viewers. Unlike other failed attempts to translate Young Adult literature into a film success, the TV series has mastered the art of adding and omitting with tact and purpose.

The episode starts with Bill Compton’s (Stephen Moyer) marriage proposal to Sookie (Anna Paquin), which ended up with Bill disappearing in thin air. Sookie is then torn with dread and anxiety as she seeks Jessica’s (Deborah Ann Woll) help to find her maker, who  Sookie believes was kidnapped. Unfortunately, the sheriff’s office doesn’t really put kidnapped vamps on top of their priority list.

This leads our Southern heroine to where all vampire roads in Bon Temps do – Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård). The inevitable prospect of a love triangle – or just a change of love interest is at hand, as it was first suggested from the previous season’s finale. And as confirmed by Stephen Moyer in this interview. In other affairs that involves Eric, he is paid a surprise visit by the Vampire Queen and plays out a dangerous game following Bill’s disappearance.

After defeating Mary Anne in the last episode, shape shifter and club owner Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) is off to a mission to find his birth family. He also starts having sexual dreams about Bill, which caused a very uncomfortable or interesting (depending on how you view things) scene below. I’m guessing it was Bill’s blood that Sam took to save his life? Let’s hope so.

I like that the minor characters also had their share of loud introductions this season. Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) had her share of drama and depression (like there wasn’t enough of it already) and attempts suicide after her lover’s death. Detective Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) has made a life-changing decision to quit drinking and even help Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) out of a bad situation. One wherein he delivered the classic line “Conscience off, d*ck on.” To which Jason wasted no time in obliging. Although, of course, we all know that Jason has grown some amount of wisdom since the last season, if that is at all possible.

In contrast to its visually violent scenes, humor is wittier and even endearing at times, allowing for a few snickers only a series of this genre can offer. The secret of True Blood is the lightness of conversations with deep, unsaid emotions, very much like the simplicity of a small town with dark, hidden secrets. It doesn’t show everything all at once, and for someone who hasn’t watched one episode, things might never make sense. Which leads me to end this article with Arlene’s line: “I’m sorry you fell in love with a serial killer, all right? But honestly, who hasn’t?”

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