I remember watching the very first episode of True Blood. I thought their accents were too heavy and some of the acting was over the top. Besides, I was not – nor never had been – a fan of the whole vampire concept. I literally watched because Alan Ball (the creator) has an impressive track record (Six Feet Under, American Beauty) and the ads had intrigued me for weeks. That being said, as soon as the first episode went off, I turned to my roommate and said, “that show was odd, but there’s something about it… I’ll watch it again next week. And I did. And then watched it the following week. And so on until I found myself rushing home so I would be there, on my sofa, ready to go at the top of the hour.
Then came season two, with Michelle Forbes as Maryann the Maenad, who could, with the swirl of a hand, transform the entire town into black-eyed naked fornicators. Smart move. Ratings went up. Mehcad Brooks took off his shirt. Ratings went up. Anna Paquin’s dresses got shorter and shorter. Ratings went up. More skin. More melodrama. More viewers. It was great. They sent us into winter break with a murder, a kidnapping and dozens of unanswered questions.
Last summer we entered season three knowing three things: we would see skin (and lots of it), we would get melodrama (and lots of it) and we would have something to discuss the next day at work. Check. Check. And check. Joe Manganiello joined the cast as a werewolf who rarely wears a shirt. Nelsan Ellis’ Lafayette got a boyfriend. Denis O’Hare’s King Russell Edgington of Mississippi killed a national news anchor during the nightly news. The show found itself perilously close to boiling over and making a huge mess, but seems to know when to pull back at just the right moment.
Now, we’re on the verge of season four. No longer the ingénue at the party, True Blood is a certified hit. We know the characters and understand what makes them tick. In addition to the vampires, the show has branched out and this quiet, unassuming town of Bon Temps, Louisiana is now filled with shape-shifters, werewolves, werecougars(?), fairies and witches. Talk about a good reason to move. Of course, for us, the audience, it’s the perfect town. Who doesn’t want to be posted up in front of the TV on a Sunday night watching the goings-on in this crazy burg.
The season four premiere is this Sunday night at 10PM. Only on HBO. I’ll be there. Will you?
I make it a point to watch only true teasers so that I don’t go into the season knowing any more than necessary. Part of the excitement is watching the episodes unfold naturally. Here is a teaser that really doesn’t give away plot points; it merely whets the appetite.
And for those of you who are greedy and want more, the first six minutes of season 4:
Claps hands over ears and screams… I didn’t watch it! Don’t tell me!!
I will be doing weekly recaps (more like weekly discussions; I assume you’ve watched if you’re ready my comments) over on my site, so make sure you check them out every Monday. Oh, and if you’re not following me on twitter, get on the sofa; we have a good time over there: @josephrileyland, @kitchensofa