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True Blood returns June 14 at 9 p.m.

In summer 2009, television on 06/13/2009 at 9:55 am

True Blood returns Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Canada

Season 2 rises for the series that spins characters and carnage around a love between telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and her 173-year-old vampire boyfriend Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer).

And don’t get me wrong. I’m glad to be returned to the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, interpreted by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) from the gothic novels of Charlaine Harris. While the first season riffed more or less faithfully on Dead Until Dark (notably adding the character of Sookie’s best friend Tara, played by Rutina Wesley), the first novel of the series, the second takes up the action of Living Dead in Dallas. Happily, Ball changes at least one major plot point in the beginning of the second novel. If you want to know what that change is, you can read to the final paragraph of Robert Lloyd’s L.A. Times review, which spills too many beans if you ask me.

The change is brilliant, and all fans of Season 1 will welcome it. However, a preview of the first two episodes of this season left me dizzy: There is far too much going on. The romance between Sookie and Bill continues, but the sweaty, sexy (ok, bloody) clinches don’t have the Harlequin crescendoes they did in the first season (who knew a graveyard could be so carnal). Their teenager, the newly made vampire Jessica (Deborah ann Woll) draaaaaags.

There are several stories revolving around Tara, including one with Michelle Forbes, who was introduced with great mysterious fanfare at the end of Season 1. This story seems, over the first two episodes, to be draining the vigour from both characters.

Then there’s Sam (Sam Trammell), the shapeshifting owner of Merlotte’s bar and Sookie’s boss. There was excellent spark between the two in the first season, which nicely evolved beyond Sam’s mooning over Sookie and into a kind of partnership between outsiders united by their powers. But Sam and Sookie’s alliance is overwhelmed at the beginning of this season by Sam’s slowly revealed relationship with Forbes’s Maryann. Forbes is one of my fave actresses. She has elevated many series, including Homicide: Life on the Street, more recently in Battlestar Galactica and, soon, the second season of excellent Canadian drama Durham County, which returns July 13 to The Movie Network. But here, the dramatic potential of her mysterious benefactress Maryann goes nowhere, or at least nowhere fast. Patience, my pretties. I hope this is good advice, but I was so not blown away by the first two episodes that I declined to watch the other two available for preview. If all four were so busy, I’d be hard pressed to keep the faith. We’ll see.

But I did like some things about the first two episodes.

Vampire of vampires Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) is back with a hilariously vain flourish. Drenched in blood, also, of course. He is on a mission to find a missing colleague in Dallas, drawing the story and its main characters to that town.

And Sookie’s brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten), is making trouble. But this time, he too, is away from home, in his case learning to love his new vampire-hating friends at Fellowship of the Sun.

So, will I keep watching? Of course! I also have this season’s novel inspiration, Living Dead in Dallas, on my reading list. Part of my grumpiness about this season is because I loved the first so much. But I’m devoted. Bitten, you might say. Check out this trailer, which gives a peek at Episode 3.

— Denise Duguay

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  1. Please tell me Lafayette lives to sashay another day. . .

    • mare: as you might already know, he does indeed live. and thank god. apparently he dies on page 5 of the second novel or some such. i love this actor. now then, what HAPPENS to him is another thing.

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