True Blood (season two)


Rating 2½

Created by Alan Ball

Based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries novels by Charlaine Harris

EP1 ‘Nothing bu the Blood’ (Written by Alexander Woo, Directed by Daniel Minahan); EP2 ‘Keep This Party Going’ (Written by Brian Buckner, Directed by Michael Lehmann); EP3 ‘Scratches’ (Written by Raelle Tucker, Scott Winant); EP4 ‘Shake and Fingerpop’ (Written by Alan Ball, Directed by Michael Lehmenn); EP5 ‘Never Let Me Go’ (Written by Nancy Oliver, Directed by John Dahl); EP6 ‘Hard-Hearted Hannah’ (Written by Brian Buckner, Directed by Michael Lehmann); EP7 ‘Release Me’ (Written by Raelle Tucker, Directed by Michael Ruscio); EP8 ‘Timebomb’ (Written by Alexander Woo, Directed by John Dahl); EP9 ‘I Will Rise Up’ (Wriiten by Nancy Oliver, Directed by Scott Winant); EP10 ‘New World in My View’ (Written by Kate Barnow and Elisabeth R Finch, Directed by Adam Davidson); EP11 ‘Frenzy’ (Written by Alan Ball, Directed by Daniel Minahan); EP12 ‘Beyond Here Lies Nothin’’ (Written by Alexander Woo, Directed by Michael Cuesta)

Starring Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse), Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton), Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte), Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse), Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton), Nelson Ellis (Lafayette Reynolds), Jim Parrack (Hoyt Fortenberry), Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica Hamby), Carrie Preston (Arlene Fowler), Chris Bauer (Detective Andy Bellefleur), Todd Lowe (Terry Bellefleur), Michelle Forbes (Maryann Forrester), Medcad Brooks (Benedict ‘Eggs’ Talley), Alexander Skarsgård (Eric Northman), Michael McMillian (Reverend Steve Newlin), Anna Camp (Sarah Newlin), Wes Brown (Luke McDonald), Mariana Klaveno (Lorena), Allan Hyde (Godric), Valerie Cruz (Isabel), Ed Quinn (Stan Davis), Christopher Gartin (Hugo), Adam Leadbeater (Karl), Ashley Jones (Daphne), William Sanderson (Sheriff Bud Dearborne), Adina Porter (Lettie Mae Thornton), Lizzy Caplan (Amy Burley), Kristin Bauer (Pam), Dale Raoul (Maxine Fortenberry) and Evan Rachel Wood (Sophie-Anne Leclerq)

The telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire lover Bill Compton agree to go on a dangerous mission to Dallas to locate the whereabouts of a missing vampire sheriff, but with so many divided loyalties and double-crosses they do not know who they can trust. Sookie’s brother Jason joins the vehemently anti-vampire Fellowship of the Sun church, which is training an army to go to war with the vampires. Lafayette Reynolds goes missing after falling foul of the vampires for peddling “V”. The mysterious Maryann Forrester has a strange hypnotic hold over the people of Bon Temps, including Tara Thornton, and soon there are nightly mass orgies. Only Sam Trammell is able to resist her will, but he knows more about her than he is willing to admit.


After an early false start, I liked the first season of ‘True Blood’ and I looked forward to watching this second season. It has some “wow” moments and the show has got the cliffhanger episode endings down to a fine art, but ultimately I found it all a little underwhelming and instead of having to force myself not to watch it too quickly I ended up having to make myself keep on watching.

A number of story threads come and go over the duration of the twelve episodes, but primarily the season concerns itself with the parallel storylines of Sookie and Bill going to Dallas in search of the 2,000-year-old vampire Godric and Jason’s recruitment into the army of the Fellowship of the Sun. Back in Bon Temps, Maryann Forrester imposes her will on the people and they participant in increasingly wild and uninhibited sex orgies. Part of the problem for me, apart from the constant stream of sex that, like the first season, quickly bores and becomes desensitising, is that too many characters become less interesting and more irritating than in season one and the various threads that make up the overall story arc are too often cumbersome and veer towards the prosaic. The ever-present problem of comparison to ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ also refuses to go away. The events in Bon Temps could be quite easily equated to the season four BtVS episode ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ (one of the least interesting and successful episodes of that show) and there seems to be more than just coincidental passing resemblance to events in the BtVS spin-off show ‘Angel’.

I found Maryann Forrester to be often a tedious and infuriating character, although undoubtedly an effective one and nicely acted by Michelle Forbes. While she might have had a supernatural hold over her followers, her irritating new-age manner was surely enough to put anyone off. Equally, I found Godric rather insipid, which made his beatific appearance and the fierce loyalty he commanded less convincing for me. As for Bill Compton, one of the show’s two principal characters, I am not warming to him very much at all and I don’t find him remotely interesting. Even Sookie Stackhouse was more irritating than not at times. On the plus side, I did like one new character, the newly turned vampire Jessica Hamby.

I enjoyed this second season up to a point, but not a single individual episode has stuck in my mind. I could name all 144 BtVS episodes and briefly describe the synopsis of each one. When I watched the short-lived ‘Point Pleasant’ each episode made an impact on me and left a footprint behind. These twelve ‘True Blood’ episodes have failed to do that and even though the season has ended on a cliffhanger I don’t at the moment feel any pressing need or urgency to discover what happens next. Having said that, viewing figures have increased dramatically and my opinion seems to be out of step with most of the reviews I have read.

The second season of ‘True Blood’ is based primarily on, but is not entirely faithful to, ‘Living Dead in Dallas’, the second Southern Vampire Mysteries novel, first published in March 2002.

Review posted 29 November 2009


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