Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Take a bite: Three glimpses of "True Blood" season two

I love it when a rumor turns into truth, but even more when that truth turns out to be even better than believed, as is the rather amazing case with "Futurama."

Collider reported earlier this week that Comedy Central was in negotiation for 13 new episodes of the fantasticly entertaining animated show, but it turns out that was half the deal. The network has apparently ordered 26 new episodes, so far, to run over two seasons.

"Futurama" creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen are already working on stories for the next season, set to premiere in mid-2010 with all the original voice cast returning.

Now I like "Family Guy" enough and I love "Scrubs," but seeing as there haven't been any new episodes of "Futurama" since 2003, I'd have to say this is the most remarkable story yet of a tv show getting resuscitated, and in honor of Bender, I'll just say "bite my shiny metal ass" and bring it on!

And this summer, two of my current favorites are returning, and I have to say, the more I hear about "Mad Men" show runner Matthew Weiner, the more I admire just how much he's an ornery sort. AMC apparently wanted to add two minutes of commercial time to the brilliant show about ad men, but Weiner balked and the network understandably gave in rather quickly, so the show will run until 11:02 or so when it returns at 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16. And to answer the first question that popped into my mind, AMC assures viewers that DVRs will indeed record all 62 minutes.

But here today it's supposed to be all about Charlayne Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels and how they've morphed into "True Blood," which returns this Sunday and is the only show in several years good enough to get me to re-up on HBO for three months (but I'll surely be back again when "The Wire" creator David Simon's New Orleans show "Treme" hits next year.)

I like stories about vampires ("Let the Right One In" has lingered as my favorite movie of all of 2008) and especially funny ones, so I'm ashamed of how long it took me to come on board with Harris' trashy-in-all-the-best-ways novels. They're certainly far from high art, but for airplane reads there are few series I can recommend higher. I've read two-and-a-half of them so far, and I have to say Harris' mix of horror, humor, romance and Southern flavor, while perhaps not unique, is extremely addictive.

So, what's gonna happen in season two? I have no way of knowing everything, of course, but from what I know happens in the second Sookie Stackhouse novel, "Living Dead in Dallas," and with the help of these three clips courtesy of HitFix, I can give you at least a taste.

Though you certainly won't hear who it is from me, season two opens with the murder of one of the show's most colorful minor characters. Along with looking into that, in an unrelated case, Sookie (Anna Paquin, whose certainly all growed up) is called to Dallas to investigate an anti-vampire church/cult that has kidnapped the brother of Dallas' vampire sheriff (yes, really.)

One big and mostly good way the show differs from the novels is that it builds up minor characters that Harris largely ignored and gives them new life, the best example being Tara Thornton, played for great comic effect by Rutina Wesley. In this first clip, we find Tara still staying at the home of her rescuer Maryann ("Battlestar Galactica" 's Michelle Forbes), who I can tell you plays a big part in the early parts of "Living Dead in Dallas," and here meets Tara's mother (Adina Porter.)

Another character who gets a lot more play in "True Blood" than in print is Sookie's brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten.) He pretty much disappears after the first novel, "Dead Until Dark," but on TV, "True Blood" mastermind Alan Ball has him become involved with the anti-vampire sect, as you can see from the clip below.

And, of course, Sookie is called in to investigate the Dallas case, or more accurately ordered to by the local vampire sheriff, Eric, played by Alexander Skarsgard. In this final clip, Eric explains his order to Sookie's vampire paramour Bill (Stephen Moyer), who understandably isn't terribly pleased about it.

Anyways, that's probably way too much to write about one TV show, but it's summer and, well, there's not much else on at all. And for anyone who cares about this kind of thing, apparently Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are now a couple in real life, too. Peace out.


Nuri said...

Can't wait for Season 2 to begin...
I enjoyed Battlestar Galactica too, but it's over, and Dexter... I'll start watching Mad Men one of these days. Everyone recommends it

Reel Fanatic said...

I was slow to get on board with Mad Men, Nuri, because it really moves at a different pace from anything else on TV, but if you give it a chance and stick with it I'm sure you'll like it