June 14th, 2010
01:53 AM ET
In the desert that is summer television, there’s at least one vein filled with fresh entertainment, and that’s HBO’s “True Blood.”
We left off at the end of the second season with a dead maenad, a brokenhearted Tara, an engagement and the disappearance of Bill Compton, all of which have left fans dying to sink their teeth into the third season. As the promos for the HBO show coyly state, "waiting sucks."
But the wait is finally over tonight at 9 p.m., and while the orgies and Fellowship of the Sun storylines from last season may seem hard to top, as one TV critic put it, that “soapy mix of sex and horror” is still there in abundance for season three.
Jeanne Jakle at the Houston Chronicle promises that if “True Blood” “sucked you in before, just wait until season 3.” Nelsan Ellis – whose character Lafayette finds a love interest this season– told Jakle that there's still plenty of sex, just less weird than before. "It happens between people with strong connections and chemistry," he said.
There’s also “way more action," Ellis added: “We meet some werewolves, really mean and vicious ones. And the wolves fight the vampires.”
Yet there’s an undercurrent of fear that “True Blood” is on the verge of going off the rails. As the Washington Post warns, “’True Blood’ seems dangerously close to peaking, as it introduces nearly a dozen new characters into a saga that is already too engorged…This season's new characters make me wish that ‘True Blood's’ writers would pink-slip most of the original ensemble, including just about everyone who works at Merlotte's. The show grinds to a halt whenever it turns its attention back to Sookie's brother (Ryan Kwanten), best friend (Rutina Wesley) and boss (Sam Trammell), who've each been sucked dry, character-wise. “
Said USA Today television critic Robert Blanco, “The first three hours are 'True Blood' at its goriest, sexiest and strangest as an old fondness for naked torsos and severed limbs shares airspace with a newfound interest in Nazi werewolves and misbehaving monarchs.” And while all of that is part of the fun of "True Blood" is watching it go "barreling along at full speed,” he added that “it also can leave you with a queasy feeling that the show is only barely under control — and may at any second jump the tracks.”
Salon.com's television critic Heather Havrilesky is unperturbed by thoughts that the bloody HBO soap is going to lose itself in its over-the-top vampiness.
"The first three episodes of Season 3 look promising indeed, serving up one juicy twist after another, plus a steady flow of great dialogue, intense conversations, brutality, blackmail, mystery, suspense and, best of all, some wickedly funny moments that are beyond compare," Havrilesky wrote. "Despite all of the campy, overly obvious commentary on prejudice, bigotry and marginalized subcultures that were always gumming up the works in the first season, 'True Blood' had an addictive second season and now the show is reaching a new high."
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