Created by: Alan Ball
Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Deborah Ann Woll, Chris Bauer, Nelsan Ellis, Jim Parrack, Carrie Preston, Alexander Skarsgard, Kristin Bauer, Todd Lowe, Marshall Allman, Kevin Alejandro, Jessica Tuck, Lindsay Pulsipher, Joe Manganiello, Lauren Bowles, Denis O’Hare, Evan Rachel Wood, James Frain
Synopsis: This season introduces werewolves into the series, and most sinisterly, they seem to be under the employ of the vampire king of Mississippi, Russell Edgington (O’Hare). The latter is a man of great ambition, including uniting with Louisiana via a marriage with Bill’s monarch Sophie-Anne (Wood). In uniting with Edgington, Bill calls off his relationship with Sookie, while she tracks him down with the help of werewolf Alcide (Manganiello). It seems that all vampires are interested in what Sookie is, and this is the season in which we find out. Things continue to go bad for Tara. In addition to losing Eggs last season, she is kidnapped by a vampire, Franklin Mott (Frain), who professes his love for her, but is more psychotically attached to her rather than being in love. Sam tracks down his birth mother for answers, and he meets a family of white trash, the Mickens, from which he tries to free his new-found brother Tommy (Allman). Meanwhile, Jason finds a passion to join the police force, whilst falling for the mysterious Crystal (Pulsipher), whom has more than a few secrets herself.
Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse has her hands more than full for this the third series of True Blood. With only twelve episodes per season, it is amazing how much can be put in to the story, yet it manages to do so without compromising character development, pacing, nor entertainment. Every episode manages to draw the audience in, and keep them thirsty for more right through until the season’s end. Even more impressively, this season delivers a higher level of entertainment than those that preceded it.
As can probably be gathered by the above synopsis, we once again have a number of story threads to follow, each lead character having a moment to shine in their own separate story. Other elements not referred to above include a romance for LaFayette, with mental nurse Jesus (yes, some fun is made of his name, despite the pronunciation being different to that of Christ), a further development of the friendship between Andy and Jason, Alcide’s own relationship problems, Jessica dealing with feelings for Hoyt while trying to control her powers, and Arlene’s pregnancy and continued relationship with Terry.
All these threads are expertly weaved together, and unlike elements of last season that served to irritate me, particularly the Newlin storyline, there were no such pitfalls this time around. What I did find interesting however is that despite Bill and Sookie still playing the main roles, they felt a little bit more sidelined. This was actually a smart move. Their story takes them to areas of dishonesty, a lack of trust, and relationship drama. A stronger focus on these elements could have bogged the plot in a mire of melancholy. Spreading the focus with more light-hearted characters and elements ensure the pacing remains consistent, and if ever a storyline does get almost to heavy, there is another focus to switch to.
Many of the new characters are a delight. Edgington is a very vibrant, lively villain. Mostly jovial and simultaneously Machiavellian, it is an interesting mix. As he cracks with greater pressure throughout the season, it is hard to purely hate him, despite how terrible his actions become. Alcide is also a great character. Despite the potential romance with Sookie, with her vampire pals playing double-crossing games left right and centre and Alcide being reliable, the lack of Team Bill and Team Alcide slogans show that the relationship is portrayed with maturity and does not simply use what has been successful in other vampire franchises. I must also make special mention of Wesley as Tara in this season. Previously the chip on her shoulder began to irritate me, and my fondness for the character waned. In this season her performance is amazing. She goes through even more hardship then she ever before faced with fake exorcisms and goddess manipulations, yet she faces it with strength, and when she does break down, it is a very natural response to the severity of her treatment. It is a true stand-out portrayal of a woman in very real crisis.
The cast and crew of True Blood have outdone themselves. I highly recommend purchasing season three on DVD at the earliest convenience.
5 stars out of 5
True Blood Season 3 trailer