Season two of the HBO original series “True Blood” started last week, and you should really be watching it. Not just for the romance between vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), and not just because it’s about vampires. Make no mistake: “True Blood” is not your little sister’s “Twilight.” It’s got action, intrigue, plenty of steamy scenes, Southern charm, creatures of the night, Anna Paquin, a guy that turns into a dog, and enough blood splatter to make a Jackson Pollock painting jealous.
You should be watching it, and here’s why:
1. The supernatural. Vampires have come out of the coffin. They walk among us (at night). They drink synthetic blood at our bars. They’re dating the girl next door. And they’re not alone: voodoo witchdoctors, psychic waitresses, and people who turn into animals are all regular cast members.
2. Bon Temps, Louisiana. When’s the last time you heard of a vampire story set in the deep South? New York City or Sunnydale, California, maybe. Transylvania, definitely. But Bon Temps, Louisiana? Shoot son, that’s what I call original! In a small town where everyone knows everyone, when strange things start happening around Merlotte’s Bar, rumors spread quicker than wildfire. Plus, the setting makes for plenty of Southern humor and Cajun accents.
3. The opening credits. Jace Everett’s country single “Bad Things” will have you singing along and getting down with your bad self every week.
4. Love Triangle meets unrequited love meets star-crossed lovers. A decent tragic romance is a hard thing to find. So when you get a triumvirate of tragic love archetypes all on the same show, you can’t take your eyes away. In summary: Bill and Sam both like Sookie, who is interested in both Bill and Sam, but then she chooses Bill, leaving Sam loveless and alone, and unfortunately Bill is a vampire and Sookie is a human so theirs is the ULTIMATE FORBIDDEN LOVE, mostly because he wants to EAT HER and she is BLONDE AND PLUCKY. Yeah. “It’s Complicated” on Facebook.
5. Beefcake. There are a lot of attractive men on this show, and a lot of shirtless scenes (it’s hot in Louisiana, ok?).
6. Cheesecake. Poor Anna Paquin. What a homely girl. And that Rutina Wesley”¦ too bad about her face. All kidding aside, both leading ladies are strikingly beautiful. Paquin’s pouty lips and Wesley’s gorgeous gams could keep anyone (girls included) tuning in week after week.
7. Tara Thornton. From the moment she said, “This ain’t rude, this is uppity” I knew it was love. Possibly the most honest (some would say foul-mouthed), confident (some would say cantankerous) young woman to ever grace the airwaves, Tara (Rutina Wesley) is Sookie’s best friend and confidant.
8. Jason Stackhouse’s clueless face. To look that devoid of intelligence, that often, to that degree of comedic effect, is pure acting genius.
9. Lafayette. Much of the show’s strength lies in its supporting cast, and Lafayette “" a cross-dressing, drug-dealing, no-nonsense short order cook at Merlotte’s Bar “" is no exception. If you see nothing else of “True Blood,” watch Lafayette’s AIDS burger monologue from the first season. You’ll think twice about stiffing your waitress.
10. Vampire Bill’s string quartet. Always just off-screen, but working hard during both steamy scenes and the scary bits, Bill’s string quartet is one of the best parts of the show. I’ve never seen these musicians, but I know they exist because of the haunting cello line that pops up whenever our leading vamp-man is on screen.
If this doesn’t convince you, try it for yourself. The next episode of “True Blood” airs this Sunday night on HBO, right after the sun goes down, 9 p.m.