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True Blood: Season 3 - Review

True Blood, Season 3

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ALAN Ball’s True Blood is still, arguably, the vampire franchise to beat thanks to its willingness to take risks, push boundaries and really treat its viewers like adults.

But three seasons in and the show is beginning to show the first signs of wear and tear. Certain characters are beginning to lose interest, while some storylines are threatening to become absurd.

In the main, though, Season 3 continued to surprise and enthral, delivering macabre treat after deviant delight and playing to the strengths of Ball’s writing and a strong ensemble cast.

On the plus side, a greater role for Alexander Skarsgard’s Eric Northman helped massively as he remains, arguably, the show’s most enigmatic character.

While the arrival of Denis O’Hare’s spectacularly malevolent Russell Edgington was a serious boon to proceedings, especially given his slow descent into madness. O’Hare was a mesmerising presence throughout… by turns charismatic, mad and utterly menacing.

James Frain also brought true terror to True Blood with his edgy vampire Franklin, while Joe Manganiello’s werewolf Alcide added bite and rugged sex appeal… further complicating the love story between Sookie and Bill.

But while these characters certainly rated as successes, some of the plot-lines they were involved in did not.

Franklin’s abduction of Tara (Rutina Wesley) was a little repetitive given that Tara continues to remain the put-upon victim of the series, the on-off nature of Bill and Sookie’s relationship has started to wear thin and the werewolf sub-plots failed to bring the excitement that was anticipated.

Worse still, the new development involving Sookie’s ‘fairy’ status is a bit of a shocker, and not in the good sense. Rather, it merely serves to underline the worrying fact that Sookie has now become one of the series least interesting characters (a common failing in vampire franchises).

Fortunately, given the ever-expanding nature of the cast and the numerous storylines, where one doesn’t work or struggles to maintain interest, there is often another to maintain a vice-like grip on your interest.

The continued evolution of Sam Trammell’s barman Sam worked well and even showcased a darker back story for the character, while Ryan Kwanten’s Jason Stackhouse continued to deliver priceless moments of ineptitude and humour.

The darker, more unpredictable side of Stephen Moyer’s Bill was also entertaining, especially in his dealings with O’Hare’s Russell and Skarsgard’s Northman, while the still fledgling relationship between Jim Parrack’s Hoyt and Deborah Ann Woll’s Jessica continues to lend the show its true heart.

All of which means that True Blood continues to remain essential viewing – the type of which exhilarates, appals, shocks and grips in equal measure.

Certificate: 18
Episodes: 12
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: May 23, 2011