A few weeks ago, I got really excited about the impending return of HBO's True Blood. Last season was a mixed bag, in my opinion: I enjoyed much of the Dallas plot, but lost interest in the maenad storyline long before it was over. The finale was frustrating - so much maenad, but the final minutes set up some exciting drama for the season to come. I mostly don't care about Bill (I like TV Bill better than book Bill, but that is faint praise), but I was excited to see what would happen with Jessica and Hoyt, and with Jason. I love Eric, and I love Alexander Skarsgard as Eric, so I'm interested to see where TV Eric goes. And any episode with a Pam or Lafayette sighting is worthwhile - extra points if they're in the same scene. So, as the beginning of season 3 drew near, I was definitely ready to revisit Bon Temps.
Three episodes in and I'm a little worried.
Lots of good things are happening. I'm excited to see Alfre Woodard, it's about time Lafayette got a love interest, Eric is still fabulous, Pam still tickles me, Jessica's story seems off to a good start, and Alcide...mmmmm, Alcide...
Sorry, lost my train of thought.
There's lots of good stuff going on, but there are also some red flags. The whole show feels even more over the top than before, which I"m not sure is a good thing. It's definitely not a good thing that I've spent so much time wanting Sookie to shut the hell up. She began the series as plucky, and has now become piercing - I don't know if the shrillness is a misstep in acting, direction, or both, but it wore thin VERY quickly, and seems unnecessary. Given the centrality of the Sookie/Bill relationship, it would be nice if I were actively interested in at least one of them. Especially after tonight's episode, it will not be Bill.
Both the werewolf story and Sam's family are off-book in a really over the top way, which strikes me as worryingly maenadesque. I'd rather simple and well-told than overly complicated and poorly executed. The vampire plotlines are also different in ways that cause concern. Sophie Anne was much more compelling in the book, for starters.
More importantly, I never needed to see anything even vaguely resembling what happened between Bill and Lorena. Ever. Which brings us to the biggest concern. As I've said here before, the thing that will probably make the next book my last is the glee Harris seems to take in having her heroine raped, threatened with rape, beaten, and, more recently, literally tortured. The book this season is based on is one of the most problematic in that respect, but I'd been hoping against hope that the incident in question would be left out - with so much being chaged, surely they could think of a better way to tell that part of the story. After that scene tonight (not to mention Franklin's refusal to bite Tara because she *wanted* him to and the fact that Alcide inexplicably accosted Sookie by way of introduction), I'm already feeling like the show is in dangerous territory. The show is entertaining, and moments like Andy's mantra for Jason and Sookie's Bill impersonation are have earned the show some good will. But I've only got so much good will to spare, and no show is entertaining enough to make a season full of graphically sadistic sex a fun thing for me to watch.
For now, I'm wary, but eagerly awaiting more Eric, more Pam, more Lafayette, more Jessica, and definitely more Alcide. Mmmmm, Alcide.