Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Third-season premiere of True Blood,' Sunday on HBO

Other than kicking off an episode with someone munching on a bloody wolf ear, the third season of "True Blood" is off to a bit of a slow start, taking its time introducing new characters and plot lines during the course of its first three episodes.
By now, the vampires-coexisting-with-humans show is such a cult phenom that it can afford to be patient; the strength and familiarity of the characters overpowers the lengthy exposition. Still, the early episodes are more about busy storytelling than they are about getting down to business.
With its sprawl of characters, "True Blood" has always had a lot going on, and the writers do an admirable job of juggling old plots and new elements without letting things get too muddled. The directors maintain the lurid, steamy (in multiple senses of the word) atmosphere of Bon Temps, La., a small town where weird things happen among "mainstreaming vampires," mind-reading waitresses, shape-shifting bar owners and the occasional supernatural interloper. The series' dark humor and erotic elements are all intact.