The second season of the HBO hit True Blood moved away from the intriguing vampire soap opera of the first season and to even bloodier ground — not that the series created by Alan Ball has abandoned the more lusty aspects of the cable series.
Juicy sex and violence have made it HBO's most-watched series since The Sopranos.
There are plenty of new twists and turns in season two, although the main relationship remains. Waitress Sookie (terrifically played by Anna Paquin), who has the psychic ability to hear people's thoughts, is still angry over vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer), who was born before the Civil War. But their love runs into complications in the form of regional vampire leader Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), who wants Sookie's powers, and by Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), a teenage girl whom Bill was forced to transform into a vampire and goes from needy to having an agenda of her own.
And there are more problems with Sookie's good-looking but dim brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten), who enlists in the vampire-hating Light of Day Institute, and a mysterious woman named Maryann, who seems to hold a spell over everyone in the small Louisiana town where the series is set.
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True Blood might not be to everyone's taste — too grisly or grotesque at times — but it works on a number of levels and it's so cleverly done that it's hard to ignore.
Season three begins June 13.
True Blood: The Complete Second Season retails for $60 on DVD and $80 on Blu-ray, but it is available at considerably discounted prices.