About seven months ago I reviewed series one of True Blood and absolutely raved about it. Well, I'm pleased to say that series two was recently released here in the UK and that it is even better than series one. The boxed set of series two comprises of five discs, containing all 12 episodes. I bought my set from Amazon.UK for £26.71. The story of telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse continues in a tale taken from book two, "Living Dead in Dallas" of Charlaine Harris's best selling series. The main villain of the TV series is Maryann, who was introduced to viewers at the end of series one when she befriended Sookie's best friend, Tara. I've got nothing against the producers greatly expanding Maryann's story for the TV series as it kept me on my toes, wondering what was going to happen next. What did happen next was a complete rollercoaster of a ride, which I don't want to elaborate on too much for the sake of those who haven't seen the show yet.
THE STORY. Series one ended on a cliffhanger with Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Detective Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) finding a dead body in the back of Andy's car. The murder victim, whose heart had been ripped out, is revealed and sets in motion a series of events that will affect everyone living in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Sookie and her vampire lover, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) become a lot more comfortable in their relationship. Bill's superior is Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), who owns the Fangtasia night club in neighbouring Shreveport. He sends Bill and Sookie on a mission to Dallas to find a missing 2000 year old vampire called Godric. Meanwhile, Sookie's brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten), finds religion and becomes a disciple of the Fellowship of the Sun, a vehemently anti-vampire church. Tara (Rutina Wesley) falls in love with "Eggs" Benedict (Mehcad Brooks) who was also taken in by Maryann (Michelle Forbes). They soon discover that Maryann has a powerful pull over them. And not just them! Pretty soon, she has the whole town dancing to her tune. The parties that she throws become wilder and more like orgies as ordinary folk lose all their inhibitions. Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) who is a shapeshifter who runs Merlotte's Bar in Bon Temps is immune to Maryann's charms and he quickly realises that she is evil incarnate. The teenage vampire, Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), whom Bill sired at the end of series one has a tender and heart-warming romance with Hoyt (Jim Parrack). Okay, that is a brief precis of the set up to series two. To say any more would be to reveal too much and I don't want to do that.
THE EXTRAS. I always look forward to the special features on a DVD. This boxed set has some extras, but I'd really liked to have seen more, especially about the making of the show. What you do get is two faux TV shows to complement the series. First up is "Fellowship of the Sun: Reflections of Light" in which the church leaders, Steve and Sarah Newlin, set out rules to live by in four separate sermons. Next up, showing a more positive view of vampires is "The Vampire Report: A Perspective with Victoria Davis." Both are nothing more than waffle, albeit entertaining waffle. Six of the twelve episodes come with commentaries from cast and crew and for the most part, are entertaining and informative, which is just what I want from a commentary.
THE VERDICT. Well, I already said in my intro that this series was even better than series one, and it is. What I love about True Blood is that it is clearly written for an adult audience. This is about as far removed from the world of Twilight as you can get. The violence can be extremely graphic and gory. The camera doesn't flinch or pull away from someone getting their heart ripped out, for example. The language throughout is pretty ripe but is there not to shock but because it seems so appropriate for that particular character and situation. Then there is the nudity and sex scenes. With Maryann happy to let any party denigrate into an orgy there is a lot more sex and nudity this series. What is great about series two is how all of the characters are allowed to develop. Even the minor supporting cast, who may have had less than ten lines in series one are allowed to shine this time round. It would be unfair to pick out any one person for praise. Every single member of the cast deserves high praise for their performances. Kudos also to the writers, producers and directors for taking what was an outstanding series to a whole new level. Oh boy, they sure have raised the bar high for series three. And damn, but they left series two on one humdinger of a cliffhanger! Bastards! Now, I gotta wait another six or seven months for series three and my American readers can rub my nose in it by telling me how good it is as it is showing in the USA right now! Not surprisingly, I rate series two 10 out of 10 but the boxed set just 9 out of 10, purely because I'd have liked to see more special features.