I have no doubt that were Alan Ball to endeavour to create his own vampire show, with its own mythology, and original characters, it would be successful. He could still indulge his more lascivious fantasies, the way he indulged his neuroses in Six Feet Under, only with better writing and better acting. As it is, he decided to recreate the world of Charlaine Harris' endless series of tacky top-10 pharmacy-rack vampire romance books.
No doubt with Anna Paquin as the lead, quality acting was expected. I know for a fact that she can act, I've seen her do it effectively, yet for some reason the thin but earnest character of Sookie Stackhouse is just slightly out of her reach. Her actions, her delivery, her facial expressions display an unprecedented vacuity, an awkward neophyte trying to do southern and strong, a downright irritating display of bad timing, bad dialogue, and bad casting. Paired with the deep toned actor who plays Bill Compton, who is unconvincing as both the Southern Gentleman and the bloodthirsty monster between which he oscillates, and who either equally unfit for the role or else in an attempt to sync up with Paquin his talents devolved, the two together destroy whatever belief an eager watcher held in this shaky, semi-dark, certainly perverted cliche world.
Nonetheless, as it is my shameful duty to admit, I have still continued to watch. (Except for the opening credits, which I have to mute or fast forward or both, so creepy and stomach-turning they are.) The first season, despite the aforementioned acting and the showrunners' obvious fetish with sex and pain and that whole completely overdone 'adult' theme genre, could at least boast a plot, and even a fairly solid mystery that spanned all 12 episodes and was concluded with some satisfaction. This year, however, basically nothing has happened in the first 6 episodes that we didn't either already know at the end of last year, or in the 2nd premiere, or could easily anticipate. The cliffhangers are paltry, the slight mysteries grow tedious and drag on, and every character displays a stupidity and weakness that rather than making them human and dynamic, simply makes them irritating. Plus the sex and violence have fairly tripled, with all the black eyed orgies and half-beast/half-BSG guest stars running around, which is an obvious sign that somehow, despite only one season of shaky work, True Blood has jumped the shark (and possibly fed off it, and made out with its dead remains.)
That Anna Paquin actually got a Golden Globule for Best Actress is laughable, and either a public joke and insult, or else a head-shaking sign of how stupid award boards are. The only decent actor on the show is her brother, the handsome but consistently very stupid Jason, who, though obviously a capable actor, is nothing more than a foil in which Ball can rail against the manipulation and hidden cruelty of organized religion.
Six hours is not only six hours of your life you can't get back, but it's half of an entire season, a season already shorter by half to most of us who are used to tv seasons lasting 22 eps. Fans (and I don't count myself among them in this case) waited a year for this show to resume, and HBO no doubt forked over a truckload of money, but like many weak shows the quality has only decreased.
The most disturbing news of all, as was reported from San Diego Comic Con, is that this year will also see the release of an actual TruBlood beverage (in the show it's an alternative synthetic blood for the recently outed vampires.) Rather than risk coagulation, our real life beverage is in the form of a 'blood-red orange soda'. All that's left is to get the Count from Sesame Street to help with the advertising.