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Bon Temps, Louisiana, gets a fresh infusion of weirdness in season two of True Blood.

DVD Review: True Blood: The Complete Second Season

Written by Caballero Oscuro

The sleepy, swampy town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, gets a fresh infusion of weirdness in season two of HBO's True Blood. Sure, the vampires and werewolf are still there, but this time around a fanatical church has set up shop with the aim of eliminating the vampire threat by any means necessary. That doesn’t mean the humans are any safer, since the town also get visited by a near-immortal succubus-type creature who works her way into the community as a brainwashing party starter coercing the citizens to do her bidding while also throwing all of their inhibitions and clothes out the window.

The second season also continues its exploration of the central romance between Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer), but the subplots and supporting character focuses completely change from season one, making the show feel entirely new. Where season one got lots of mileage out of flamboyantly gay cook Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and Sookie’s brassy, sassy best friend Tara (Rutina Wesley), season two finds both of them almost completely toothless, with Lafayette captive, unglamorous, and scared in the early episodes and Tara brainwashed in love all season. While it’s really a shame to see them so underutilized and out of character, it opens the show to fresh directions rather than falling into a total rut.

Sookie’s dimwit brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) still gets to burn up screen time with his comedic antics, this time in service to the church, while Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) continues his shape-shifting second life, but there’s a void in the previous supporting framework that gets filled by the arrival of prime baddie Maryann Forrester (Michelle Forbes) and the towering emergence of returning season one character Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), a vampire rival for Sookie’s affections. Out of all the characters and subplots fighting for attention in this heady gumbo, Skarsgard’s Eric rises to the top as the most fascinating of all, making this season a truly star-making turn for him.

The True Blood DVD box set includes all 12 season two episodes along with a couple of bonus features that expand on the mythology of the show. “Fellowship of the Sun: Reflections of Light” gives viewers more insight into rules to live by from the fictional church leaders Steve and Sarah Newlin, while “The Vampire Report: Special Edition” is a faux news magazine that spotlights the year’s top stories in vampire culture. The box set also includes audio commentaries with cast and crew including creator Alan Ball, Paquin, Moyer, and Skarsgard.

True Blood: The Complete Second Season is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download on May 25th, 2010.

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