Two days after Emmy balloting closed, Sunday’s fourth season premiere of “True Blood” on HBO was hailed by critics. Robert Bianco (USA Today) raved, “Every line, every reaction is perfectly pitched, every shift from humor to menace to seduction perfectly played.” Tom Gilatto (People) said, “‘Blood’ is still buoyed by its weird, Gothic zest and the performers all operate with the same vibe of ripe sexuality and restrained camp.” And Matt Roush (TV Guide) admitted, “‘True Blood’ is a much guiltier, trashier pleasure than the monumental Thrones, but I wouldn’t miss it for all the hush puppies in Louisiana.”
As the eligibility period for the Emmys runs from June 1 to May 31, it is the episodes from summer 2010 that are in the running at this year’s awards. That cycle of shows averaged 4.97 million viewers, making it HBO’s most watched series since “The Sopranos.” Likewise, it was the second season of “True Blood” — which aired in the summer of 2009 — that contended at last year’s Emmys.
Emmy voters lifted the curse against fantasy series when they nominated “True Blood” for Best Drama Series last year; it was bested by “Mad Men” which reaped its third consecutive win in this race. However, “True Blood” was the only one of the six nominees not to receive any bids for writing, directing, or acting. Ironically, of its eight Emmy bids, the only win for the series has been for the casting of its first season.
Oscar champ Anna Paquin (“The Piano”) stars as Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in love with Bill Compton who happens to be a vampire (Stephen Moyer, above). Paquin won the Golden Globe for the first season of “True Blood” and contended again for the second but has yet to reap any Emmy bids. In season three of “True Blood,” Tony Award winner Denis O’Hare (“Take Me Out”) joined the show as the scene-stealing vampire king of Mississippi. And Evan Rachel Wood returned in the recurring role of the queen of Louisiana.