... "True Blood."
The networks tried, and they came up with a few decent fall shows, including "The Mentalist" and "Life on Mars." But my fall favorite is from HBO, which picked up some post-"Sopranos" mojo with this supernatural fantasia from Alan Ball. I can’t believe “True Blood” is about to reach its season finale on Sunday -- the episodes flew by.
OK, so it isn’t as psychologically sophisticated as “Six Feet Under,” Alan Ball’s previous TV effort. But "True Blood" is still a really good time -- playful, metaphorical, at times hysterical. It’s a bit like the late, great “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” but with better production values, tighter plotting, and wonderfully over-the-top Southern atmosphere and accents.
Speaking of which, Ryan Kwanten, who plays Jason Stackhouse, Sookie’s man-slut of a brother, deserves a big shout out. Unbelievably, Kwanten is Australian, and his seamless Southern accent is completely fake. Kwanten has been like a live electric wire on the show. He’s awesome, and he makes Jason’s dull thinking process crystal clear.
And then there's Anna Paquin. Oddly enough, the 1993 movie “The Piano” is the source of four of TV’s current stars -- Holly Hunter on “Saving Grace,” Harvey Keitel on “Life on Mars,” Sam Neill on “Crusoe,” and Paquin on “True Blood.” I remember thinking, when Paquin came to the stage to accept the Oscar for best supporting actress, that the frightened little girl was doomed to a career in the shadows of that movie. Now, she has stolen the hearts of “True Blood” fans as the lucky, and very plucky, Sookie Stackhouse. Her chemistry with Stephen Moyer as Bill is really strong.
Are you watching? What do you think?