True Blood may be all about beasts and monsters, but the show has become quite the monster itself. In addition to being the "It" television program, the show's storylines and characters have become simultaneously entangled and stretched apart, creating a wonderful mess where everyone gets plenty of screen time.
This was on full display in Sunday's Season 3 premiere, "Bad Blood." True Blood has A LOT going on, and it has a tendency to collapse under its own weight. But that can also be part of the fun.
Overall, the episode reminded me of my love-hate affair with True Blood. I'm a huge fan of the gore, a few of the ridiculous situations, and the blatant titillating sex. But on the other hand, I find myself not caring for some of the characters and their stories.
The biggest culprit this week was Tara. I'm not quite sure where the writers are going with her, but turning her into a raging lunatic for Season 3 after she spent all of Season 2 as a raging lunatic might not be the best way to get people on her side. I really liked Tara in Season 1; she was feisty and complex without being off-putting. She was someone we wanted to see succeed and overcome her obstacles. But now she's just angry and pushing everyone away—viewers included. Tara is a rich, complicated character who needs more than what she's being given. Here's hoping there's some redemption in her future.
Okay, moving on: Any scene with Queen Sophie-Ann is a good time for a bathroom break. Evan Rachel Wood, even after having the whole offseason to get her act together, still can't pull off anything more than an unoiled robot. I'm baffled as to how she got cast… dating Marilyn Manson doesn't not entitle you to one of the more intriguing roles on television. I'll be happy when the sharp end of a stick pops out from her left shoulder blade.
That said, it was absolutely fang-f***ing-tastic to see Jason Stackhouse, Eric Northam, and Pam back on screen. These three characters can carry the show no matter how much the rest of them drag. Ryan Kwanten (Jason) should get serious chatter come Emmy time. Playing dumb isn't nearly as easy as it looks, and acting as dumb as Jason is a real chore; Kwanten does it with ease (and his native Australian accent is nowhere to be heard). Fan-favorite Pam is looking like she'll be a larger part of this season, and I say it's about time. She's quickly becoming the funniest character on the show. And Eric… well, he's just typical, awesome Eric.
That's about as serious as I'll get in these True Blood examinations, because let's face it: True Blood ain't no Shakespeare. Hell, it isn't even Anne Rice. This romp of a show doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's exactly how it should be. Too often, shows never really find their identity and struggle because they try to do too much. But True Blood knows it isn't a rocket scientist or a Nobel Prize winner. It's a fun prom date. And which one would you rather hang out with on a Sunday night?
Other boody good notes:
... Sam's dream made me very uncomfortable, and I can't tell if that was in a good or bad way. Yikes.
... It's great to see Jason back to his old antics, and his fun with the two NYU students was one of his more hilarious moments. Gratuitous to the max.
... Sam is a favorite of mine, but I'm not sure I'm into him pulling him away from the rest of the gang for so long to find his real family. We need to see him back with the others ASAP.
... I love you, Jessica. That is all.
... Whatever happened to half-man/half-wolf werewolves?
Question: Which True Blood character is your favorite, and what did you think of his/her debut in Season 3?
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom