Summer means one thing for HBO…it’s back to the bayou to revisit the lives of the beloved bloodsuckers that have gnawed their way into our hearts. True Blood returns for a fifth season, and it would appear that the show still has a few surprises in store for us. If you want sultry vampire drama that’s been amped up beyond the teen appeal of something like the Twilight series, then True Blood is the show for you. It’s bloody, it’s visceral, and it’s undeniably sexy.

This season starts off with a variety of plot-lines that left us hanging last summer, including the supposed death of Tara, Sam’s struggle with the werewolves, and the looming return of one of the most memorable villains from the series…the oh so charming and oh so vicious Russell Edgington.

Eric and Bill seem to have split from Sookie for the time being since she rejected both of them during season four, and this time around their storyline focuses primarily on butting heads with the mysterious “Authority”- a group of ruthless elder vamps who enforce the rules and politics for the entire species.

We meet Eric’s sister, Nora, played by Lucy Griffiths, and immediately the show begins to explore the “special” bond that Eric & Nora share for each other. True Blood knows exactly how to crank the passion level up to ten whenever it suits them to do so, and that’s on display early in this first episode. To summarize the encounter between the siblings, expect lots of skin and lots of fangs.

Jessica returns as the vivacious free spirit that fans have come to know and love, and her sex appeal is just powerful now as it was when the character first debuted in the series. Jason continues to provide moments of comic relief and you find yourself pulling for the dim-witted but kind-hearted deputy during the course of his misadventures.

The wolves are back as well, Alcide and the pack mates of the slain Marcus Bozeman. The interesting thing about this show is you won’t see any poor CGI when it comes to the werewolves, because this show uses real trained wolves. The animal’s performances are just as powerful as the actor’s performances themselves, serving to provide us with several moments of primal suspense.

I’ve found that this late into the series, the minds behind True Blood seem to be struggling to come up with new content for show storylines, but when you’re dealing with strong characters like these who have loyal fanbases, I don’t think it will affect the show too negatively. Sometimes a season can start off slow, but pick up a quick pace and blaze forward from that point on.

HBO is just coming off the highly successful Game of Thrones series, so it needs another hit, and True Blood is the pony that’s always managed to win the race in the past, so it’s no surprise that the show is still around and kicking.

Expect blood. Expect fangs. Expect every bit of supernatural goodness you can handle. Expect women who make your mouth water with every second of screen time they get. These are the things that have made so many viewers fall in love with True Blood, and it appears that there will be no shortage of these guilty pleasures in the fifth season.

So crack open a bottle of True Blood and get comfortable, because it looks like we’re in for one hell of a fun ride this summer.

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