The success of Twilight and the CW’s decision to pick up Vampire Diaries for the next television season prove that soap operas focused on the undead are a hit with film and TV viewers. This unearthly alliance of genres is also evident in HBO’s adult vampire drama series True Blood, which is set to begin its second season on June 14.

True Blood is based on the best-selling Sookie Stackhouse novels (a.k.a The Southern Vampire Mysteries) by Charlaine Harris. The series was developed for television by Oscar®- and Emmy®-winning creator and executive producer Alan Ball, who also wrote and directed several episodes in the first season. Ball previously created, wrote and produced HBO’s multi-award-winning show Six Feet Under and the shows Oh, Grow Up and Cybill.

Hall’s latest HBO hit premiered in September 2008 and subsequently earned a Golden Globe for lead actress Ann Paquin (X-Men, The Squid and the Whale). Paquin plays Stackhouse (above; photo HBO/Jaimie Trueblood), a waitress at Merlotte’s Bar and Grill in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. She is romantically linked with 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer; above) who, like other vampires in True Blood mythology, can live among humans thanks to the invention of synthetic blood. Sookie also has a promiscuous brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten), who was suspected of murder in a story arc that ran through Season One.

The first season True Blood ended with the discovery of a dead body in the car of local police detective Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer). According to an HBO press release, Season Two picks up these events and promises testing times for Sookie and Bill’s relationship. Some of these tests will involve new character Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), a troublesome  teen-vampire sired by Compton. In other events, Sookie’s pal Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) will set down roots with the mysterious Maryann (Michelle Forbes) and Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) resolves to get into shape after a “forest foray.” Jason, meanwhile, will find new purpose in an anti-vampire sect. Joining the cast for a two-episode guest-starring role is Evan Rachel Wood as the 500-year-old Vampire Queen of Louisiana.

As with the first season, Season Two of True Blood will consist of 12 episodes. These will be offered in High Definition and will be available on demand following the network premieres. As a prelude to Season Two, Season One was released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 19. Also, HBO subscribers can watch a marathon of the entire first season in three-episode chunks on four nights starting June 6 and ending June 9.

Michael Simpson is the Associate Editor of and a freelance writer on a wide range of topics (CinemaSpy; Home).

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