The Witching Hour: HBO, 9 p.m., Sunday

Marnie’s got that crazy look in her eye. I like it.

After a year of waiting, True Blood fans got their first episode of season four on Sunday.  Beginning with Sookie’s journey to the fairy world, the episode started off with a distinctly different feel from previous seasons. And while this may have seemed disjointed to some fans, die-hard Trubies who have read all of Charlaine Harris’s books probably weren’t too surprised by the show’s new dimension (although book purists probably noted many differences).

Here are my two cents on the premiere. I liked the opening. I think it was an abrupt start to the new season, but it also allowed the story to move forward one year in time. While this jump did not make much of a difference in the Bill-Sookie-Eric love triangle, the year seemed monumental in the character development of Jason, who is noticeably more mature; Andy, who is a V addict; Tara, who is having a lesbian relationship; and Bill, who seems to have taken on a high-profile role in local vampire politics. Of all of these developments, I was the most pleased to see the growth in Jason’s character. To be honest, his ditsy routine was getting a bit old by the end of last season. And he looks gorgeous in that uniform.

Many loyal fans of the books rate the fourth in the series as their favorite (myself included). There are a few reasons for this in my case. First, I’m Team Eric. And if the show follows the books (and Alan Ball’s allusions) this is going to be a good summer for Eric fans. Second, the witches are cool, and introduce yet another interesting supernatural element to the mythology. Third, Sookie really comes into her own as she explores her options post-Bill.

If the first episode is any indication, all of these elements are going to come into play. And while I’m not going to count down my favorite moments, I will say that the witches’ coven left quite an impression on me. The lead witch Marnie, played by Harry Potter’s Fiona Shaw, is a frightening, intimidating and wild presence. As she was chanting to resurrect her bird, I had the distinct feeling that she is completely unstable – and there’s nothing more dangerous and interesting than an unstable, morally dubious, brilliant purveyor of the mystic arts.

Did anyone else tune in? If so, I’d love to hear your two cents.

Thanks, CW, for a bloody good time

Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev do a great job with their respective characters, Damon and Elena. I’m guessing we will see a lot of these two young, talented actors in the future.

As you may know from previous posts, I am a die-hard Truebie. So at the end of season two, I was suffering some severe depression. Then came Vampire Diaries (CW, Thursdays at 8 p.m.), which immediately lured me in with the hope that I could somehow survive eight months without Sookie, Bill and Eric.

When Vampire Diaries was announced I thought it had potential, but I was a little worried that it might be Gossip Girl with fangs. I was even more worried when I picked up the books, which are really quite ridiculous. Trust me, as an avid reader of science fiction and horror, I can say with confidence that the show’s writers have done remarkable things with the weak material from the books by P.C. Cast.

As the first season progressed, it became clear that the show was much more than a teen romance drama that happens to involve vampires. It’s got some great young actors – Nina Dobrev (as Elena Gilbert) and Ian Somerhalder (as Damon Salvatore) really stand out, and the story has mystery and intrigue. And it’s not afraid to take risks. This season major characters like Vickie, Pearl, Anna and John Gilbert all bit the dust.  

Of course, last week was the season finale – and what a finale it was with the return of Katherine, Damon’s newfound conscience, Jeremy’s suicide, John Gilbert’s murder and the revelation that Tyler is more than a high school football player. As with all shows, you can’t really judge it until a few seasons in, but the final episode really has given fans a lot to think about and look forward to.

Throughout the course of the year, I tried a few new shows (Eastwick, Parenthood, Funny or Die and Happy Town) but none of these held my interest. Except Vampire Diaries. So if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and catch the first season online, on DVD, or on re-runs. I think you’ll be sucked in.

Everyone, including me, is watching

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Has anyone seen the new HBO teaser trailer?

I watched it today, on the lookout for anything related to the next season of True Blood, which I am absolutely addicted to. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have cable until True Blood came to HBO – I had been a long-time fan of the Charlaine Harris books, and was thrilled when she announced the show. And, true to form, HBO delivered. The first and second seasons were great – and I can hardly wait until June when season three begins.

Needless to say, this short trailer is not giving too much away. But, we do see Jessica at the very end dragging a body into what looks like Bill’s house. So we can assume she’s a girl gone wild (which seemed evident in the last episode of season 2). I just hope it’s not poor Hoyt she’s dragging in – they make such a sweet couple on the show. Nice shot of Eric in there, by the way.

Other items to note about the trailer:

  • Ricky Gervais Show: I’ve been watching this season and it’s pretty hilarious. Karl Pilkington, Monkey News – it’s all good and definitely makes me chuckle. Is anybody else watching this?
  • Funny or Die Presents: Thus far, I have been disappointed in this latest effort from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Aside from a few funny bits (Drunk History and Snakes come to mind) the show is just plain silly – and not always in a good way. Its saving grace is that it has about a 26-minute run time. Sometime’s I’m astounded that HBO actually went for this.
  • Boardwalk Empire: I’m going to give this show a try when it comes on. It looks to be a hard-edge drama, along the lines of the Sopranos (which I never watched, but have been thinking about checking out on DVD). I’m a fan of Steve Buscemi, so I have high hopes for this one. Is anyone else going to tune in?
  • Where is Kenny-effing Powers? I really hope HBO isn’t going to abandon Eastbound and Down.