It looks like the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse on HBO aren't going to end anytime soon. HBO announced today that the supernatural series True Blood will be renewed for a fifth 12-episode season, which will premiere in 2012.
"I am thrilled that True Blood continues to enjoy a phenomenal reception from both subscribers and critics," stated HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. "Alan Ball and his gifted team have devised the greatest thrill ride on TV."
As for Ball, who created the series, "I remain amazed and delighted by the enthusiasm of our viewers ... I can't imagine having more fun than this."
So far this season, telepathic waitress Sookie has taken up with the vampire Eric, who lost his memory thanks to a magic spell from a vengeful witch's spirit named Antonia. Meanwhile, a war is brewing between the witches and the vamps, with Sookie's buds Lafayette and Tara falling on the witches' side. Also, Sookie's brother Jason has issues over possibly becoming a werepanther after getting bitten, and he's having sexy dreams about his BFF Hoyt's vampire girlfriend, Jessica. And then there's shapeshifter Sam, who's having his own issue, considering his shapeshifter brother has been masquerading as him.
While a new season is plenty exciting news for fans, we chatted with producer Alex Woo about this season.
When it comes to the war between the vampires and the witches, "we have tried very hard to not paint things in black and white. Our vampires are many of our favorite characters, and we sympathize with them, but on the witch side we make a very strong case for justifying their side of the story. So it's not easy, hopefully, to pick sides on this one," said Woo.
As for Eric's missing memory and his romance with Sookie, "as much joy as they get out of it, there's a tinge of melancholy to it because they know it can't last forever if he's ever going to get his memory back."
Woo admits he's "more excited about the season than I have been about any other season. I think cinematically it's the richest that we've had. You know, we have taken our characters, now we've lived with them for [more than] three years, we're taking them all in directions that are different from where they have been before. We're throwing new challenges in front of them, so I don't think we're recycling stories, which certainly can be a danger when you're this far into a series."
Here's HBO's press release on the renewal:
HBO RENEWS HIT SERIES TRUE BLOOD FOR FIFTH SEASON
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 11, 2011 - HBO has renewed the hit show True Blood for a 12-episode fifth season, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. Created by Alan Ball, the series will begin production of new episodes later this year in Los Angeles, with debut set for summer 2012.
"I am thrilled that True Blood continues to enjoy a phenomenal reception from both subscribers and critics," noted Lombardo. "Alan Ball and his gifted team have devised the greatest thrill ride on TV."
"I remain amazed and delighted by the enthusiasm of our viewers," says Ball. "I can't imagine having more fun than this."
Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, the Emmy(R)-nominated show takes place at a time when vampires have come out of the coffin, and follows the on-and-off romance between waitress and part-faerie Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), who can hear people's thoughts, and 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). Series creator Alan Ball (creator of the Emmy(R)-winning HBO series Six Feet Under) is also an executive producer of the show, which is based on the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.
The 12-episode fourth season of True Blood, which launched June 26, has inspired critical raves, with USA Today calling it "exuberantly entertaining," as well as hailing the "superb crew of writers and actors," while the Washington Post called the show "a rollicking good scream" and "addictive."
True Blood recently received four Emmy(R) nominations, including Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Alfre Woodard).
Season four credits: True Blood was created by Alan Ball; based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris; executive producers, Alan Ball, Gregg Fienberg; co-executive producers, Brian Buckner, Mark Hudis, Nancy Oliver, Raelle Tucker, Alexander Woo; co-producer, Christina Jokanovich.