8 things we can expect from seventh and final season of True Blood
Steamy vampire romp True Blood returns tonight for its seventh and final season. What lies in store for feisty Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), brooding Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and the other denizens of Bon Temps, Louisiana, a Southern Gothic Neverland swarming with blood slurpers, werewolves and fairies?
Here's a run down of some of the twists we can expect as the series builds towards its denouement.
1: Zombies – lots of zombies
To be technical, the creepy undead about to descend on Bon Temps are vampires infected with a ghastly "Hep V" virus. But, at close quarters, they could be second cousins to the grumpy ghouls from The Walking Dead. This is an entirely canny move on the part of True Blood's producers as, right now, the lumbering deceased, are hot, hot, hot in the entertainment industry (insert your own Rolling Stones joke etc).
"They're weaker and driven by a need to eat in a way that the vampires that we've come to know are not," show-runner Brian Buckner explained recently. "They have to drink human blood in larger quantities and more frequently than before."
2: One Plot To Rule Them All
Even the biggest TB aficionado will allow that, by seasons four and five, the series had started losing its way in a swirl of muggy subplots. Every second character seemed to have their own, maddeningly elaborate storyline – which no doubt made for a very satisfied writers' room but was tough on viewers. This season, show-runner Buckner promises extraneous threads have been cut away and that True Blood will focus on Bon Temps "under the umbrella of one story and one threat". So no, you won’t have to keep notes as you watch.
3: The Bill - Sookie romance will be rekindled
Romantic tensions between vampire Bill and waitress Sookie put a flame under the early season of True Blood. While the entanglement quickly burned out, Sookie later hooking up with werewolf leader Alcide, it seems the relationship isn’t six feet under yet. "In the final season, we're telling a more personal story," said Buckner. "We're going back to the original promise of the show: Bill and Sookie. People are going to be very surprised about the way we get there. There's romance, sadness and resolution."
4: Nudity - lots of nudity
It's not as if TB has ever been shy about letting it all dangle out. The most exhibitionist show on television, there have been so many window-fogging moments the audience could be forgiven for retreating into prudishness out of sheer exhaustion. Well, prepare to be pummeled all over again. Sam Tramell, aka rumpled shape-shifter Sam Merlotte, has intimated that S7 will be the 'nakedest yet'. Woah…that’s a LOT of naked.
5: But we're not sure what's going on with Eric
As last season drew to a close vampire leader Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) was naked (of course), in sunlight, and on a mountain in Sweden. It was implied he might be dead – but would True Blood really jettison one of its biggest stars?. It appears unlikely and Buckner has confirmed Eric will return, though his trajectory is cloaked in mystery. “The character of Eric will be back as a regular on our show, but I'm not promising how we're going to use him.”
6: Belt Up for Bill v Alcide Tension
Season six concluded with a face-off between Sookie's boyfriends old and new. "You’re not good enough," Bill tells his rival. "You can growl all you want, bright eyes, but it doesn’t change the truth." For now, Sookie is sticking by Alcide – but you suspect Bill won't let things rest.
7: There's going to be a lot of exposition
Season six lurched forwards six months in its final episode, so fans will be wondering why Sam was made mayor and how Jason and Violet came to be in a monogamous relationship. All will hopefully be revealed, and sooner rather than later.
8: Somebody will die.
Game of Thrones has made it fashionable to randomly biff off beloved characters. However, TB has been doing this for years: "child" vampire Alexander Drew, Lorena Krasiki (the vampire who 'turned' Bill in the 1800s), and 'good' vamp Roman Zimojic….all have unceremoniously received the chop (well, the stake). More of the same is to follow you suspect.
True Blood Season 7 begins Monday 9pm, on Fox