Is there life left in True Blood?

After a dismal, kitschy third season, HBO's once-acclaimed vampire saga returns with a new witch on the block. Is the magic back?

The fourth season of "True Blood"
(Image credit: Facebook/True Blood)

HBO's compulsively sexy vampire drama is back for a fourth season. And though True Blood's rabid fanbase is jonesing for the hit show's return on Sunday, even the most loyal viewers and critics will attest that the series has a lot to prove. After a (literally) bewitching second season, season three was a letdown, with too many new characters, kitschy performances, a "leaden theme of Nazi werewolves," and "narrative wheel-spinning." Will season four be a return to form?

True Blood is back: Even though season four adds even more characters with "loony powers" (fairies!), True Blood has "won me back," says Caryn James at Indie Wire. In particular, the addition of a new "schoolmarmish wiccan" shows how adept the show has become at "gleeful juggling of over-the-top characters." If the first few episodes of this season are any indication, True Blood promises to be "dazzling" this year.

"True Blood enters fairy land"

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And better than ever: "Maybe you thought you'd kicked the habit," says Mark A. Perigard at The Boston Herald. But the new season "rises from the grave" even "smarter, spookier, and sexier" than before, and audiences are sure to be hooked. The show introduces new twists (another character has gone gay) and "manages to find new ways to make sex revolting." In the premiere, main character Sookie gripes, "TV sure hasn't gotten better in the last year." Maybe she just "doesn't get HBO."

"True Blood opens a vein on a new season"

Actually, it's worse than ever: After watching the first scene of the new season, says Hank Stuever at The Washington Post, "I had to double-check that I wasn't accidentally watching another one of those cheap, made-for-SyFy movies." True Blood hasn't just failed to improve — it's gotten worse. The expanding cast has created an "overpopulated mishmash" of stories, which unfortunately means the new season "easily flies off the tracks."

"HBO's True Blood returns, making the slightest sucking sound"

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