8 p.m. Sunday on HBO
I do not count myself among "True Blood's" most die-hard fans. While Sookie Stackhouse certainly has more spunk than the "Twilight" series' passive Bella, they have one thing in common -- every man in the vicinity falls in love with her, whether vampire, werewolf or shape-shifter. Somehow Sookie is the center of the supernatural universe, and I just don't get the appeal. Attention, all undead suitors: You can do better.
But with season three starting, even a skeptic like me has to appreciate a series with camp dialogue of this caliber. "I'm sorry you fell in love with a serial killer, all right?" snaps a supporting character at unlucky-in-love Tara. "But honestly, who here hasn't?"
When last we left Sookie (award magnet Anna Paquin), her 173-year-old sweetie Bill (Stephen Moyer) had just proposed to her. A rejection would have been humiliating, but what Sookie did was worse: She excused herself to go to the bathroom. Brutal. (Then again, "Till death do us part" can be intimidating when you're in love with a vampire.)
While she was mulling the offer, Bill was kidnapped - and now Sookie has to enlist the help of Bill's romantic rival, Eric, to find him. Once again, you have to credit "True Blood" for understanding its strengths. Alexander Skarsgard is a fan favorite as Eric, and producers reintroduce him this season in the buff (rear view).
I will try not to spoil too many of the new developments, but rabid viewers should read this at their peril. This season we will explore shape-shifter Sam's background, meet a super race of werewolves, and wonder what makes the sinister Alcide (Joe Manganiello) so good in bed. I'm also really enjoying newbie vamp Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) as she learns the ropes, even going to the catty Pam for advice on how to drain a man without killing him. "I think about crying children with soggy diapers," she says. "Or maggots."
There's just nothing else on TV with this level of jubilant satire. Stay tuned for an elegant vampire dinner party that boasts cruelty-free, carbonated blood. "Excuse me, gentlemen," simpers the co-host. "I have to drain the second course. Carlo? Bring me that Thai boy."