47 Things to See, Hear, and Do This Fall

SEPTEMBER

True Blood

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When you've made the definitive TV series about death, what's next? Undeath, of course. That's the path Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) has followed with this Southern Gothic vampire story. In True Blood's world, vampires have "come out of the coffin" and acknowledged their existence, having (supposedly) kicked their bloodsucking habit by drinking a synthetic substitute. Now they've joined society — not without suspicions — and mingle with humans freely, including in those ways you can only show on pay cable. (Let's just say blood is not the only fluid exchanged here.) Things get complicated when waitress Sookie (Anna Paquin) meets a handsome vamp and both become entangled in a murder mystery. The show raises a few questions about paranoia and social prejudice, but unlike the brooding Six Feet Under, it mainly wants to raise the short hairs on the back of your neck.

— James Poniewozik