Small-town waitress Sookie Stackhouse—who feels like an outsider because she can hear people’s thoughts—finds herself drawn to Bon Temps’ newest resident, vampire Bill Compton. The fact that she can’t read his mind makes him even more appealing. (Oh, ladies, when will we learn?)
The Big Bad: Rene, Arlene’s seemingly kind Cajun fiancé, who is murdering ”Fangbangers.”
WTF Moment (Good): At Eric’s bar Fangtasia, Bill saves Sookie’s life by staking vampire Longshadow, who projectile-vomits blood all over her.
WTF Moment (Bad): Sookie and Jason’s Gran is killed!
Freeze-Frame Alert: Jason and Amy have trippy sex while high on V in episode 9.
The residents of Bon Temps fall under the spell of maenad Maryann. Jason falls under a spell of a different sort: anti-vampire congregation the Fellowship of the Sun. On the love-triangle front, Bill and Sookie are together, but that doesn’t stop her from helping Eric locate his maker.
The Big Bad: Maryann, who takes control of the town for a Dionysian ritual.
WTF Moment (Good): The bull that kills Maryann turns out to be Sam Merlotte, who rips her heart out with his bare hand.
WTF Moment (Bad): Did Maryann’s plan have to include a meat tree?
Freeze-Frame Alert: Drinking Eric’s blood in episode 9 gives Sookie a dream worth remembering.
Bill has gone missing, so Sookie searches for him with the help of werewolf Alcide Herveaux. Meanwhile, Lafayette falls for his mother’s nurse, Jesus, who harbors his own supernatural abilities.
The Big Bad: Russell Edgington, the power-hungry vampire King of Mississippi. He’s got the veneer of a Southern gentleman but the instincts of a killer.
WTF Moment (Good): Driven mad by the death of his lover Talbot, Russell rips out the spine of a news anchor on live television.
WTF Moment (Bad): Anything having to do with Alcide’s trashy ex-girlfriend Debbie.
Freeze-Frame Alert: Bill’s (literally) twisted sex scene with Lorena in episode 3.
Sookie returns home from a year in faerie land to find a new Bon Temps: Jason is a police officer, Eric has bought her house, and Bill is the King of Louisiana.
The Big Bad: Witch Marnie, who—along with the spirit of Antonia Gavilán de Logroño—wants to kill all the vampires by making them walk in the sun.
WTF Moment (Good): After a season of dirty dreams and real feelings, Jason and Jessica hook up.
WTF Moment (Bad): In the season’s final moments, Tara takes a bullet to the head for Sookie.
Freeze-Frame Alert: Four words: Bill-Sookie-Eric threesome. (Who cares that it was all just a dream?)
Bill and Eric are arrested and imprisoned by the Vampire Authority—led by Roman—for the murder of Nan Flanagan. In order to save a dead Tara, Sookie persuades Pam to turn her into a vampire.
The Big Bad: An exhumed Russell, who kills Roman and joins the Authority.
WTF Moment (Good): Bill drinks Lilith’s blood, explodes, and then is reborn (completely naked) in the finale.
WTF Moment (Bad): Terry is haunted by the ghost of a woman he and his military troop killed in Iraq.
Freeze-Frame Alert: Alcide and Sookie are finally about to get it on—until she drunkenly pukes on him.
Jason and Bill attempt to rescue Jessica, Tara, Pam, and other vamps, who’ve been taken prisoner by a vicious governor who’s spiking Tru Blood with Hep-V. Terry is plagued by the guilt of killing Patrick, and Andy must raise his half-faerie children.
The Big Bad: Warlow, the faerie-vamp who killed the Stackhouse parents. He has returned to claim Sookie as his bride.
WTF Moment (Good): Before exploding in the sun, Steve Newlin professes his love for Jason.
WTF Moment (Bad): Sarah Newlin murders a Tru Blood exec using a stiletto.
Freeze-Frame Alert: Seemingly immune to the light, Eric goes sunbathing—and we get full-frontal Skarsgård.