News Column

'True Blood' makes action-packed return [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

June 16, 2013


What's on,Relationship crises are nothing new to telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), but she faces a new one of epic proportions as "True Blood" comes roaring back for its sixth season on HBO on June 16.

As fans of the show will remember, Season 5 reached its climax as Sookie's brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten), led a daring raid on the New Orleans headquarters of the Vampire Authority, where control had been seized by the Sanguinistas, a rogue vampire faction that worshipped a primal deity known as Lilith, the mother of all vampires. As carnage reigned throughout the complex, Sookie and charismatic vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) confronted her old lover Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), who in a fit of religious mania downed a large flask of Lilith's sacramental blood, then dissolved into the gruesome puddle of gore that generally signals that a vampire has gone to his "true death."

Not so fast, though. The bloody pool suddenly began to coalesce anew, and a terrifying entity that appeared to be the angry Lilith now reincarnated in Bill's form arose from the goo and gave chase.

"Oh, yeah, all hell is breaking loose when we come back," says actress Rutina Wesley, whose character, recently turned "baby vamp" Tara Thornton, is an active participant in the chaotic action of the first episode. "We all meet up and just get the hell out of Dodge, because 'Billith' is no joke this season. Seriously. We don't know what to do because before we can figure out what the next step is, we have to really understand what Bill is -- in fact, whether Bill Compton still is even in this thing anymore."

While Tara may be in fairly dire straits this season -- yes, again -- Wesley herself is tickled pink to be playing a character who got a fascinating reboot last season when her best friend, Sookie, made the desperate decision to have Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) turn Tara into a vampire after she was critically injured by a shotgun blast while trying to save Sookie's life. Given that Tara hated vampires more than anything else in the world, that decision infused this character with a fresh internal tension that changed her whole direction and gave Wesley some delightful new options to play with.

If there's even a slight downside to playing a vampire instead of a human, she adds, it's that the undead shoot almost all their scenes at night.

"Oh, my God, so many long night shoots!" the actress gasps, then laughs. "Sometimes I kind of miss being human. In some of the early episodes this season, we were shooting on a beach near the ocean, and we shot, like, all night, and it was very cold, and it sucked. But don't get me wrong; I love my job. And there is an advantage, really, because when you're playing a human character, you can be doing a scene at any time of the day or night, but when you're a vampire, when the sun comes up, you have to stop shooting!"

John Crook is a writer for,TV highlights

for the week of

June 16-22, 2013,SUNDAY

8 p.m. on Fox

The Simpsons

Marge shocks Homer by telling him she's unhappy with her new car because it would be too small if there's an addition to the family. Lisa has a secret involving cryptic messages and covert meetings downtown, and Bart is determined to find out what's up in "Adventures in Baby Getting." NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon voices his cartoon likeness.

9 p.m. on NBC

2013 Miss USA Competition

The annual event airs live as a two-hour special from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Giuliana Rancic and Nick Jonas host as young women from around the country vie for the chance to represent the U.S. in the Miss Universe pageant.

9 p.m. on PBS

Masterpiece Mystery!

When a psychic is found murdered, Inspector Lewis and DS Hathaway (Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox) discover that the victim is really an Oxford psychology research fellow. As they probe further, the truth behind the psychic's double life unravels, revealing numerous suspects, in the new episode "Inspector Lewis, Series VI: Down Among the Fearful."

9 p.m. on Animal Planet

Call of the Wildman

Team Turtle comes to the rescue when a deer destroys a window at a local consignment store. But the team soon realizes that taming an eight-point buck in a small space surrounded by valuables might be its toughest call yet in the new episode "Deer Destruction."

9 p.m. on Lifetime

The Client List

In the two-hour season finale, Riley (Jennifer Love Hewitt) tries to find the stolen client list before her secret life is exposed. Evan (Colin Egglesfield) makes a discovery about Nikki (Laura- Leigh) while investigating Carlyle (Johnathon Schaech). Dale and Lacey (Greg Grunberg, Rebecca Field) get some news that could alter their plans. Derek (Rob Mayes) asks Selena (Alicia Lagano) for a commitment in "What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am; Wild Nights Are Calling."

9 p.m. on HBO

True Blood

With Bill (Stephen Moyer) reborn as Lilith and out for blood, Sookie (Anna Paquin) flees the Authority compound with Eric, Jason, Jessica, Tara, Pam and Nora (Alexander Skarsgard, Ryan Kwanten, Deborah Ann Woll, Rutina Wesley, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Lucy Griffiths). The governor (Arliss Howard) declares open season on vampires in "Who Are You, Really?" The episode ushers in a new season that will bring a big change for Tara.

10 p.m. on Showtime

The Borgias

The season finale, "The Prince," finds Alexander and Cesare (Jeremy Irons, Francois Arnaud) reconciled at last, and the pope reveals that the papal armies have been strengthened and re- equipped with the money saved from the Crusade and the proceeds of the Jubilee. Now the Borgias are ready to move against their enemies the Sforzas and take their first step toward their ultimate goal: carving out a hereditary kingdom across the heart of Italy.


9 p.m. on A&E

The Glades

When a male stripper is killed, Longworth's (Matt Passmore) investigation takes him into the world of Florida's flesh trade, dude division, and the women who patronize it in the new episode "Magic Longworth."

9 p.m. on National Geographic

Brain Games

Through a series of fun and interactive games, viewers will see how the brain perceives the world in 3-D, how it is like a time machine and how ordinary mortals share a special ability with Superman in the new episode "Illusion Confusion."

9 p.m. on HBO

Movie: Love, Marilyn

Filmmaker Liz Garbus delves into the psyche of Marilyn Monroe via her letters, notes and diaries, recently released by the estate of her coach and confidant Lee Strasberg. Using a roster of Hollywood actresses -- including Glenn Close, Uma Thurman, Ellen Burstyn and Lindsay Lohan -- to breathe life into Monroe's words, the film is a haunting look at a woman who rose to infamy on her own carefully crafted persona but longed to be taken seriously.

10 p.m. on A&E


Walt (Robert Taylor) and the team go in search of stolen cattle, their driver and the thieves who took them. Vic's (Katee Sackhoff) frightened reaction to a gift of flowers has Walt wondering what's up in the new episode "The Road to Hell."

10 p.m. on PBS

Independent Lens

"The Revolutionary Optimists" tells the story of Amlan Ganguly, a lawyer-turned-social entrepreneur who has transformed some of the poorest slums of Kolkata, India, by empowering children to become leaders in improving health and sanitation. Using street theater, dance and data as their weapons, the children have cut malaria and diarrhea rates in half, increased polio vaccination rates, and turned garbage dumps into playing fields.

10 p.m. on Bravo

Newlyweds: The First Year

Alaska packs for L.A. with no return flight planned, upsetting Kim. Kathryn realizes that John is not going to be the hands-on father she was hoping for when the baby comes. Tina's father drops a bombshell on her and Tarz. Jeff and Blair are at another impasse on some key issues in the new episode "Sex and Money."

10:01 p.m. on ABC


The situation at work between Savi and Dom (Alyssa Milano, Jason George) is tense in this new episode. Joss (Jes Macallan) gets an impossible assignment from her new boss (Mike Dopud). Karen (Yunjin Kim) continues to be drawn into the Grey family's dysfunctional orbit in "Breaking and Entering."


8 p.m. on ABC Family

Pretty Little Liars

The latest attack by "A" has potentially devastating consequences for Emily (Shay Mitchell) in this new episode. Alison's mom (Andrea Parker) gives Hanna (Ashley Benson) the DeLaurentis family parrot, who has some surprising things to say about Alison's last days. Aria (Lucy Hale) starts studying self-defense with an attractive instructor. Toby (Keegan Allen) shares a secret with Spencer (Troian Bellisario) in "Turn of the Shoe."

8 p.m. on National Geographic

Sex: How It Works

Through gripping real-life stories, new technology and cutting- edge computer graphics, this new special explores sex like never before, journeying from first times to playing the field, all the way to humankind's ultimate goal -- procreation.

9 p.m. on NBC

The Voice

It's down to the wire in this innovative singing competition, in which a panel of music industry insiders chose the contestants they wanted to mentor based strictly on how they sang, not how they looked. Tonight, one of those contestants is crowned the winner and receives a $100,000 cash prize and a record deal. Carson Daly hosts the season finale.

9:30 p.m. on TruTV

Hardcore Pawn: Chicago

Back tonight with new episodes, this "Hardcore Pawn" spinoff is set in the Royal Pawn Shop, one of the oldest and largest such establishments in the Windy City. The owners are brothers Randy and Wayne Cohen, who don't agree on much ... except when it comes to what constitutes a good deal. And they're not shy about doing business with anyone.

10 p.m. on Lifetime

Pretty Wicked Moms

Marci throws an extravagant costume party for Halloween in this new episode. When Meredith has trouble keeping up with the other women, Nicole N. and Emily take her under their wing and discover a shocking secret about her past in "Meredith's Makeover Madness."


8:30 p.m. on ABC

Family Tools

Jack and Darren (Kyle Bornheimer, Edi Gathegi) are trapped together inside a client's home, which gives them the opportunity to get at the root of their differences. Tony, Terry, Mason and Stitch (J.K. Simmons, Leah Remini, Johnny Pemberton, Danielle Nicolet) get ready for a classic car parade in the new episode "The Big Event."

9 p.m. on TNT

Franklin & Bash

Heather Locklear joins the cast this season as Rachel King, a tough new lawyer brought in by Stanton (Malcolm McDowell) to help run the firm. Peter and Jared (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer) represent a well-known magician in the season premiere, "Coffee and Cream."

9 p.m. on USA

Royal Pains

Hank (Mark Feuerstein) treats a policeman (Brad Beyer) whose health problems may be related to the behavior of his rebellious teenage daughter (Alexandra Socha). While settling into their new home, Evan and Paige (Paulo Costanzo, Brooke D'Orsay) try to settle a feud in the neighborhood. Divya (Reshma Shetty) finds her new life harder to adjust to than she'd expected in the new episode "Blythe Spirits."

9:31 p.m. on ABC

How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)

Elaine's (Elizabeth Perkins) self-esteem takes a hit at her own birthday lunch when Polly (Sarah Chalke) steals the spotlight. To give her mother's ego a boost, Polly arranges a movie audition for her, but she realizes she's falling into an old pattern of putting Mom's dreams first in the new episode "How to Help the Needy."

10 p.m. on Comedy Central


Get ready for the final 13 episodes of Matt Groening's ("The Simpsons") animated comedy as the final season starts with tonight's hourlong premiere. Futurama first ran on Fox from 1999 to 2003 and was resurrected by Comedy Central in 2010. Among their adventures in the farewell season, Fry (voice of Billy West), Leela (voice of Katey Sagal) and Bender (voice of John DiMaggio) take up drag racing and bring a dead robot back to life.

10 p.m. on Spike

Fight Master: Bellator MMA

This reality series brings together 32 of the best welterweight fighters in the world to compete for a spot in the Bellator MMA Tournament and a $100,000 prize. Fighters from around the globe live and train together in New Orleans, coached by such legends of the sport as Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock and Joe Warren.

10 p.m. on TV Land

Hot in Cleveland

To usher in its new season, the gang is coming at you with a live episode, where we're guessing somebody is going to come close to breaking out in laughter. Look for one of the gals to get embroiled in a scandal this season, and later on look for on-screen reunions of stars from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Carol Burnett Show."

10:01 p.m. on USA

Necessary Roughness

Dani (Callie Thorne) treats a former child star whose growing pains are threatening her career. With a big endorsement deal on the line, Connor (John Stamos) tries to give T.K. (Mehcad Brooks) an image makeover in the new episode "Gimme Some Lovin'."

10:30 p.m. on TV Land

The Exes

As the third season gets under way, Phil (Donald Faison) is enjoying an ever-expanding client list, while Stuart (David Alan Basche) finally starts dating again in "Toy Story."

11 p.m. on TV Land

The Soul Man

New this season will be a two-minute set at the end of each episode of star Cedric the Entertainer -- who plays an R&B superstar- turned-minister who now heads his hometown church in St. Louis -- doing stand-up relating to that week's storylines.


8 p.m. on National Geographic

Mountain Movers

In the new episode "Crushed," Gunny and the SPT team have been contracted to design and build the prestigious U.S. Open course in Vail, Colo. They find themselves pressured by time, uneven terrain and lack of snow as they attempt to build a one-of-a-kind re-entry setup.

9 p.m. on Fox

Does Someone Have to Go?

The frustrated CEO of True Home Value, a home remodeling operation based in St. Louis, gives his staff a chance to try fixing the troubled company. The employees take a hard look at what's causing the problems in the workplace -- and if that "what" turns out to be a "who," they have a tough call to make in the new episode "THV, Part 1 of 2."

9 p.m. on History Channel

Pawn Stars

Corey has hurt his hand and his ankle, but he shows up at work anyway in this new episode, which finds Rick looking over an oil painting by John Daly, an artist known for his images of classic Americana. Another customer brings in a Harley-Davidson rat bike that was custom built from random parts in "King of Pain."

9 p.m. on USA

Burn Notice

Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) summons Sam and Jesse (Bruce Campbell, Coby Bell) to help him with a high-stakes trade involving an international bomber. Back home, Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) steps in when Madeline (Sharon Gless) becomes the target of a bookie in the new episode "Down Range."

9:30 p.m. on FX

Anger Management

Charlie (Charlie Sheen) is on a trip with the group when Kate (Selma Blair) sends him some interesting news. Back at his house, a porn shoot is under way -- without Charlie's knowledge, of course -- in the new episode "Charlie and the Airport Sext."

10 p.m. on FX


The off-kilter comedy returns for its third season as Ryan (Elijah Wood) tries to pick up the pieces from his last relationship, which ended with his girlfriend being taken away by the authorities. But as always, his best pal, Wilfred (Jason Gann), is there for Ryan, even if everyone else actually just sees Wilfred as a dog. In "Uncertainty," the first of two new episodes airing tonight, man and dog search for Wilfred's original owner.

10:01 p.m. on NBC


When Will (Hugh Dancy) returns from Minnesota without Abigail, Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) turns him in. Jack (Laurence Fishburne) and the BAU investigate and come to suspect that not only did Will kill Abigail but that he might be behind all the Copy Cat Killer's crimes. Will is arrested but escapes, fleeing to Minnesota with Hannibal in tow to clear his name, in the new episode "Savoureux."

10:01 p.m. on USA


Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) asks the house to give Lauren (Scottie Thompson) some help with her case against the Russian mob in this new episode. Charlie's (Vanessa Ferlito) informant proves unreliable during a risky drug deal, landing her in trouble in "Heat Run."


6 p.m. on National Geographic

Best of Access 360 World Heritage

Last year, "Access 360" went around the globe to document efforts to preserve and protect some of UNESCO's greatest World Heritage sites. This new special highlights the best, the worst and the most hopeful encounters from the past year.

9 p.m. on Starz

Magic City

As Ike (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) sets his plan to get Ben (Danny Huston) out of the Miramar Playa in motion, Ben is pursuing the go- ahead to get rid of him ... permanently. Stevie and Lily (Steven Strait, Jessica Marais) go on a real date. Ben hosts a Seder like no other in the new episode "Angels of Death."

10 p.m. on Animal Planet

Treehouse Masters

In this new episode, an Ohio family commissions Pete to build a "brewery in the sky." He obliges with a barn-themed tavern equipped with a fully functional brewing setup and containing a bar made from old wine barrels. Members of the local Amish community help the crew get the job done in "Treetop Taphouse."

11:15 p.m. on TCM

Movie: Double Indemnity

Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler adapted this 1944 film noir masterpiece from James M. Cain's novel about an insurance man who helps a bored but beautiful wife plan the "perfect murder" of her husband in a gambit to split a hefty insurance policy. Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray star.


8 p.m. on ABC

Zero Hour

Hank (Anthony Edwards) confronts his parents (Dan Ziskie, Beth Dixon) about his birth and early years. They reluctantly open up, but he senses they're not telling the whole truth. The search for Laila (Jacinda Barrett) and the next clock brings Beck, Paige, Arron and Rachel (Carmen Ejogo, Grace Gummer, Scott Michael Foster, Addison Timlin) to Istanbul. Hank makes a connection with a man who holds a critical key in the new episode "Weight."

8 p.m. on HBO

Movie: Pitch Perfect

More than a big-screen "Glee," this 2012 comedy with a big dose of music has an engaging energy all its own. Anna Kendrick plays an unlikely new member of a college singing group who proves to be the spark it needs in a competition. Rebel Wilson ("Bridesmaids") is the picture's scene stealer as another member, Co-stars also include Anna Camp ("The Mindy Project"), Brittany Snow ("Hairspray") and Elizabeth Banks, a producer of the picture as well.

8 p.m. on Lifetime

Movie: Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret

In production as her sensational, months-long trial was still in progress, this gripping and disturbing film tells the story of the aspiring photographer (Tania Raymonde) who was convicted of the gruesome 2008 murder of her former boyfriend Travis Alexander (Jesse Lee Soffer). In a bizarre series of events, Arias seduced her estranged lover one last time, then stabbed, slashed and shot him in his own apartment, taking photos throughout the night.

9 p.m. on ABC

666 Park Avenue

Gavin and Olivia (Terry O'Quinn, Vanessa Williams) are excited to have Sasha (Tessa Thompson) back in this new episode. Also in a celebratory mood are Louise (Mercedes Masohn), who's been given an opportunity to work for a top magazine, and Brian (Robert Buckley), who's close to making a deal for his play. Jane (Rachael Taylor), on the other hand, continues to be disturbed by her dreams fusing with reality in "The Comfort of Death."

9 p.m. on Starz

Movie: To Rome With Love

Woody Allen has had success using foreign locales, and he takes that approach again with this enjoyable comedy that sets several stories in Italy. Writer-director Allen plays an opera director who unexpectedly starts a new chapter, while Jesse Eisenberg portrays a young man who falls for his girlfriend's friend (Ellen Page) as an architect (Alec Baldwin) advises him. Penelope Cruz also stars.

11 p.m. on PBS

Austin City Limits

It's an evening of R&B in the 2011 episode "Raphael Saadiq & Black Joe Lewis." Tony! Toni! Tone! alumnus Saadiq performs music from his album "Stone Rollin'," while Austin-based Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears play selections from their release "Scandalous."

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