John P. Johnson
EW Staff
January 09, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

9-10PM · HBO · Debuts Sept. 7

CONCEPT Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball adapts Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire mysteries: When mind-reading waitress Sookie (Anna Paquin) meets a 173-year-old vampire named Bill (Stephen Moyer), what blossoms is a ”sweet, old-fashioned romance — between telepath and vampire,” says Ball.

THE SCOOP In True, the fanged are more tolerated by humans, thanks to a synthetic blood. But toss some eerie murders into this small Louisiana town, and you’ve got what Ball calls a ”big bag of scary, sexy, funny, romantic weirdness.” Sookie, says Paquin, ”uses her innocence to her advantage. She looks a certain way, but that doesn’t mean she’s not gonna beat the crap out of somebody with a chain — and still look ladylike.”

BOTTOM LINE Our Twilight binge already has us dangerously close to vampire fatigue, and this new take lacks bite.

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