What started as a fun, hot addition to the YA vampire lit craze with a killer concept — the invention of synthetic blood sparks a population of vampires “coming out of the coffin” to mix with the humans they no longer have to feed on to survive — has become quite the crazy train of otherworldly drama. Somewhere between werepanthers, a fairy nightclub and Lilith, that train went off the rails. The series may have lost some of its original magic, but it has consistently pushed the envelope and left audiences in a gooey puddle of WTF.
Love it or hate it, this wild ride comes to a close with the seventh and final season of True Blood (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO). But will the show return to its roots?
In some ways, yes. Showrunner Brick Buckner (who took over for creator Alan Ball in 2013) brings the focus back to our main characters this season. We’ll see Sookie struggle to protect Bon Temps as the town blames her for their supernatural woes, and Bill will try to make amends with her. Pam will be searching for Eric, who we last saw iconically sunning himself nude on a snowy mountaintop. And there will be plenty of bloody battles, steamy hookups and soapy drama with Jason, Jessica, Tara, Sam, Lafayette and Alcide.
Instead of introducing a new antagonist “supe,” it appears this season’s villain will be Hepatitis V, this vampire disease introduced last season after tainted Tru Blood infected countless vamps. These sick suckers are more dangerous and hold less self-control than your typical vampire, and they’re attacking in packs — as we saw in Season Six’s final scene. Sunday’s episode will pick up there, at the Bellefleur’s bash-gone-bad.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 18
I Love the 2000s (9 p.m., VH1) – Because time can’t move fast enough for us to nostalgify and reboot the past, VH1 brings back its once popular I Love the… series for a look back in time all the way to 2002.
The Aughties will be recapped nightly through Friday (… again — there was an I Love the New Millennium series back in 2008). Remember relics like My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Livestrong bracelets?
SATURDAY JUNE 21
Orphan Black (Season Finale, 9 p.m., BBC America) – Sarah is forced to surrender, but not without the help of the Clone Club.
Almost Royal (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., BBC America) – With I Wanna Marry “Harry” getting the boot from Fox just halfway into the season, this satirical series now fills the void of programming in which sneaky Brits mislead gullible Americans. English comedians Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart play aristocratic British siblings on their first jaunt across the U.S. In these first two episodes, “Georgie” and “Poppy” visit Los Angeles and Boston to get schooled on the American way of life and confuse stupid Yanks.
SUNDAY JUNE 22
2014 FIFA World Cup (6 p.m., ESPN) – The U.S. takes on Portugal in their second World Cup game.
Halt and Catch Fire (10 p.m., AMC) -– Cameron is on the brink of finishing the BIOS code when a new threat emerges, shaking the future of the machine.
Frankenfood (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., Spike) --– New York executive chef Josh Capon and Renaissance man Tony “Cheesesteak King” Luke Jr. search for a new combination food craze. Amateur chefs will compete to see if their culinary mash-up is the next chicken and waffles.
MONDAY JUNE 23
Teen Wolf (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., MTV) – Sorry, True Blood. Werewolves need love, too. Loosely based on the 1985 Michael J. Fox movie, this darker, sexier take has gained more than just a guilty pleasure following. Since every series these days requires a companion after-show, stick around for Wolf Watch at 11 p.m.
TUESDAY JUNE 24
Tyrant (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., FX) – From the producers of Homeland comes another drama sure to draw comparisons to the Showtime hit. Tyrant follows California pediatrician, husband and father Bassam “Barry” Al-Fayeed, son of a dictator from a fictional, war-town Middle Eastern country. When Barry returns to his homeland with his family for a wedding after 20 years of self-exile, he finds himself being pulled back into the family politics he once abandoned.
CONTACT Jac Kern: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jackern