Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series may have been the catalyst for the vampire explosion of the late 2000s, but HBO’s True Blood was its bloodier, seedier cousin. Based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, the series followed Sookie (Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress living in the fictional town of Bon Temps, La. Vampires have “come out of the coffin” thanks to a new bottled synthetic blood, allowing them to “mainstream” and fight for equal rights in society. When vampire Bill Compton walks into Merlotte’s, the bar Sookie works at, she’s immediately drawn to him…especially when she realizes she can’t hear his (technically dead) thoughts.
Adapted for television by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under), True Blood is a blood-soaked love story chock-full of violence, sex, gore and camp—an ultimate guilty pleasure that sparked heaps of social buzz throughout its seven season run. Looking for a new horror-drama to sink your teeth into? You can watch True Blood streaming online. Here’s how.
How to Watch True Blood Online & Stream the Complete Series
True Blood still hasn’t made its way to Netflix or Hulu, but the first six seasons are all available to watch for free with Amazon Prime, while the seventh and final season can be watched on Amazon with the HBO channel add-on. Here’s everything you need to know to watch:
If you have Prime, or if you want to sign up for a free 30-day trial of Prime, you can watch Seasons 1-6 of True Blood on your computer via Amazon’s website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
Then, for Season 7, you will need both Prime and the HBO channel. Once signed up for both–you can start a free trial of one or both right here–you can then watch on your computer via Amazon’s website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
How to Buy & Stream Individual True Blood Episodes & Seasons
If you would rather own the episodes but still want to have a digital library so you can watch on different devices, you can purchase either individual episodes or seasons and then watch via Amazon:
Season 1: Episodes cost $3.99, or the entire season costs $24.99
Season 2: Episodes cost $3.99, or the entire season costs $24.99
Season 3: Episodes cost $3.99, or the entire season costs $24.99
Season 4: Episodes cost $3.99, or the entire season costs $24.99
Season 5: Episodes cost $3.99, or the entire season costs $24.99
Season 6: Episodes cost $3.99, or the entire season costs $24.99
Season 7: Episodes cost $3.99, or the entire season costs $24.99
Once you’ve bought an episode or season, you can either watch on your computer via the Amazon website, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
Where to Buy True Blood Seasons on DVD
Another option, if you prefer being able to watch episodes without being reliant on an internet connection, is to buy individual seasons or the entire series on DVD, which you can do right here.
NOTE: Spoilers to follow
How Many True Blood Seasons Are There?
There are seven seasons of True Blood which follow the push-and-pull dramas between vampires and humans in the small town of Bon Temps. Sam Merlotte’s bar serves as the show’s main setting, a place where many of its southern clientele come face to face with their very first vampires. Sookie struggles with her telepathy, trying her hardest to stay out of people’s lives, but can’t help sticking up for vampires’ rights or any other underdog in need. But for every good vamp who enters Merlotte’s when the sun goes down, there’s a horde of dastardly ones that constantly threaten the town. When Sookie becomes romantically involved with Bill, she quickly gets caught in the crossfire.
True Blood Season 1
12 Episodes | September 2008 – November 2008
Season 1’s main story is a murder mystery that is seemingly connected to Sookie’s brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten). Shortly after a few young women are found dead, Sookie finds her own grandmother murdered at home. Jason becomes addicted to vampire blood, which has a drug-inducing effect on humans. We learn about Sookie’s relationships with Bill, bar owner Sam, and childhood friend, Tara. After Bill kills a vampire to defend Sookie, he must create a new vampire as punishment and turns a young girl named Jessica. Season 1 takes off sprinting showing that while it is a show about relationships, it’s also horrific, dark and insanely unpredictable (Gran!). And oh yeah. Sam’s a shapeshifter.
True Blood Season 2
12 Episodes | June 2009 – September 2009
There’s a whole clan of vampires that hang out at a vamp bar called Fantasia. The owner, Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård), Sheriff of Area 5, reaches out to Sookie and Bill when Godric, a 2,000-year old vampire and Sheriff of Area 9, goes missing. In their quest to find him, we’re introduced to Sophie-Anne Leclerq (Evan Rachel Wood), the savage Vampire Queen of Louisiana. Jason tries to find the meaning of life by joining a culty anti-vampire group called the Fellowship of the Sun. A figure from Sam’s past, a maenad named Maryann, comes to Bon Temps, alluring its residents and causing havoc as the season builds. Bill proposes to Sookie in the season’s final moments only to be kidnapped while Sookie hits the bathroom to consider his offer.
True Blood Season 3
12 Episodes | June 2010 – September 2010
Shapeshifters, vampires…why not throw werewolves into the mix! Season 3 features one of the gnarliest villains in the show’s history, Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi, played by the deviously talented Denis O’Hare. The show gets increasingly weird, introducing a family of werepanthers, and Sookie’s faerie heritage and godmother Claudine. Eric tells Sookie that Bill was originally sent to Bon Temps to acquire her for the queen. Bill invites Sophie over for a fight to the death, vowing to kill anyone knowing the truth about Sookie’s real heritage. At the end of the season, Sookie agrees to follow her godmother to the land of Faerie.
True Blood Season 4
12 Episodes | June 2011 – September 2011
A coven of witches are Season 4’s Big Bad. Led by Marnie, the coven poses a threat to vamps when it’s revealed that the witches are working on necromancy. Sookie returns to Bon Temps to learn that Bill is the new King of Louisiana and that her friends had lost hope of finding her alive. Witch Marnie turns even more evil after becoming possessed by a 16th century necromancer named Antonia, who puts an amnesia spell on Eric. This leads to some serious Sookie-Eric smooching. (Amnesia storylines…why!?) The finale leaves a lot on the table: Arlene receives an ominous warning, Russell Edgington escapes his cement prison, the leader of the Fellowship, Steve Newlin, reappears as a vampire, and Tara is shot while trying to protect Sookie.
True Blood Season 5
12 Episodes | June 2012 – August 2012
Bill and Eric are captured by the Vampire Authority after the disappearance of Nan Flanagan, a vampire spokesperson. The two are almost sentenced to death by the Guardian, Roman, until it’s revealed that Russell Edgington is alive. Werewolf Alcide is now pack-master of his tribe, which causes him plenty of trouble and headaches. Tara struggles to conform to her new life as a vampire after Pam, Eric’s protege, saves her from the brink of death. Jason and Sookie learn their parents were killed by a vampire and the two vow to find out who was responsible. Russell and Steve plan to go kamikaze on humans until Bill drinks a sacred vial of Lilith’s blood, the messiah of the Vampire Bible. Bill suffers the “true death” (which in True Blood is a thing), but he’s reborn as an even more powerful vamp, a reincarnation of Lilith herself.
True Blood Season 6
10 Episodes | June 2013 – August 2013
Alan Ball bowed out after Season 5, replaced by new showrunner Brian Buckner. Season 6 focuses on Bill’s growing abilities as the blood of Lilith runs through him. Sookie and Jason continue their search for Warlow, the vampire they believe is responsible for their parents’ death. Politics in Louisiana heats up as the governor looks to end the entire vampire race. As usual, no human, creature or thing is safe on this show.
True Blood Season 7
10 Episodes | June 2014 – August 2014
Thanks to a batch of tainted Tru Blood, a faction of vampires contract Hepatitis V. These Hep-V Vamps raid the bar and kidnap Holly and Arlene, among others. Bill and Eric are both eventually contaminated themselves, later discovering that Sarah Newlin ingested the cure and her blood is now the key to their salvation. After his escapades with Lilith and Hep-V, Bill makes a fateful decision in order to better Sookie’s future.
What Are the Best True Blood Episodes?
Most of the show’s best material comes from its first five seasons. Here’s a list of the best True Blood episodes:
Season 1, Episode 5: “Sparks Fly Out”
While Jason may be innocent in the murders of Bon Temps women, he’s still taking vampire blood that he buys from Lafayette, the best character of the series (non-negotiable). Tara lies to the police to give Jason an alibi for Dawn’s murder. Sam warns Sookie that Bill is dangerous. Peeved, she flees home only to find Gran lying on the kitchen floor, dead and soaking in a pool of her own blood. It’s an episode that is equal parts harrowing and heartbreaking.
Season 1, Episode 12: “You’ll Be the Death of Me”
The murderer is finally revealed and Sookie faces an ultimate life-or-death showdown that ends with a decapitation. This episode is a prime example of just how intense and bloody this show can get. Twilight, it is not.
Season 2, Episode 6: “Hard-Hearted Hannah”
For fans shipping Jessica and Hoyt, this episode is where their relationship begins to flourish when Hoyt reveals to his conservative mother that his girlfriend is a vampire. It ends with a freaky-deaky orgy that begins to reveal Maryann’s true motivation for coming to Bon Temps…and Tara and Eggs are caught up in the trance-induced sexy-time.
Season 3, Episode 9: “Everything Is Broken”
Denis O’Hare is a revelation as Russell Edgington, who’s got heaps of southern charm, but is ruthless as all hell. After Eric kills Russell’s lover Talbot in retaliation for Russell massacring Eric’s family centuries prior, Russell becomes unhinged, tearing the spine out of a news anchor on live television. He then declares war against all humans and the American Vampire League. With genius comedic timing, O’Hare’s Edgington then says, “Now time for the weather…Tiffany?” Mic. Drop.
Season 4, Episode 12: “And When I Die”
Sookie, Tara and Holly rescue Bill and Eric from the possessed witch Marnie, but not before she takes over Lafayette, forcing him to tragically kill his love interest, Jesus, so she can absorb his magical power. The Jason-Jessica-Hoyt love triangle comes to a head when Jason tells Hoyt that the other two slept together. Sookie shoots trashbag Debbie after Tara takes a bullet for her. The season ends with Tara dying in Sookie’s arms. This show knows how to do bleak and bloody.
Who Are the Actors in the True Blood Cast?
Sookie is a no-nonsense waitress who’s also kindhearted and supporting of vampires’ mainstreaming efforts. Her telepathy makes her stick out like a sore thumb when all she wants to do is live a normal life. Paquin won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 1994’s The Piano and is also well known for her role as Rogue in the X-Men franchise.
Bill is a former confederate soldier turned vampire who’s decided to mainstream and live peacefully with humans. He and Sookie quickly become romantically involved. Moyer is also Paquin’s real-life husband.
Eric is the owner of a vampire bar called Fangtasia where human tourists frequent when they want to walk on the wild side. Skarsgård was recently seen in Big Little Lies.
Jason is Sookie’s brother and sheriff deputy working for the Bon Temps Police Station. He’s a lovable doofus who definitely isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.
Sam Merlotte is Sookie’s boss and owner of Merlotte’s Bar and Grill. He’s a shapeshifter who crushes on Sookie, though is always respectful of her and her decisions, good or bad.
The late Ellis (RIP) shines as the flamboyant, sassy Lafayette Reynolds. Ellis can be seen portraying Martin Luther King Jr. in Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
Arlene is one of Sookie’s co-workers who constantly gets wrapped up in the vamp madness and blames Sookie for it. Preston can be seen in TNT’s Claws.
Pam is Eric’s right-hand woman and co-owner of Fangtasia. She’s extremely blunt, which provides loads of comic relief, but she’s also lethal, morbid, and occasionally charming. Along with Ellis, Bauer van Straten is one of True Blood‘s go-to scene-stealers.
Tara is Sookie’s childhood friend who always has her back. She takes a bullet for Sookie at the hands of the horrid Debbie and is later turned into a vampire to save her life. After the show ended, Wesley moved on to Hannibal and Queen Sugar.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind True Blood?
Alan Ball: True Blood Creator, Producer, Director, Writer, Showrunner
Ball is True Blood‘s main man. Having adapted Harris’s books for television, Ball was behind the show’s creative direction and tone, which in its first five seasons was primo. Three years after Six Feet Under, True Blood couldn’t have been more different from his previous work. Ball left the series after Season 5 and the show could never regain its former highs.
Where True Blood Ranks in the Television Pantheon
True Blood may have cunningly rode in during Twilight mania, but Alan Ball and his cast quickly demonstrated that the show was a totally different beast. It served up an addictive display of camp, sex, horror and drama that definitely didn’t fit a tween mold. It was an irresistible guilty pleasure led by a provocative cast that fans couldn’t get enough of. Its sharp edge, at least in its formative years, was only topped by its gore and other horror elements, making it one of the most entertaining and genre-bending series of its time.
Sadly, the series’ delicate balance of sexy and scary floundered hard once creator Ball departed, unable to make its campy elements cool. That said, the show is remembered for its electric chemistry between Sookie and Bill (TV’s best vampire love affair since Buffy and Angel) and its indulgent satire on social, religious and political issues.
And the blood. So much blood.