First it was The Wire, now it's True Blood. You know what I mean, the TV show you're vaguely aware is supposed to be fantastic but (whisper it) have never actually seen. So pay attention – no talking at the back – because even if you're not watching True Blood you should damn well be talking about it. Here's your print-off-and-casually-drop-in-to-pub-conversation guide to the show.
1. Practicalities first: True Blood is on FX at the moment (Friday nights at 10pm). But panic ye not, terrestrial traditionalists: it's coming to Channel 4 in October. And you can download it from iTunes. Our new secret obsession.
2. Now for the clever TV knowledge bit: the show comes from Alan Ball. As in the genius behind the spooky and powerful Six Feet Under. And the gorgeous and disturbing American Beauty? Your attention's piqued now, huh?
3. Clever TV knowledge bit (part two): Like The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Flight of the Conchords, The Sopranos, Sex And The City and almost every other amazing American TV show, True Blood was made by HBO – the premium American TV channel known for making clever shows for clever people.
4. Let's cut to the chase: this is a show about vampires. But don't be put off, even if you don't get the vamp thing. Even though it centres on a young woman's relationship with a brooding, 170-year-old vamp, True Blood isn't just another Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It's very different – not least because of the sex. There's an awful lot of it. Some of it's dirty and weird and with vampires –which is a good thing, obviously.
5. There's also an awful lot of violence – it's often weird and supernatural but heart-breakingly real at the same time.
6. The True Blood world is a fascinating place: an alternate version of the deep South, where vampires walk amongst humans and are campaigning for their rights (according to their local newspaper, Brad and Angelina have even adopted a vampire baby). The dialogue is clever and feels so real that you'll believe you're there.
7. We adore leading lady Sookie, played by Anna Paquin. From telekinetic powers to the cute gap between her teeth, she's Grazia's current Girl Crush Number 1. And her vampire suitor Bill (played by Stephen Moyer) is pretty hot too. And such a gentleman! (Well, he is almost 200 years old...) The fact that the actors are dating in real life makes the chemistry even more delicious.
8. Lafayette = our absolute, totally favourite TV character ever. (At the moment). A drug-dealing, gay, super-tough yet super-camp chef who is as mixed up as the cocktails in the bar where he works.
9. Sorry to be crude but we're rather enjoying all the gratuitous nudity from Sookie's buff brother Jason, too. The guy is hot, no two ways about it. Plus – fact fans – he used to play Vinnie in Home and Away! Not so hot!
10. Have you heard that theme music? (‘I wanna do bad things with you...') Have you seen those beguilingly weird opening credits? Fabulous.
You get the drift. We could have just said we're obsessed. But this was more fun (for us!). Are you in True Blood's truly converted camp too? And if so, are you a Bill or Jason kinda woman? Oh the points we could make about this one...
- Hannah Marriott