Gosh-golly! It feels like just yesterday I live-blogged a panel for HBO’s “True Blood.” It was actually just last Friday at Comic-Con, which means my gap between “True Blood” live-blogging was longer than Sepinwall’s gap between “Doctor Who” live-blogs. This is bound to be a different experience, since the Comic-Con panel featured most of the cast and was 50 percent dedicated to questions about male toplessness.
Let’s see if any different material comes out of the TCA panel…
5:18 p.m. Instead of the whole cast, today we just have Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and Alan Ball, which means nobody can ask Nelsan Ellis to call them “hooker.”
5:18 p.m. Is Alan leaving at the end of this season? “No.” “Well, everything ends. There will be an end for me on this show at some point. I just closed a deal to do another season and I don’t have any desire to leave, because I’m having more fun than I’ve had in my life,” Ball continues.
5:19 p.m. “I think stubborn people get themselves in a lot of trouble, but they also get things done,” Anna Paquin says of Sookie’s stubbornness. Paquin thinks Sookie has decided to stand on her own this season and that that has made Sookie more interesting.
5:20 p.m. “I’m having the best time of my life. And I’m not just a little thing, thank you very much. I can hold my own. I dare him to say something I’d say no to,” Paquin says when a reporter asks if she resents all of the awful things Ball keeps having happen to Sookie. “I am working from source material,” Ball maintains.
5:22 p.m. “If there were to be a good reason that were totally grounded in the reality of this show for her to undergo some massive transformation, I would welcome that,” Paquin says when asked if she’d want Sookie to transform as radically as Bill and Eric have changed this season.
5:23 p.m. Question about The Creepy Baby. “They’re so adorable and they’re so socialized and welcoming and they seem to enjoy people and they’re not fazed by production,” Ball says, taking pleasure in the angelic baby and the creepy behavior.
5:24 p.m. What’s the biggest challenge on the show? “The biggest challenge is telling all of the stories in the time we have to tell them,” Ball says. I’m thinking fans might have a suggestion there. What’s the key to getting everything done on time? They scale back. They drop scenes. “The key do it is that everybody just loves working on the show,” Ball says.
5:27 p.m. How does Ball decide which pieces from the book he stays faithful to and which he wants to change? The answer goes back to his Comic-Con answer about how the books are Sookie’s story, so he has more freedom with the other stories. “It’s an organic process. I work with five really good, smart writers,” Ball claims, calling it “a democratic process.”
5:28 p.m. Have the actors gained more input over the years? “What’s amazing about the show is that they write for us now, so they go ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Steve, Alex, Nelsan do this?” Moyer says. “I certainly feel like they write for our strengths, or maybe that’s just a giant coincidence,” adds Paquin, saying that she pitched something in Episode 9 this season that may or may not have been intended as a joke and that may or may not have been used.
5:31 p.m. “Those things don’t occur to me,” Ball says when asked about casting Harry Potter’s witch-hating aunt as a witch this season. He says that unlike other people on the show, he doesn’t care about outside credits. “I just feel like ‘Let’s get the best actor for this role that we can get’ and what else they’ve done doesn’t cross my mind,” Ball explains.
5:32 p.m. The creepy doll and the creepy baby are in creepy cahoots.
5:33 p.m. Critic asks if they’d ever been to Comic-Con before. “Fourth time,” Paquin says. Moyer compares their reception down at Comic-Con — to an audience “that eats this stuff up, if you’ll excuse the pun” — to in this room of critics. Moyer pantomimes us clapping without enthusiasm. That’s a lie. We didn’t clap at all. “What I love about it is how passionate people are about the show and how much they love the show,” Ball says.
5:38 p.m. “What I like about the show is that it can be very serious, it can be life and death serious, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously,” Ball says of the ability to drop humor in with disturbing moments. Paquin agrees, “I like my messed-up mixed with my humor as much as the next girl.” Moyer loved that he finally got to have a one-liner (about Pam’s beekeeper outfit) in last week’s episode. Moyer teases that Kristin Bauer Van Straten has an all-time great line coming up soon.
5:40 p.m. Who do they want more scenes with? Well, Paquin works with everybody. Moyer wants to have more scenes with Carrie Preston and Todd Lowe. He adds, “I very rarely get to go to Merlottes.”
5:41 p.m. Moyer has enjoyed Bill’s arc leading up to becoming Vampire King this season. “It’s been a really interesting dynamic for me to play and in a way, Bill gets to become perhaps somebody she can respect again.”
5:44 p.m. Have Paquin and Moyer enjoyed playing not-in-love this season? “Our love in real life is fine, so I’m totally happy for our characters to be as sad and distraught and messed up and hating each other as they like,” Paquin says. “I actually pitched to Alan that I was getting a bit bored with our life and could he add somebody else to the mix,” Moyer jokes. More seriously says, “It’s also about Sookie growing up as well.” We just had Gloria Steinem on another panel. Maybe Moyer was listening?
And that’s all, folks!