HBO’s “True Blood” is the runaway summer hit, breaking its own ratings record last Sunday with 4.5 million viewers.

So what makes the show so popular? I’m sure everyone has different reasons, but allow me to offer my top five reasons (in random order really).

1. Eric. Bill (Stephen Moyer) might be the star of the show, but it’s mysterious Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) who most people have their eyes on. He’s sexy and scary and after last Sunday’s nude scene, message boards were on fire. And it’s a good thing we’ve gotten used to the blonde bloodsucker because we can expect to see a lot more of him as he and Sookie’s (Anna Paquin) relationship goes to new levels.

2. The sexiness. I touched on this a bit with Eric, but every episode is filled with sexuality. From the animalistic orgies hosted by Maryann (Michelle Forbes) to Jason’s (Ryan Kwanten) V-fueled sexcapades, there’s never a shortage of sex in Bon Temps.

3. Jessica and Hoyt. Newbie vamp Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) has gone from annoying to awesome. She’s hot and hilarious while maintaing an innocence and sadness. Her relationship with human Hoyt (Jim Parrack) is shaping up to be one of the most believable in Bon Temps. Mama’s Boy Hoyt is so much in love with her he’ll even stand up to his overbearing mother.

4. The pushing-the-boundaries/Alan Ball effect. Creator Alan Ball (also responsible for the amazing “Six Feet Under”) isn’t afraid to take risks. He trusts the viewers enough to know we won’t roll our eyes and run when a woman turns into a crazy beast who worships Dionysus.

5. The theme song/opening. From the religious fanaticism to the “God Hates Fangs” sign, the opening does a fantastic job setting the scene for the show. Withing seconds we’re certain we’re seeing scenes from the deep south. We know we’re about to be taken to a place where minds are as small as the town. And it’s all set to “Bad Things” by Jace Everett. It’s a great song and perfect for the show.

What are your favorite things about “True Blood”?

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