Alan Ball by John P. Johnson/HBO Alan Ball by John P. Johnson/HBO

From the dead to the undead, Alan Ball, the creator of the dearly missed mortuary drama Six Feet Under turns his darkly comic sights on the supernatural with True Blood (Sundays at 9 pm/ET, HBO), the story of a telepathic Southern waitress who takes a stab at romance with a 173-year-old vampire. - Kate Hahn

TV Guide: What was it about the Sookie Stackhouse novels that made you want to turn them into a series?
Alan Ball:
I bought [the book] because of the tagline: "Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend wasn't such a good idea," which struck me as funny[Author] Charlaine Harris created such an imaginative and clever world that's frightening, funny, sexy, and deeply romantic all at once.

TV Guide: Anna Paquin looks so different in the series - blonde and tan. Weird for a vampire show!
Ball:
[ Laughs] I've tried to be as true to the books as possible...There are legions of fans for Charlaine's books and I want them to be fans of the show too. And after she did it, Anna actually enjoys being tan and blonde!

TV Guide: True Blood is so different from Six Feet Under. Was that why you wanted to do it?
Ball:
Absolutely. I loved Six Feet Underbut [after] five years of contemplating grief and mortality it felt like, "Been there, done that." Let's do something a little more fun, a little more raucous.

TV Guide: And now you're dealing with characters who can't die.
Ball:
Exactly. [ Laughs] Of course, there's also a huge body count on this show!