HBO renewed the hit show True Blood for a 12-episode fifth season in August and this week, details of two new characters emerged from the production team. Created by Alan Ball, the series will begin production of new episodes later this year in Los Angeles, and will debut on screen in the summer of 2012

€œI am thrilled that True Blood continues to enjoy a phenomenal reception from both subscribers and critics,€ noted Michael Lombardo, the president of HBO Programming.  €œAlan Ball and his gifted team have devised the greatest thrill ride on TV.€

Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, the Emmy-nominated show takes place at a time when vampires have come out of the coffin, and follows the on-and-off romance between waitress and part-faerie Sookie Stackhouse, played by Anna Paquin, who can hear people′s thoughts, and 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton, in the form of Stephen Moyer.

According to a press release, the series creator Alan Ball, who is also responsible for the creation of the Emmy-winning HBO series Six Feet Under, is also an executive producer of the show, which is based on the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.

€œI remain amazed and delighted by the enthusiasm of our viewers,€ says Ball. €œI can′t imagine having more fun than this.€

The 12-episode fourth season has inspired critical raves, with USA Today calling it €œexuberantly entertaining,€ as well as hailing the €œsuperb crew of writers and actors,€ while the Washington Post called the show €œa rollicking good scream€ and €œaddictive.€ The season was wrapped up this week with a number of cliff-hangers and surprising exits, with Sookie tied up in the middle of everything.

Fans on Stuff.co.nz found the season finale a double-edged sword; €œif you’re a Sookie fan, then chances are you’re pretty happy with how things ended last night. If you’re like Pam – and at least a portion of other viewers, like me – and you’re over Sookie, then chances are the finale didn’t increase your enthusiasm for next season.€

While waiting for next summer to pick up, Entertainment Weekly revealed details of the two new characters. One is a beautiful and intelligent woman named Nora who has a story with Eric and who will join the regular cast ensemble. The other is a new female vampire whom Aceshowbiz.com describes as €œa powerful ancient vampire and a world-class seductress who′s also a little mad,€ named Salome.

It is likely that we will see more new faces on the show as Ball has hinted to exciting new elements of spirits, freakish demons and more never-before-seen supernatural creatures.

Image Courtesy of   http://www.facebook.com/TrueBlood