Perhaps you've already read my newsy report from Saturday (March 5) night's "True Blood" panel at the William S. Paley Television festival and you know that I also perched on the press line and conducted a slew of very brief interviews with many of the show's stars.

It was a full house of reporters and a more-than-full-house of "True Blood" talent and I didn't talk to some of the stars and maybe only got a minute or 90 seconds with a few other the others.
 
I'll be transcribing and posting those interviews over the next couple days, probably pairing them as appropriate -- Deborah Ann Woll & Jim Parrack, Todd Lowe & Carrie Preston, Kevin Alejandro & Nelsan Ellis. I may post Joe Manganiello separately, just because I got a couple extra minutes with him. So stay tuned for that.
 
But I thought I'd start my "True Blood" interview coverage with my couple minutes with Alan Ball, who developed "True Blood" for HBO and remains its small screen driving force.
 
Click through for the first four questions I had time to ask before Ball had to rush inside to introduce the panel...
 
 
HitFix: A lot of characters already on the show, from Season One, Season Two, Season Three. Now you're bringing in more new characters. How do you reassure fans that the old characters they love will still get serviced enough?
 
Alan Ball: Well, I can say that the core characters of the show are basically the spine of the show and that when we bring in new characters, it's usually to interact with the core characters. We don't bring in new characters for them to exist on their own. They're there to help facilitate stories with the core characters.
 
 
HitFix: How would you describe the role, then, that this season's witches serve in terms of those core characters?
 
AB: Well, the witches create some magic and some stuff goes on that really affects all of our major characters in a big way and will also create a danger that all of our core characters are going to have to band together against.
 
 
HitFix: Do the witches "represent" anything? Do they mean something beyond just being people who do magic?
 
AB: No. There are witches who are basically just Wiccans, who just are Earth-centered, goddess-worshipping New Agers who basically look at it as their religion and a philosophy and a way of life. And then there are others, maybe from this time and maybe from centuries long ago, who practice really dangerously Black Magic. So it may start out in one way and end up in another way that unleashes all kinds of craziness.
 
 
HitFix: The show has always alternated between being heavy allegory and sometimes dialing back the allegory to nothing at all. Where do we find it as we begin this season?
 
AB: You know, honestly, I think a lot of people read a lot of allegory into it that is not really that intentional. I think we tend to try to nod toward things that are going on in culture without necessarily saying, "Hey, the vampires are supposed to be gays and lesbians." It's just like it's funny that there's a group of disenfranchised people that are fighting for their rights. It doesn't mean that it's supposed to stand in for this group that exists in real life. I would say for me, it's always not heavy on allegory.
 
More to come...