You can’t keep a good (or bad) vampire down for long. HBO has announced the debut date for the sixth season of True Blood, the fantasy drama series about psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse and the many supernatural inhabitants of the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. The first episode of season 6 will air on Sunday, June 16th at 9:00-10:00 p.m. (ET/PT). So far, the show has had everything from vampires to witches, shape-shifters to fairies and more, so what could the writers possibly throw at us next?

Since the season 5 finale aired all the way back in August 2012, it’s probably time for a quick recap of what’s happened to all our favorite (and least-favorite) characters. If you’ve not watched all the way up until the most recent episode, then consider this your SPOILER WARNING for season 5.

Andy Bellefleur is now the proud single father of fairy quadruplets, delivered via by Maurella, a fairy with whom he had an ill-advised one-night stand. Andy is now contracted to raise at least half of the children to adulthood, and will presumably do so with the aid of his Wiccan girlfriend Holly Cleary. Holly isn’t the only staff member of Merlotte’s Bar and Grill to find herself in an odd situation; Lafeyette Reynolds, still in mourning for his dead boyfriend Jesus, became possessed by the brujo demon that he invited in and was kidnapped and nearly murdered by Jesus’ grandfather. Meanwhile, Arlene and Terry Bellefleur were harassed by an ifrit, leading to some unpleasant events from Terry’s military past being brought to light.

After a series of unpleasant run-ins and a nasty bump on the head that led to twisted hallucinations of his dead parents, Jason Stackhouse was once again hungry for vampire blood (not literally) and helped to lead the charge on the Authority headquarters. His rekindled hatred for vampires also caused him to reject Jessica Hamby when she professed her love for him. Jessica’s ex-boyfriend Hoyt Fortenberry left Bon Temps for new pastures – after discovering that his girlfriend had cheated on him with his best friend.

After turning down the title of Packmaster, Alcide Herveaux watched JD run the werewolf pack into ruin and turn them into Russell Edgington’s pets. After running away to spend some quality time with his father, Alcide was eventually forced to intervene, killing JD and proclaiming himself Packmaster.

The growing romance between Sam Merlotte and Luna Garza hit a few bumps in the road, not the least of which was having to do battle with the ‘Obamas': a gang of shifter-hating bigots who kidnapped Sookie and shot Luna in the stomach. Soon after, Luna’s daughter Emma was kidnapped by Russell Edgington as a gift for his beau Steve Newlin, leading Sam and Luna to invade the Authority’s headquarters in a rescue attempt. Taking on Steve’s form, Luna sat down in front of a live broadcast camera and shifted back into her true form, exposing the existence of shifters.

Pam Swynford De Beaufort and Tara Thornton suffered through a rather tempestuous beginning as maker and progeny, but Pam eventually gave Tara a bartending job at Fangtasia and broke the ice by stringing up a snobby, racist past acquaintance of Tara’s as a chew toy. The two seem to have worked through their differences, since the last time we saw them they were making out rather passionately in the Authority’s prison cells. Pam’s maker, Eric Northman, succeeded in resisting the cult of vampire goddess Lilith that the rest of the Authority fell prey to, and united a small army of Bon Temps residents in a strike force on the heart of Authority HQ.

Bill Compton quite literally drank the vampire cult Kool-Aid (more popularly known as the Blood of Lilith) and slaughtered the rest of the Authority before downing toxic amounts of vampire goddess blood and collapsing into a gooey puddle on the ground. Within seconds, however, he reformed, completely soaked in blood and apparently possessed by the spirit of Lilith. The fans have affectionately dubbed this new incarnation ‘Bilith’.

Sookie Stackhouse started off season 5 faced with the dual challenges of burying Debbie Pelt’s body and trying to control the newly-fanged Tara, and things didn’t get much better from there. Despite having rejected both Bill and Eric at the end of season 4, she nonetheless found her budding relationship with Alcide derailed by Eric’s meddling. After trying and failing to drain herself of the fairy magic in her blood, Sookie was drawn back into Bill and Eric’s ongoing drama and rushed to the Authority’s headquarters with the others, arriving just in time to hear Bill’s final rejection and watch him drink Lilith’s blood.

And finally, here’s the roll-call of the dead (the actual dead, not just the undead):

  • Russell Edgington – Staked to death by Eric after overdosing on faerie blood.
  • The Authority – All of them, killed off in a series of back-stabbings and executions.
  • Debbie Pelt – Shot Tara in the head before being shot herself and making a big mess of Sookie’s kitchen.
  • Elijah Stormer – Enjoyed a brief stint as Sheriff of Area 5 before being decapitated by Tara.
  • Molly – Inventor of the iStake, who died at the pointy end of her own creation.
  • Patrick Devins – Shot by Terry at the behest of a fire djinn.
  • Don Bartolo – Grandfather of Lafayette’s deceased boyfriend Jesus; stabbed to death by his own wife.
  • JD Carson – Beaten to death by Alcide in a battle for pack dominance.
  • The Faerie Elder – Drained of all her blood by Russell Edgington.
  • Mike Spencer – Staked to death by Sookie (with a chopstick) after being turned into a vampire.
  • Ex-Sheriff Bud Dearborn – Shot in the head by Andy after kidnapping Sookie and Hoyt.

So what can we expect to see in the next season of True Blood? Alan Ball has hinted that the mysterious vampire Warlow will have a significant impact on future events. We also know that this season’s story arc will be a bit shorter than those seen previously, as the length of the season was cut to just 10 episodes (from the usual 12), partly for “economic reasons” and partly because Anna Paquin was pregnant with twins by co-star Stephen Moyer and due to give birth in November 2012, limiting the amount of time that they had to shoot the next season.

We found out recently that Robert Patrick will be brought back as a series regular. Patrick plays Alcide’s father, Jackson Herveaux, a former Packmaster-turned-alcoholic who lives a lonely life in a trailer until being reunited with his outcast son and drawn into the confrontation with JD. As father of the current Packmaster, Jackson may play a mentor role as Alcide finds his feet as a leader, and we may even find out more about why Jackson was kicked out of the pack in the first place.

As the above recap of the season indicates, there are still an awful lot of characters to keep track of (no matter how fast the writers kill them off, more keep springing up), which means the number of different subplots is starting to verge on unmanageable. To give the writers credit, they pulled the various plots together with admirable deftness in order to get most of the characters gathered together in one place during the climax at the Authority HQ, but now that the show’s creator Alan Ball has left as showrunner (remaining only as executive producer), it remains to be seen whether the current team of writers have what it takes to keep the numerous story arcs from spiralling apart again.

So, should fans be excited for this next season? When season 5 premiered, we polled Screen Rant readers in our episode review to get an idea of how you felt about the way the series seemed to be going, and the majority either liked or loved it, with only 13% claiming that they hated it. Unless the rest of season 5 managed to dampen the fanbase’s passion for the show, there’s a good chance that the shocking climax of the final episode has many people eager to find out what happens next.

Are you looking forward to see more of Sookie and the crew? Has the series kept your interest, or have you become distracted by The Vampire Diaries? Let us know how you feel about season 6 of True Blood in the comments.

Season 6, Episode 1 of True Blood will air on June 16, 2013 1t 9:00/10:00 p.m. on HBO.