Friday, March 13, 2009

True Blood

I know some of you don't have HBO, but I wondered if those who do have seen True Blood. I'm watching it now since I missed it the first time it was on. I also missed it on On Demand. Two of the episodes have been on so far, and it's also out on DVD now.

It's based on the Southern Vampire Series of novels by Charlaine Harris, which I plan to read. Alan Ball writes the TV series, so you know it's quirky. He also wrote Six Feet Under and American Beauty. This is not your Mormon's vampire like those Twilight novels, and I haven't read the Ann Rice vampire series. These vampires are out of the coffin and want equal rights. A synthetic blood developed by the Japanese replaces their drinking human blood. It's dark humor.

Here's the description and review on Amazon.

Alan Ball’s True Blood series works well for television, as it has enough sensationalism to tantalize and enough story girth to make the viewer care about the characters. That one can finally invest emotion into monsters, including an undead Civil War victim, a transformer who can shapeshift into various animals, and a female mind reader, speaks volumes about America’s willingness to accept fantasy. Of course, television has always produced good fantasy shows (I Dream of Genie), but True Blood’s Southern Goth brand of fun horror is more macabre and more perverse, not to mention gorier, than most shows of its kind to date. Adapted from Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, True Blood thrills because of its equal blend in each episode of erotica, humor, tragedy, mystery, and fantasy.

Set in a rural, swampy Louisiana parish, the show centers around Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and her clan, sweet grandmother Adele (Lois Smith) and air-headed brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten). Illicit love is spawned early on, when Sookie saves vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) from having his blood stolen in the parking lot of Merlotte’s diner, owned by Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) who completes what will form a complex love triangle. As tensions between Sookie’s suitors loosen or tighten, many side plots, such as her African-American best friend Tara’s (Rutina Wesley) struggle with an alcoholic, Bible-thumping mother and her brother’s dangerous crush on drug-addicted hippie, Amy Burley (Lizzy Caplan), keep one wondering who will succeed in this podunk place. The main tension throughout, however, is a race war waged between vampires and humans. As murders of “fang bangers” occur (human girls who let vampires bite them) and dumb policeman Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) fails to find clues, one sees the metaphorical implications of vampirism and feels deeper resonance with what can be a downright trashy show. Gossip galore, especially about what kinds of babies interbreeding will produce, is rampant. One of the funniest characters is Tara’s flamboyant cousin, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), who deals drugs, works as a fry cook, and services the local white politicians, while making sure he’s always up in everyone’s business.

What makes True Blood smarter than pure soap opera is the parallels it draws between its monster mash and actual, familiar societal problems. Sookie and her friends watch the news, where Evangelicals bash vampires and prohibit mixed marriage, and everyone is addicted to V, a.k.a vampire blood, that effects like psychedelic heroin. Even its gore reflects a mix of serious and silly, as vampires explode into red, sticky goop. Though it may not be attempting to qualify for the best vampire footage ever shot, True Blood is as addictive as that substance the town’s youth obsesses over, which is a metaphor in itself. --Trinie Dalton

Anna Paquin (Sookie)

Stephen Moyer (Bill)


Bob said...

I love a good vampire tale, so I'll have to check it out.

Thanks for the post!

frogponder said...

Wow, the tv series seems to be a lot more ramped up than the books. Very tame the books. Will be interested to know what you think of them.

Joy said...

Really? I'm going to start reading the books and compare.

David Dust said...

You know I don't read - so I've never checked out the books. But the HBO series was FANTASTIC. I saw every episode - and I can't wait for next season.


RookieRuggerLSU said...

I LOVED the first season. And congrats to Anna Paquin for winning the Golden Globe :)

Joy said...

So far, I'm enjoying it and am glad they're running the first season again. When does season two begin?

I was happy to see Anna Paquin win a GG for this, too!

Wonder Man said...

the show is so good

Berry Blog said...

No HBO...guess I'll have to depend on Netflix.