True Blood

Knowing my weakness for vampire stories and my recent withdrawal after finishing the Twilight series, my friend Clarabella pointed me to the new HBO series, True Blood, which just premiered. I downloaded the first episode posthaste and proceeded to kick back on the couch, wine glass in hand, to check out what’s sure to be my newest addiction.

True Blood is based on a series of novels by Charlaine Harris, a Mississippi author. The show is set in small-town Louisiana, which means there will be a lot of bad fake Louisiana/Cajun accents to contend with, I must warn you. (As far as setting goes, Twilight has got True Blood beat. The gray and rainy Pacific Northwest beats the Bayou any day — just ask a vampire. The Twilight books’ setting also feeds my current need for cold-weather-based entertainment, as I am stuck in the neverending New Wye summer at the moment, and gladly would kill for fifteen minutes in Forks, Washington. Anyway!)

The show starts out well with a sexy title sequence:

We’ve got vampires, blood, gyration, gospel choirs, religious fanaticism, and that same decomposing fox from the opening sequence of Adaptation.

Our main character is Sookie, whose name rhymes with cookie, unlike the Sookie on Gilmore Girls whose name rhymes with spooky. This is going to take me a while to get used to.

Sookie Stackhouse, Telepathic Waitress
Sookie Stackhouse, Telepathic Waitress

Sookie is a waitress, and one of those highly-sexualized-yet-still-innocent types. She is also telepathic, but that doesn’t seem important so far.

Next of course, we need a Mysterious Vampire Dude:

Mysterious Vampire Dude
Mysterious Vampire Dude

And that is him. I won’t reveal his name, because the moment in the pilot where Sookie learns his name is kind of funny, and I don’t want to ruin that joke for you, because there are not a lot of jokes to be had here.

When Sookie and this vampire are together, there is much tension. See:

Things are tense. Is it sexual tension? Is it tension of the “I vant to bite your neck” variety? Hard to say!

One of the best things about the show so far is the outside of the bar where Sookie works:

Merlotte's Bar
Merlotte's Bar

See how it sort of rises up out of the swamp with its blur of neon and seediness? Nice design there.

After only one episode, I am feeling a little meh about the show. Meh. M-E-H. It has the potential to be really entertaining, but (as with almost all HBO dramas, I feel), there is a soupçon of Trying Too Hard. While I generally think vampires are sexy (I mean, they are on Buffy; they are in Twilight), the vampires here are not so much. However! There is still plenty of sex, because it’s on HBO! So, yeah! There is sex! That we can watch! Unfortunately, the sex is more creepy and off-putting than titillating. Hey, this is just one woman’s opinion.

Nonetheless, I will certainly be tuning in for a few more episodes to see what happens. I really want to like this show, I do. The HBO dramas tend to be slow starters, so there is still hope!

Have you seen it? Opinions?

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6 thoughts on “True Blood

  1. Brandon September 9, 2008 / 5:45 pm

    What I thought was good:

    1. The “vampires fighting for civil rights” thing is an interesting new twist on the genre.

    2. That vampire blood is a coveted party drug.

    3. The curious grandmother eager to talk to “Mysterious Vampire Guy” about the Civil War.

    4. The Bill Maher segment.

    What I thought was not so good:

    1. All the cheesy hick stereotypes.

    2. That Sookie can read thoughts but had no idea that her boss has the hots for her.

    3. That “Mysterious Vampire Guy” is a complete cliche. I thought the whole point of this program was to show vampires as regular people struggling with everyday life. The first five minutes with the workingman vamp in the convenience store was spot on.

    There’s lots of potential here but I think the show is going to settle for a low road of soap opera romantic entanglements and mindless violence.

  2. Alfina the Vague September 10, 2008 / 1:16 am

    Dude! I agree with pretty much everything you are saying here! Spot on.

    The one thing I am suspicious about is the Grandma being interested in vampires. That could be very cool, but it also could be very annoying. I think I’m suspicious of Lois Smith and her prior roles, but, looking at IMDb, I can’t figure out why. Must’ve been her character in One Life to Live. Annnnnd now I feel I’ve said too much.

  3. Brandon September 10, 2008 / 1:26 am

    I’ve got a feeling that Sookie is going to find out that her grandmother and him had an affair back in the ’40s. My guess is that this will be revealed by episode 4. Annnnnd I feel like I’ve just disgusted everyone who will ever read this.

  4. Alfina the Vague September 10, 2008 / 1:39 am

    Don’t worry, only, like, 12 people ever read this. If they’ve got a problem with vampire shows (or OLTL for that matter), I will punch them.

  5. Ruby September 14, 2008 / 12:50 pm

    I’m still hopeful. But there is one thing that seriously disturbs me, and some of you have heard this complaint from me before.

    Let some fucking southern people teach other people how to do a damn southern accent! I mean, seriously, does everyone have to sound like Foghorn Leghorn? Not to mention the fact that the thing is set in NORTH LOUISIANA, not SOUTH LOUISIANA. So the mixing of the faux-cajun accent and the weird not really north Louisiana accent is kind of killing me.

    I mean, have the producers of this show ever been to Louisiana? Don’t they know it’s not all swamp-and-alligators? Don’t they know we have paved roads and sidewalks? That bars that big aren’t really out on the end of a dirt track in the middle of nowhere? Ugh….

    I’m going to keep watching in hopes that the story will make me forget the horror of accents and stereotypes that tends to ruin things for me.

  6. Alfina the Vague September 14, 2008 / 3:05 pm

    Exactly. It’s like they feel they must constantly remind viewers of where the show is set, and also like they think those viewers are really, really dumb. Bah. Still gonna keep watching for a while, though, because there’s a lot of potential.

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