Wednesday, September 10, 2008
***Pick up True Blood The Complete First Season for only $24.99 on DVDand $44.99 on Blu-ray!***
HBO...Vampires...Alan Ball. Those three ingredients immediately had me excited the moment I heard about True Blood a ways back. Well, this past Sunday the series finally premiered and i'm happy to say it's got more then a little bite!
True Blood was created by Alan Ball, or as i've come to refer to him, "God". Ball not only wrote one of my favorite movies of all time, American Beauty, but he also created the best thing to ever hit the big or small screen, Six Feet Under. For that, I am forever indebted to him. Alan Ball tackling the horror/vampire genre seemed like a dream come true to me. But when I saw the promotional spots, I was not impressed. It looked like maybe Ball had finally created something that was less then amazing. But thank the good lord (it looks like) I was wrong.
So here's the premise of the show. True Blood (which is based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris) takes place in a fictional Louisiana town very much unlike our own, where vampires and humans co-exist. If you see a vampire walking down the street, you may cross the road, but you won't exactly be caught too far off guard. In this fictional world, vampires are (allegedly) no longer a threat (and can thus venture out into the open) due to the fact that a synthetic blood cocktail called "Tru Blood" has been produced. When they want to feed, they can now head to their local 7-11 and pick up a six pack, instead of finding and sucking the blood out of a victim. It's a win win situation for all involved. V-Juice, as it's commonly referred, has become a highly addictive heroin like drug for non vamps, which is boasted as improving the life (particularly the sex life) of it's users. I think that about sets the stage.
In comes Sookie, played by Anna Paquin. Sookie is a waitress at a bar called Merlotte's. One day, a vampire, Bill (Stephen Moyer), comes into the bar and Sookie takes an immediate liking to him. When two bar patron's attempt to drain the blood of Bill in an effort to make riches off the "drug", Sookie comes to his rescue. Her friend's dont exactly approve as they think Bill is out to suck her blood, but Sookie is convinced otherwise. Sookie's brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten), is also becoming fascinated with vampires. He has just had sex with a confessed "fang banger" (a woman who gets off on fucking vampires) and, after she turns up dead after the encounter, is hauled off for questioning, fate unknown.
Oh and also, Sookie can read minds. Kinda like Mel Gibson in that one movie. This ability makes it incredibly difficult for her to find a mate. If we all could read each others minds, i'm pretty sure we'd all be virgins too. Sookie cannot, however, read the mind of vampire Bill and perhaps that's part of the appeal. Phew.
This all may sound utterly ridiculous to you or it may sound like the most interesting concept since Bubba Ho-Tep. I belong to the latter group.
True Blood is by far and away the most interesting take on the vampire mythos since Near Dark (my award winner for best vamp film of all time). The vampires in the show are not portrayed as your typical movie villain, but rather as a minority group who are heavily stereotyped against. It's a very human, real take on the blood suckers. Heavily stereotyped group, eh? The connections between the vampires in this show and homosexuals in our world are clear. If it wasn't clear to you, Ball throws in little quips such as a "God Hates Fangs" billboard in the opening credits, referring to vampires as "coming out of the coffin", and even mention of a "Vampire Rights Amendment". At one point, Bill says, "We don't have human values like you", which is a clear stab at the way gays are viewed in society. It's a very interesting way of going about the story and you've gotta commend Ball for tackling the issues no one else seems to be. Alan Ball is, in case you weren't aware, a gay man, and it has become a huge part of all of his work.
The show is, as you would expect from the creator of Six Feet Under, witty, clever, funny, dramatic, cutting edge, and utterly fascinating. It's HBO, so there's ample amounts of sex and booby, if that's what you're after. There's a few minor problems here and there with not so great Southern accents and stereotypical characters, but this is only the first episode and i'm sure that'll all be fleshed out. And really, aren't most of us walking stereotypes anyway? Once I got over the fact that True Blood, and for that matter nothing ever again, will be Six Feet Under, I was throughouly engrossed in the show and highly entertained. The episode was left on a cliffhanger of an ending with a plethora of interesting places to explore and I can't wait to get another dose.
True Blood airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO