Saturday, November 15, 2008

True Blood: The TV Series with Fangs

Website: True Blood
Seasons/Episodes: Season 1, episodes 12
Season Finale: November 23rd

Everybody in the urban fantasy community have been hyped out about the series release of “True Blood” by HBO on the silver screen, so I finally decided to see what the commotion was all about. Any serious Internet surfer has come across adds for “TruBlood”, bottled synthetic blood for vampires.

The approach used to promote the TV series is original as the producers take the world written by Charlaine Harris, an icon in urban fantasy, and throw a lot of money to make it believable with world reports about the vampire situation and their civil right, interviews with the main characters and TV speeches from both human and vampire sides on the matter of integrating vampires in human society. The result is definite since True Blood is a hit on HBO and if people think that urban fantasy is repeating itself to boredom in novels, then on TV the effect is addictive. Right from the starting scenes to the title sequence with a smoldering Southern song “I wanna do Bad Things to You” by Jace Everett and a very precisely crafted montage of scenes to show the many faces of the South, the show grabbed me. Just to note the series takes place in the fictional small town Bon Temp, Louisiana

I personally haven’t had the pleasure of reading the Sookie Stackhouse Series, so I cannot say whether the show does any justice to the novels, which is the normal outcome or vice versa. But having watched the first nine episodes, I might as well read them. The casting for the series is interesting and judging by the characters involved I would say that the producers have struck gold. Anna Paquin is more known for her role in the X-Men trilogy as the super heroine Rogue and the transformation from a self conscious mutant to a very perky and too optimistic, even tad naïve telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse is an amazing one indeed. My first impression of Anna’s character is that Sookie is with no self preservation instinct and kind of dumb to go out in the middle of the night chasing vampires out of curiosity. She just goes there like a moth bathed in gasoline to a torch, waiting to set herself on fire, but thankfully in nine episodes we see depth that explains most of her behavior. Being a telepath not introduced to a means to active her gift when she wishes, Sookie has to deal with the very unflattering thoughts of the people that visit the bar, where she waits.

The vampire Bill Compton is portrayed by the English actor Stephen Moyer, who has been capable enough to get the Southern accent just fine. Although lacking a filmography with widely known blockbuster roles, something he and the rest of the actor staff have in common, Stephen is a perfect fit for the part. He is tall, dark, handsome and his eyes have that mysterious feel that you can’t possibly place. When it comes to credibility all the actors in the series are competent enough. Ryan Kwanten, who plays Sookie’s Brother Jason, does a fine junkie playboy stud, while Rutina Wesley, portraying Sookie’s best friend Tarra Thornton, does a fantastic job bossing people around with her loud mouth and promises quite an entertainment. I view this series as the trampoline for many of these actors.

So let’s drop the cast and move to the story. Every episode is like a shot of tequila, a concentrated dosage of the good old urban fantasy spirit. You have your buxom blond hottie with paranormal abilities, who doesn’t seem like a cliché. Then you add a charming vampire, who wants to mainstream and due to that disturbs the usual flow of the small town. This mixture can’t go without a love triangle, a good for nothing brother womanizer, who gets himself in vampire related trouble and then to top it off, you have your buxom blond make herself known to the vampire world as a telepath. Mix all of these with hot actors, add the necessary sex and blood scenes and you have nine explosive episodes. This is a cocktail I would drink any day several times.

As with everything quite as provocative as this TV series, you either love it or hate it. I am glad to say that most of the people agree with me. According to Metacritic the critics are favorable with a rating of 64 out of 100 based on 30 reviews, while the users are more generous with 8.5 out of 10. If you want a full list of opinions then here is the link to Metacritic…

All I can say is that I have a new reason not to do anything responsible and enjoy myself. To the Charlaine Harris fans this will be a re-discovery (not only Madonna is entitled to that) and to all the people, who wonder what new book genre to start, this will be a great first interaction. Also here are some videos that might interest future fans of the show:


CaroleMcDonnell said...

I really think they made a mistake when they decided to go all-out urban and include werewolves et al. They really should have stuck to the vampires alone. Just my opinion, though. -C

cj said...

I love Charlaine Harris's books but don't get Showtime so can't say about the series.

Carol - there are werewolves in the books, too, so it sounds like they're staying true to Sookie's universe.


daydream said...

I personally am not that far into the story, but I think that Sam was a natural shapeshifter that can change into any animal he wishes. So says Wikipedia, but I am not sure. Maybe I am wrong. Anyways I personally loved it.

Anonymous said...

As a huge fan of Charlaine Harris, I can say I love Trublood. Tara's character is portrayed differently in the books, but there are all kinds of shifters, werewolves, werefoxes, etc. Sam can shift into any shape, but chooses dogs as his animal of choice, more people friendly. Sookie is drawn to vampires, especially Vampire Bill because she has down time with him, can't hear his thoughts, peaceful for her.

daydream said...

The solution is simple. I ahve to read the books, but from what you say they pretty much covered the important moment from the novels regarding the characters.

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