Wednesday, June 16, 2010

recommendation: "True Blood" (2008-present TV series)

I was thrilled two years ago when I heard True Blood was to become an HBO series--not because I'd read the books, but because I adore vampires, the bloodier and lustier the better. And True Blood promised to the bloodiest and lustiest of all. I still haven't read the books (by Charlaine Harris; I've bought the first few, and still haven't gotten around to reading them*), but I've been watching the show with glee. Because that gory, delicious, cravingly hawt glory it promised? It delivered. Splat.

My love for vampires started in high school, as it (so I hear...) frequently does, thanks to my wicked-badass friend (HELLO!) encouraging me to read Anne Rice. My obsession has only grown since, and I doubt I'll ever outgrow it; indeed, I want even messier, swampier, sexier versions of beautiful Louis and smirking Lestat. Is such a thing even possible? True Blood, set in the modern-day American South, fulfills my every wish and is set to continue fulfilling--the third season has just started, and its popularity only seems to be growing, making me very relieved. I need my V!

The story follows Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress at a bar owned by Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell). In this altered-reality Louisiana (and indeed, world) vampires have come out of the coffin, as they say, and live among humankind. Sookie falls for 160-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer)--but this is no happily-forever-after, especially once 1000-year-old Eric (Alexander Skarsgård), owner of the club Fangtasia, swaggers in. Sookie is no whimpering damsel, Bill is no flawless saviour, and Eric is... really hot** (I shut down and start gibbering when confronted by Eric). Disasters ensue. Mess follows mess. Our hazy-grey, tenuously-admirable anti-heroes and anti-villains take every opportunity to feed on, savage, murder, double-cross, lie to, and, most often, seduce each other, leading to ever more tangled plots, disgusting bloodsplosions, and violently sexy encounters.

True Blood is also clever. Its commentary on fundamentalist religion, homophobia, and racial prejudice is delightfully unsubtle. It rubs its message, like everything else, in your face. The mocking jabs at bigots and hypocrites always have me hissing hell yes, tell 'em, bitches! at the screen. True Blood has no inhibitions--not about exploring the dirtier, grittier, sweatier, juicier side of life, nor about calling out those who would hide their own dirt behind fake moral veneers.

This show is exactly the kind of thing I love: it lays itself bare, isn't afraid to go there, and then sasses you behind your back. Leave your conscience in the dirt, because True Blood will suck your heart out, turn your stomach, and casually maul whatever delicate sensibilities you might still be clinging to.

Have my favourite song from the soundtrack; it perfectly sums up the show--

* But even if I had, I'd be recommending the TV show on its own merits anyhow. As I've said before, I don't mind when a version of a story told in a different medium departs from its source material as long as it's executed with style and sincerity.
** "Is there blood in my hair?"


  1. I've read the first two books of the series and loved them! I definitely intend to read the rest soon.

    I, too, have a major vampire paraphilia,(well, maybe not quite that bad!) and it all started with a Stephen King mini-series I watched when I was an impressionable eight years old. It may have started even earlier, because I very clearly remember saying "Draclica" when I was about four!

    I watched the first episode of True Blood on channel 131 and holy crap - hot! I've been eying the first season on DVD at Walmart lately, and I think I'm going to pick it up shortly.

  2. I think you'll love the show, Joanne! It's the hottest thing ever.