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Dracula living in a trailer park instead of a castle. NOSFERATU out on
the bayou. THE LOST BOYS hangin' out down by the Chattahoochie with a
keg, instead of in an underground lair with a beachfront view. A great
dinner of catfish, blackeyed peas and rice and cornbread, served up
with a tall, warm, bubbly bottle of...BLOOD.
However you want to describe it, TRUE BLOOD is not only unlike any vampire story that's been done before, it's not like any series that's on right now. It's DARK SHADOWS-meets deep-fried Southern Gothic, and only Alan Ball, the creator of SIX FEET UNDER, would dare stick his neck out to bring it to you.
Based on the novels of Charlaine Harris, which I've never read, (but certainly will after this!), BLOOD takes place in the not-too-distant future. It's been two years since the world got a shock it never expected: vampires came "out of the coffin" as a race. We suspected they always lived - and fed - amongst us, but now it's official, and just as before with race relations and as it is now with GLBT people, the reaction across the board is the same - fear of change and fear of the unknown influences most people's feelings about it. And it doesn't seem to matter much that vamps now opt for finding nourishment from a bottled beverage made of synthetic plasma called - wait for it - "TRU BLOOD", rather than from the warm, breathing, two-legged receptacles called Everybody Else.
Sookie Stackhouse, however, has her own unique take on the whole deal. Sookie (X-MEN'S Anna Paquin) lives and works as a waitress in Bon Temps, LA, at a roadhouse restaurant called Merlotte's, the center of most of the series' action. She serves up pitchers of beer and sweet tea, and will give you a piece of her mind, once she has a piece of yours...though you'll wonder how she knew what you were thinking. Sookie is a telepath, and unfortunately for her, she can't turn off the constant flow of other peoples' streams of consciousness...most of which offers way too much information.
The only minds she can't read are vampire minds, something she discovers when she encounters Bon Temps' first vamp, the courtly and smoldering Bill Compton (Brit actor Stephen Moyer in a bravura performance). They are taken with each other on first sight - Sookie, who is not afraid of the unusual since she herself fits that category all too well, and Bill because he cannot figure her out - is she mortal, or something more?
Looking on this blossoming romance in various stages of curiosity, disgust or outright disapproval are Sookie's brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten), a walking hormone on two legs whose IQ matches his boot size; headstrong, opinionated Tara (Rutina Wesley), Sookie's childhood BFF; Sam Merlotte himself (Sam Trammell), Sookie's boss, who's got it bad for her and wears his heart on his sleeve on and off the clock; Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis), the boldly out, proud and randy cook who serves as Greek chorus, instigator and confidante to Merlotte's employees, but most especially to Sookie, and her 'Gran', Adele Stackhouse (the marvelous Lois Smith), who couldn't be happier that Sookie is romantically involved with somebody...even if he is undead.
Not a single opportunity is wasted here to explore every nuance of mixing the ordinary with the extraordinary, in a way that even a series as outstanding as BUFFY could only get close to. Passion burns, secrets abound, betrayal, murder and things even worse lurk around every corner. It's what you've hoped for but never gotten from every soap opera that couldn't show you what was REALLY going on...until now.
Best of all, TRUE BLOOD is like the best songs that come from Mississippi Delta blues. It has an irresistible melody and a driving beat that pulses with sex, muscular sensuality and undeniable heat, with an undertone of menace lurking just beneath, ready to explode without warning...and sometimes even without provocation.
As with 6FU, Ball and his crew are firing on all cylinders here in the first two episodes I've seen. I sure hope they can keep it going...With the early renewal for a second season, HBO sure seems to agree, and so do the fans. Especially this one.
OK, I just watched episode 1 of this new HBO series, created by Alan
Ball ("American Beauty," "Six Feet Under"), and there is simply no
question in my mind that it's going to be one of the hottest things on
The setting is backwoods Louisiana. Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin, from "The Piano") is a waitress in a local eatery during the day and at the local bar at night. She's pretty normal, except that she can read minds. And the crowd at the eatery and at the bar are pretty normal, too, by backwoods Louisiana standards.
Except that the hook of this series is that vampires "came out of the coffin" on national TV a couple of years earlier. They now live openly in society, because the Japanese have invented a synthetic blood that is sold in convenience stores everywhere as "True Blood." The vampires themselves are considered kinda exotic, and there are "fang bangers" of both sexes who long to have sex with them.
One moves to town. Sookie saves his life. Sparks fly. The stage is set for a really fun, well-written series. There is not a clunker in the cast, or an off moment in the writing. One to look forward to.
There is no doubt in my mind that True Blood is developing it's
die-hard cult fans even as I write this.
Director Alan Ball has successfully adapted the show from the southern vampire series penned by Charlaine Harris. The show incorporates the gritty, down-south, feel that permeates Harris's books. The imagery, whether in landscape or in outfits, is incredible and really gives the viewer a chance to feel the atmosphere of the story.
The music is unbeatable... The opening credits rolling by is enough to hook a person right there.
The acting by lead characters is great. Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse is incredible. She's captured just the right tones of innocence, lively spark, and morals that personify Sookie. The only thing that might be noted is that her accent seems a little off, I can't say how specifically it just sounds wrong which is understandable as she's a Canadian.
Stephen Moyer as 'Vampire Bill' is great as well. I thought his accent was great, much more realistic than other characters who I had definite red flags pop up when I heard them speak. His screen presence is unbeatable and he fits the role of a vampire almost eerily well.
I'm looking for some better character development in Tara, Sookie's close friend, she seems to fit a stereotype a bit too well for my taste. Hopefully writers will mix things up for Tara a little, give her some great lines.
So acting is a 8 out of 10, Screenplay and Scenery get a definite 10 out of 10, and the score is 10 out of 10.
True Blood is the kind of show that comes along and while it has every opportunity to fall flat, sinking into the rut of so many other 'vampire TV shows', it rises above and makes its own cut into the genre.
Another interesting, entertaining, and slightly on the odd side series
from HBO that should have more than enough sex and blood for those more
discerning fans of our mythical long toothed friends, the vampires.
On the other hand, some may find it little more than an "R" rated soap opera with teeth.
I'm more forgiving. I liked the first episode, thought it had a fairly strong cast, and the story held my interest, even though some of the southern accents sounded a bit strange. Still, having a lead character who is wound a little too tight, there's a reason for that, is a fresh enough idea and Anna Paquin, as Sookie Stackhouse...you heard that right, is well cast.
I'm looking forward to the next episode. Maybe this new show will reach right out and bite you.
I like it. I just picked up the books on recommendation from a coworker
and ended up reading nearly the entire series in 2 days (I'm halfway
through From Dead to Worse right now). It's rare that I can sit down
and read a book in a few hours and even more rare that I can read an
entire series without a break, but these books are that good.
I didn't expect that the TV show would be so close to the books, frankly. I was stunned to see how close the first episode is to the first book and even more stunned to see the locations looked pretty damn much like what I had in my head. That's just weird. (The kitchen in Sookie's grandmother's house was just dead on and that made my jaw drop.)
I like the characters. I like the settings. I know I love the books. If the rest of the series plays out like the first episode, then I'll be a happy camper.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For every series that makes it to television, a 100 ideas are formed,
50 scripts are written, 15 pilots are made, and one, just one, actually
makes it to production. From such a selection process, we are lead to
believe that the final product must be the cream of the crop, for what
other reason could so many ideas be rejected to give us a single
And so it goes with True Blood; all the stars were in alignment and what started as a series of novels was transformed into an idea, a screen play, a pilot, and finally a series. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a long journey and along the way there are many turns that ultimately change what was good and pure into and show that production people feel would be best for ratings. Oh how wrong they so often are...
True Blood is an example of a creative concept that has developed into one of the poorest story lines, worst acting, and silliest subplots as anything in recent television history. Its international cast of relatively unknown actors struggle to find their voices but keep tripping over their fake southern accents. Alan Ball's not so secret desires for Ryan (Jason Stackhouse) gives us a fresh nude shot each week although it often has nothing to do with the storyline. Tara's angry black woman characterization fails to connect and you find yourself secretly hoping the vamps take her out quickly before she goes into another speech about white suppression while attend a ceremony for the Glorious Dead of the Confedercy. Sam finds suppressed love for Sookie and suddenly we are to believe he needs to watch over her morning, noon, and night despite years of working with her and avoiding any such relationship.
As for Bill the Vampire, his moral high ground is quickly surrendered at the first chance to make love with Sookie and has no issue with make a quick snack of her (although she remains somewhat unharmed). We find the other vampires not so mainstream as Bill but greatly desiring to become accepted by a public as they look at the living as Happy Meals with legs.
Despite my best efforts of suffering through the first six episodes, I have come to the realization that no matter how long you watch a bad show, its still bad. Somethings die for a reason, even vampires. Maybe this show should to.
so, i read everyone else's reviews. it seems that if you are a
Buffy/Angel fan, then you will more than likely loathe this series.
otherwise, there's a chance you will really dig it. that is, provided
lots of sex, especially really creepy sex doesn't freak you out.
let's start with the credits. i haven't seen credits that i actually enjoyed watching since the end credits of se7en. yes, the credits are weird. and cool.
the acting, look, cast, and score are top notch. the first two episodes left me clearly conflicted. not to be confused with dear departed dexter (another killer series). i was drawn in, turned on. and for some reason really freaked out. all at the same time. excellent.
i just bought the first 3 books...and i'm nearly finished with the first. well done, creators of true blood! well done, chick that wrote the southern vampire series!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After watching some of HBO's great stuff - Band of Brothers, Rome, etc.
- I must say I had pretty high expectations before watching the first
episode of "True Blood". Jeez. Often the script seemed to be written by
an 8-year-old, some parts are just horribly filmed, (The scene in which
she "saves" Bill, I mean come on. She throws a chain at the guy and ow!
it goes around his neck and it magically chokes him! That was pretty
embarrassing if you want my opinion. Or a few moments before that
scene, when she finds out that the couple is gone with Bill,
ridiculous. She hears them plan their stuff, and like 5 seconds later,
magic! The 3 of them are gone, and without any struggle or noise or
I mean the idea of the show seemed interesting, mysterious, intriguing, vampires co-existing with human in our modern society... but honestly I don't think they really wanted to make more of this than a petty soap show, that the average teen girl watches all the time but that nobody else cares about... Unfortunately, the script is written poorly, mediocre at best. It's shallow and extremely predictable. Often I thought that this was some kind of a joke or something.
The actors deliver really unconvincing performances, if you want my opinion. They seem to take the show very lightly, as if it were some kind of a regular, low budget family TV show (well maybe thats what it is, if you take away the family part). The only actor that seemed somewhat good to me was Stephen Moyer in the role of Bill, considering the poorly written, extremely short replies he had to say "What are you..." "Can I give you a call sometime...", I think he did good in bringing out the somewhat mysteriously scary part of a vampire that anyone with a vampire role must have, actually. Anna Paquin was okay as well, but not more. But the guy, playing her brother though, jeez, he's horrible. The scene in which he gets arrested is just simply a shame to modern television. The acting is bad, the construction site looks fake to the bone, and the two other guys "Why is he getting arrested? Uh.. I dunno..." That was pretty embarrassing.
Another thing that I think was completely missed was the way they presented Sookie's psychic powers. They make us hear what people think AND speak both at the same time and thats just wrong. Often it just seems unnecessarily chaotic, as if people's thought were some sort of an annoying radio channel, and that when she comes close to em she hits the right frequency level and has to hear everything that they think.
And finally, the sex scenes are just plainly unnecessary and that vampire sex tape thing was just totally disgusting.
Don't get me wrong - I wrote all these comments not because I thought the show was BAD, but because I was very disappointed. I expected quality stuff. I didn't think it was going to be like that. It's definitely not a GOOD show though. Mediocre at best.
A great TV show, I love the genre of horror and supernatural, and this is a different take on the vampire legend. The acting is superb and the story keeps you intrigued right up till the finally. These are some great cameo's and I'm hooked. I can not wait for the second season to start in June, their is a couple of slow episodes, but isn't their always to these shows, just like dexter lost and heroes great with a few bad episodes but is a must watch. the main characters are played fantastic as is all of the supporting cast. I hope that this doesn't get axed as some TV series do, like carnival which I was enjoying. But do watch you won't be disappointed
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This show had a lot of hype but I didn't know about it until the
midseason (season 1). Someone even recommended the show to me. But I
decided that if I was going to watch it, I was going to wait until the
end of the season so I could watch it in bulk. Due to the show's
format, I'm happy I waited. I imagine it would have been fairly
annoying have nearly every episode end in the middle of some cliff
hanger then have to wait another week to find out what happens in the
next second of the story.
Somehow, this show has managed to throw in too much sex. Jason will have sex with pretty much anything that moves. Right after he finds out that one woman he had sex with was killed, he's in bed with another woman the next night! Then Tara and Sam get it on, despite each of them knowing that Sam is in love with Sookie. And for some reason, Sookie gets mad when she later finds out about it--even though she's sleeping with a vampire. One of the problems with the show, is that it doesn't do a good job of making you care about the characters. I really didn't care for Jason at all. Along with his endless pursuit of tale, he was rude to the people who actually were concerned for him. After a few episodes, I wouldn't have minded if he got killed somehow. For that reason, I was for the most part uninterested in the murders until Sookie's Grandmother became a victim (since the first two were more closely involved with Jason).
Then once Sookie and Bill have sex, the story gets a few more subplots. Tara's mother wants an exorcism, then the exorcist lady tries to convince Tara that she should have one to remove her own demon. I wasn't so much bothered by the whole exorcism thing as I know there are some people who really believe in that stuff. However, they waste little time in showing that is it a farce right after Tara spends about $1300 on exorcisms for her and her mother. At other points, some of the developments happen too fast. Jason continues being a jerk, trying to sell his Grandmother's stuff to buy vampire blood, which apparently is the new crack or something. In his search he finds this girl who will do V (vampire blood) with him. They get high, and within three days fall in love with each other and kidnap a vampire for a constant source of V. Another example is when Bill has to go to a vampire tribunal. He's only gone for two days before Sookie starts to feel abandoned and start to wonder if he thinks "vampire politics" are more important than her.
Subtlety is not this show's strong suit. It doesn't take a genius to figure out something is going on with the local dog. Although my assumption wasn't dead on, it wasn't that much of a surprise. But the finale two episodes was where it really got annoying as it just shoved all the developments in your face as if you couldn't possibly figure the out for yourself. When Tara gets into the car accident, the naked lady's face with the pig is clearly shown, and was easily recognizable when she shows up at the jail for the bailout. As if that wasn't enough, they later show the lady again with the pig at her house. Then it's time to wrap up the murder story. At the end of the penultimate episode, it's revealed that Renee is not who he says he is and most likely is the killer. In the final episode, they shove Renee being the killer in your face. Sookie remarks that it's odd that Renee's thoughts don't have an accent. I thought that was fine, as it adds to Renee being a fraud. But the next scene is full of incriminating evidence against Renee. They show that Renee has the tape of Maudette with the vampire and his fiancée finds a tape in one of Renee's boxes about how to fake a Cajun accent. At this point it was just ridiculous. I mean WE GET IT!!! So blah blah blah stuff happens. Bill almost kills himself while failing to save Sookie, who still manages to kill Renee. They start to set up season 2 by leaving unfinished issues. The naked pig lady and Sam have a history, Lafayette has gone missing and might have been killed. Jason is in the process of being brainwashed into being a religious nut by some anti-vampire church--which makes me care about him even less.
It's almost surprising to see how many people absolutely love this show. I think I just expected this show to be better. I'm interested in seeing what happens in season 2, but if I watch it, I'll most likely wait for the season completion.
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