Bloody good, truly

August 11, 2009 at 5:23 am Leave a comment

Why do I love True Blood? Because Sookie Stackhouse has gumption, because Bill Compton is sexy and because Tara is such a victim it’s funny. Sam is so good-hearted I want to scratch his belly, and don’t get me started on Lafayette. My favourite character by far. Well, Amy was pretty cool too, but if you’ve watched the first season you’ll know why I’m using past tense.

The TV series witnesses the return of Allan Ball to the silver screen. I was, like many people, a huge fan of Six Feet Under, and was curious to see if he could come up with something equally amazing. But trying to compare True Blood to Six Feet Under is like comparing figs with elephants. It doesn’t work.

Well OK, maybe they’re not quite so far removed as fruit and pachyderm. After all, Ball does dive into the familiar topics of death and sex. But this time the characters aren’t repressed emotionally. No, this is a world of characters who cannot help but give into their emotional impulses. Sookie’s brother Jason is most emblematic of this. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and shows off his (admittedly muscular) body in the throes of love in almost every episode. The topic of family is also front and center in this TV whodunnit. As far as families go, I’m probably not the only person who wishes that I had a grandmother as cool as Sookie’s. Although I wouldn’t wish her fate on anyone. There I go again, getting ahead of myself.

Even the credits are a joy to watch–they combine spirituality, sexuality and luscious Louisana colours, and fit perfectly with the series’ catchy theme song “Bad Things” by Jace Everett. (Trivia: Ball apparently used the song as a placeholder until he could find a more suitable song. He even commissioned songs but none felt right. So “Bad Things” stayed. Frankly I couldn’t imagine a better song for the series).

Most of the action centers around Merlotte’s, the town bar, the town being Bon Temps (French for “good times”). Merlotte’s is owned by Sam Merlotte, a good-natured man who is hopelessly in love with his waitress Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie has an unusal gift that makes her somewhat of a freak and also makes it very hard for her to successfully date men. Which is why she avoids them, mostly, until a mysterious vampire enters the picture. Bill Compton isn’t like most vampires. He’s smart, funny, handsome and surprisingly committed to “mainstreaming”. That’s what the vampires call it when they try to function in regular human society. Not all vampires are so keen to fit in. “Mainstreaming” has become possible thanks to the invention of a synthetic blood which now means that vampires can subsist without drinking the blood of humans. The only downside, however, is that the blood tastes like crap compared to the real thing. And many (if not most) vampires would rather drink the real thing.

Aside from the vampires climbing “out of the coffin” the world of Bon Temps has also been shaken by a number of murders. The victims are mostly young women who have had intercourse with vampires. The two town sherrifs go about town in search of answers but they each have their own ideas of who the culprit might be. In fact, most everyone in town has a theory. In the meantime, love blossoms between Sookie and vampire Bill, to the horror of many in Bon Temps. Where will it all end?

If you haven’t seen this gem yet, go rent it. You won’t be sorry. As for me, gnnnggg I’m holding on for season two to come out on DVD. I mean really, how can one not like a series that features dialogue like this:

Eddie: I bought this specially for you. I remember you said you “go for Merlot”.

Lafayette: I said I worked at Merlotte’s. But whatever…

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Entry filed under: Film & Television.

On transitioning In remembrance

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