A guy walks into a bar and says, “Can I have a bottle of O negative, please?” Nope, no punchline here. In a small southern town called Bon Temps (in Louisiana), a vampire walks into a bar, and asks for blood. Okay, maybe there is a bit of a punchline.
HBO’s latest show, True Blood, is created by Alan Ball, whose previous credits include the hit television show Six Feet Under and American Beauty. The series is based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by best-selling author Charlaine Harris. Anna Paquin (The Piano, X-Men) plays Sookie, a telepathic bar waitress who is magnetically drawn to the new stranger in town—a 173-year-old vampire, Bill Compton. Sookie can’t hear Bill’s thoughts, which is why she likes being with him, and Bill is intrigued by the petite vampire-loving waitress. Their epic romance takes the lead.
Kiss and tell: The love story of Sookie and Bill has its funny moments.
The story so far… The Japanese (but of course) have invented synthetic blood called Tru Blood, which allowed vampires “to get out of the coffin” two years ago, and exist in society without preying on humans. Even though Tru Blood is widely available (and packaged like pints of beer. Cool!) and vampires roam the streets freely, most humans are wary of them. The Church is against their inclusion in society and vehemently opposes the VRA (Vampire Rights Amendment), as seen on televised debates.
The Church vs Vampires is a metaphor of sorts. It’s the Church versus anything different. The VRA could very well be the Gay Rights Amendment. The show’s underlying premise is our fear of the unknown. If people don’t fit into the moral code of the majority, they are not to be trusted and can’t live freely.
Pasty and pale-faced Stephen Moyer is perfect as Bill. Paquin (blonde, skinnier with a southern accent) is less convincing as the only choice for Sookie, but she’ll do. The “love” scenes between Sookie and Bill are long, languorous and a bit forced. They could have done with a snip or two on the editing table. Or they could been included in a more staggered fashion as the plot progressed. Sookie’s brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) is loads of fun, with his endearing dumb-jock expressions and screw-ups. Sookie’s best friend Tara’s (Rutina Wesley) wicked sense of humour and no-nonsense attitude is a respite from all the darkness in the show.
The show has its funny moments. When Tara walks into her house, there is a tabloid on the table that reads—Angelina Adopts A Vampire Baby. We are introduced to True Blood lingo such as mainstreaming—vampires trying to live in mainstream society; fang bangers, people who like to have sex with vampires (all the rage in Bon Temps), and V, vampire blood, a drug for humans which heightens their senses and sexual desire.
This slow, seductive and mesmerizing drama is not about good versus evil. It’s about blurred morality. Vampires are sexy, dark creatures and True Blood is about sex, drugs, and things that lurk in the shadows. Give it some time and get a taste, it’s worth it.
True Blood premieres Sunday on HBO after the 9pm movie.
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