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November 1, 2014

True Blood: Strange Love (series premiere)

by Paul Goebel, posted Sep 8th 2008 1:22PM

Stepehen Moyer(S01E01) True Blood is definitely a show after my own heart. I love any high concept drama that lays out the entire idea in the first five minutes.

In case you didn't get it, here's the short version. Synthetic blood is now available for vampires to buy, therefore they no longer need to kill to survive. So, as a society, they decide to live out in the open and are met with the kind of fear and skepticism that you'd expect.

The great part of the show is that unlike ethnic groups that are defined by their race, vampires exist in every society all around the globe. In a way, the whole thing can be viewed as a comment on the difficulty of being a homosexual in today's world.

On first look, I can't help but think that this may be the perfect TV show. It combines the brilliance of Alan Ball, the hotness of Anna Paquin, the mystique of vampires and the innate humor of the deep south to make a very intriguing program.

Like Ball's other show, Six Feet Under, one of the best parts of the show is the supporting characters. The people who wander in and out of the lives of Sookie Stackhouse and her friends are always interesting to watch.

One twist of the show is that vampire blood is a much sought after commodity. So not only are vamps persecuted and discriminated against, they are often hunted and drained by addicts and dealers.

What I particularly liked about the show is the setting. By placing the action in Louisiana, Ball is able to parallel the plight of the vampire with a host of other minorities all at the same time. The little town of Bon Temps is a melting pot of black, white, gay, fat and every other kind of group that has ever felt persecuted.

As one would expect, the show is much more than just a vampire circus. In this first episode, Sookie's brother Jason gets carried away and strangles a girl during sex. He, of course, blames it on vampires since he has seen video of her copulating with the undead. Unfortunately, he's not smart enough to realize that there is also videotape of him losing control and taking the woman's life. When the law comes after him, it's not only a great twist, but it's also great to see William Sanderson and Chris Bauer back on series TV.

One more twist is that Sookie happens to be able to read minds. Not only does this make her special compared to the rest of her friends but it gives her a real reason to be attracted to Bill, her first vampire, since he's the one person who's mind she can't read.

Giving the lead character special powers causes True Blood to resemble Buffy a little too much, but considering how fans of that show are still moaning it's demise, they will probably welcome Ball's vampire tale with open arms. The writing makes it clear that the world is not inhabited by a host of other monsters like Sunnydale. It's only vampires. The other striking difference is, of course, the location.

Overall, the show has plenty of what it takes to build an audience and I know that I am definitely a fan.

Is True Blood too much like Buffy?
Yes49 (6.0%)
No765 (94.0%)

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Nate

I love watch True Blood and we are starting the 4th season on the 26th which I'm really excited about. I have more good news for all you True Blood lovers. DISH Network customers can now take TV on the go anywhere in the world using DISH's sling technology to mobile devices like Laptops, Smartphone’s and Tablets. A co-worker of mine at DISH has the 922 DVR that has sling built in and is 3D compatible that will allow you to do this. Check out this cool link I found http://goo.gl/Qsggz.

June 01 2011 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andyjoe

I thought it was ok. I loved the concept and the setting, but some of the characters seem to me like they will get old, and I wasnt impressed by the acting or dialog.
I just wasnt enthralled in the show, it was good, but not great. Not overly excited to see more.

October 01 2008 at 11:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bubba2

Can ANYONE tell me who sings that song: "I wanna do bad things with you"???? Is it available in MP3??? THANKS!!

September 18 2008 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chadwick hansford

Well, first few minutes I thought I was watching a B movie. The whole vampires are living with humans bit takes a lot out the mystery. Acting was average at best. I don't live in the south but I noticed the accent was over played. I think this show will be a flop. Will watch one more episode but if this is the plot and direction they are going with than I will pass. Very lame, very disappointing.

September 12 2008 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nattyff

it was good

September 09 2008 at 10:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jen

The accents really got me. Seriously. Other than that, I'll continue to give it a shot - I really like the series.

The Tara that was in the pilot was better than the Tara in the first episode. Crappy Southern accents aside (on both of them), she seemed less of a caricature.

September 09 2008 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alicia

I wasn't all that impressed.... Will I stop watching the ABC hit show at 9 for it? Eh... that is to be seen. I will watch it next week though... it's got me hooked that much.

September 09 2008 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Kosmicki

I can take the sex element -- it's there in the books, just not in the foreground -- but the language threw both my wife and I. I know it's HBO, but that doesn't mean that they have to be quite so full of profanity, especially when they have Sookie calling people out for talking nasty.

Given the pace of the first episode, Alan Ball has the potential for a long running series. At this pace, the entire first year will be the first book -- this is potentially a good thing, as the books get better at least until the next to last one, which was noticeably weaker than the others (but the most recent is back up to form).

and I have to add to the earlier comment -- a LOT of what people are crediting to Alan Ball is there in the original books. But Ball is pushing the homosexuality angle harder, including the portrayal of Lafayette.

September 09 2008 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mahoney

I loved this first episode. I'm a fan of the books, and I thought they did a great job of bringing the essence of the books to life while taking advantage of the visual medium. Best part of the show: Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are unbelievably perfect as Sookie and Bill. (Also, Stephen Moyer is *hot* as Bill, which is not a bad thing at all.)

The comparison to Buffy in this review surprised me, though. I suppose it shouldn't have, since it seems that fen of tv vampires tend to be surprised that there are vampire stories out there that have nothing whatsoever to do with Buffy or Joss Whedon; but given the ways in which this first episode correlated with the book series, and given the visual elements, the tone, and pretty much everything about it, I'm thinking that it won't take long for anyone but the die-hard Whedonites to recognize that this show is miles distant from Buffy, and in really, really good ways.

September 09 2008 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
xillip

I was pleasantly surprised. I am a big Buffy fan and happy to see that this is not just another knock off. I happen to live in Louisiana and found the characterizations hysterical. I know people who fit everyone of those southern stereotypes. However Tara was a bit grating at times. She seems to be very intelligent, but most likely is extremely frustrated at being stuck in that little podunk town. Also, all the characters call the town Bon Temps, but the closed captioning says Benton which is a real town about 10 minutes from me in North Lousiana. I'm in Shreveport.

September 09 2008 at 8:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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