After watching King of Queens, Friends, Six Feet Under, Scrubs, Dexter, the entire Star Trek series, Desperate Housewives, Battlestar Galactica and Jekyll (still need to blog on those ones!), I now found a new, really interesting series, that, at least in Germany is pretty unknown. It’s called “True Blood”, and it’s written by “Alan Ball”, who wrote the movie “American Beauty” and the series “Six Feet Under”. Producer is HBO, who is famous for quite some quality series (such as “Six Feet Under”). In America it’s aired since September 2008, in Germany the first season was aired in May 2009, on the private pay-tv channel 13th Street. Only yesterday they started airing the the second season. A third one is been produced (starting December 2009) and will be aired in the USA this year, rumors on a fourth season were confirmed by Ball (probably 2011). Each episode is approximately an hour long, and normally ends with a really nasty cliffhanger.
In Japan scientists managed to create totally synthesized blood, originally for medical purposes. This lead to the revelation of the vampires, who since then lived secretly among us. But as they don’t need to feed on humans anymore, they decided to become part of our society, founding the Vampire League, fighting for equal rights for Vampires. The appearance of Vampires of course also lead to a new industry, selling bottled synthetic blood as drink under the trademark “Tru:Blood”. But of course, life isn’t as easy as that. While there are a lot of television debates on wether or not to accept Vampires as equal beings, there’s a huge Anti-Vampire movement – fanatics that call themselves the “Fellowship of the Sun”. But also many Vampires are not happy with the arrangements – they dislike the taste of synthetic blood and see themselves superior beings and therefore would rather see the humans as their slaves that they can control and feed on. A third fraction hunts Vampires for their blood, as it does not only have healing powers, but also makes them better sexual performers and because of it’s intoxicative and hallucinogenic effects is also consumed by many as a drug.
Setting and Opening
The series plays in the fictional village Bon Temps, in Louisiana – a place that doesn’t consist of much more than some houses, a bar, and a lot of forrest – it’s a little, typical conservative redneck town, in the middle of nowhere. This impression is not only given by the setting and the people (who by the way speak one of the most horrible accents I’ve ever heard – I guess it’s Cajun), but also by the opening credits, which gives you an idea about the deeper social problems this series refers to (sex, fanaticism, racism (there’s a short “Ku-Klux-Clan” scene), society problems (“God hates fangs” is a Vampire variation of the slogan “God hates fags” – an anti-gay parol)). There’s a lot of information solely on these Emmy-nominated opening credits.
True Blood’s opening credits
The series story is mainly told by the view of Sookie Stackhouse, a tween that works as a waitress and still lives with her Grandmother (which she did ever-since her parents died). She also has a special “gift” – she is telepathic, meaning she can hear other peoples thoughts. But she herself rather thinks of it as a burden: She doesn’t want to hear the thoughts of other people and therefor has to suppress this effect which takes a lot of energy.
The story starts with her brother being a suspect of murder – a woman that he had sex with, was killed shortly afterwards. We soon find out that this isn’t the only murder – all are connected with Jason Stackhouse (Sookies brother), but they also all have another similarity – they all had sex with a vampire.
At the same time, William Campton moves back to Bon Temps. Bill is a Vampire, who was unwillingly turned during the civil war, while returning to his family, which as Vampire, he eventually never did. He is one of the first Vampires that are seen at Bon Temps, and therefore causes a sensation – especially to Sookie. Now Sookie can’t read his thoughts, which makes her curious about him, but sometimes also quite insecure. After saving Bills live from drug dealers that wanted to drain him off his blood, Sookie and Bill soon develop a relationship, which is quite hard for both sides: Bill is, in this region, one of the more progressive Vampires, who is the only one willing to renounce human blood and live only of Tru:Blood while socializing with the humans. But also the people around Sookie are suspicious and would rather see her keep a distance to the Vampire. Especially Tara, Sookies best friend – and her boss, who, being in love with Sookie for years, sees his chances slip…
Of course, towards the final episodes the secret about the killer is solved, but more than that, also some other secrets are revealed. Still we leave the first season with a really bad cliffhanger, that is another mysterious murder – we just see the legs – but someone that payed a little more attention would still pretty surely recognize him… (I haven’t seen much of the second season yet, so I guess I’ll just stop here 😉 ).
While doing some research for this blog entry, I found out that HBO invested a lot in subtile promotion. You’ve already seen those Tru:Blood advertising posters. There’s also a blog of a Vampire as well as the site of the “Fellowship of the Sun”.
And do you want to buy some Tru:Blood yourself? It was first presented to the public during the Comic Con 2009 (quite some funny comments from some of the actors) in America, and is now available via internet order. There are a lot of videos availiable on different portals, as well as a MySpace site of a Vampire. Wikipedia lists a lot of further promotional activities – I just listed the most interesting ones 😉
Though I am somewhat annoyed by this new Vampire hype that arose around shiny sparkling Edward Cullen, and therefore quite skeptical about all these Vampire love stories that you’ll nowadays get around every corner, I am pretty amazed by this story! Though you wouldn’t see it at first glance, the actors play profound characters, each with it’s own background and problems, that are only revealed in small bits throughout the story. Especially the untypical setting and the rather extraordinary background story make this series to be something rather special. And as it is an HBO production with Allan Ball, it’s quite a quality series. Besides being an unconventional love story, this series mixes fantastic elements of a Vampire story with drama, action, horror, and mystery.
In my opinion a great series that is worth watching, especially if you like Vampires the way they should be (i.e. not walking in the sun, and being glittery and all that stuff).
Because as for now I am the only person I know that watches and loves this series (my girlfriend doesn’t really like it), I’d love to hear some comments form you folks, that also love watching this series. Why do you like it? What do you think of the different characters? I’d be happy to read your opinions.