Thursday, November 13, 2008

True Blood Calling on HBO

Here's a little confession - I watch a fair amount of television, including shows that I love, that I don't review on Infinite Regress or any of my other blogs. That's because, as much as I enjoy blogging, it's sometimes fun just to watch a show, take it in, and not discuss it with anyone except my family. But, sometimes, a show is so good, that I break down and write about it anyway ...

True Blood, now moving into the last few episodes of its first season on HBO, is such a show. I don't usually love or even like vampire stories - too much impossible, illogical fantasy for my tastes. But True Blood (created by Alan Ball of Six Feet Under fame) has taken the vampire story and put it into a very plausible, and therefore, for me, compelling science fiction scenario...

Japan has come up with "True Blood," a chemical concoction, close enough to real human blood, to satisfy a vampire's hunger. Of course, like all food with artificial ingredients, "True Blood" is not as good as the real thing, but it works. And this, in turn, means that vampires can come out of the shadows, and live among humans, because they're not hunting us anymore. But, to say the least, not all vampires and humans are happy about this...

Sookie Stackhouse has a power which, as far we know, has nothing to do with vampires. Ever since she was a little girl, she could read minds. Anna Paquin portrays Sookie, and she's beautiful, innocent, savvy, brave, irresistible. You can understand why any man - vampire or human - would want her, and lots do.

But Sookie mainly loves Bill Compton (well played by Stephen Moyer), a vampire since the end of the Civil War. Unlike most of his kind, he wants to live among humans, and he truly loves Sookie. He'd sacrifice his eternal life for her.

Vampires do live forever in True Blood - unless killed with a wooden stake through the heart, or burned when they sleep - but one of the little joys of True Blood is discovering what in our current vampire lore is not true, or myth, in the True Blood world. Garlic has no ill-effect on vampires, and probably the most interesting myth debunked in True Blood is that one bite can turn a human victim into a vampire. It takes much more...

Other interesting touches include the incredibly stimulating, psychedelic effect that real vampire blood - not "True Blood" - has on humans, which results in a coveted and dangerous drug trade in vampire blood. And portrayal of human prejudice against vampires, especially given that the story takes place in the American South, makes for some astute social commentary.

Add to that all kinds of strange powers lurking in the background, such as shape shifting, a stellar cast including The Wire's Chris Bauer, a perfect theme-song, "Bad Things" by Jace Everett, and you may well also find that True Blood is just your cup of ... well, let's just say, tea.

See also: Penultimate True Blood, Looking for Another Killer

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