Directors: Alan Ball, Scott Winant, John Dahl, Michael Lehmann, Daniel Minahan, Nick Gomez, Marcos Siega, Anthony Hemingway, Nancy Oliver
Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley
True Blood is a TV show created by Alan Ball and is based on the books of Charlaine Harris about a young telepathic woman named Sookie Stackhouse who lives in the little town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.
Just two years ago the vampires of the world came out of their coffins and made their presence known to the human race. They hope now that both species can live in peace since synthetic blood called Tru Blood has been created by japanese scientists, making the vampires able to live without feeding on human blood. The vampires are trying to get the same rights as humans which is causing big discussions around the world and a lot of people, especially christians, are against the vampires and consider them evil beings that needs to be destroyed before they will destroy all humans.
All the uproar hasn’t affected Bon Temps very much yet, but that is soon about to change. On one regular night at “Merlotte’s”, the local bar and hangout where Sookie works, a tall and strange vampire enters and sits quietly at one of the tables. Sookie serves the stranger and is instantly attracted and fascinated by this creature. A white trash couple has also set their eyes on this character and Sookie can hear that they are plotting to subdue the vampire and drain his blood. Vampire blood is the ultimate drug and goes for top dollars now. Sookie comes to his rescue and she finds out that she cannot hear the thoughts of vampires, something which attracts her even more to him. She confesses her talents to him and also learns that his name is Bill.
At the same time as Sookie and Bill starts to develop a relationship, Sookie’s brother Jason gets involved with the police as the main suspect of several brutal murders of young females, all of which he has had sexual relationships with. The locals however blame the vampires that have emerged and thinks that they are responsible for the murders. It’s soon made clear that all of these females have had some association with vampires in one way or another, but detective Andy Bellefleur refuses to let Jason off the hook as a suspect.
Bill returns the favor to Sookie by saving her life when she gets attacked by the same people who tried to kidnap him earlier. She is so beat up that he makes her drink his blood to heal and by doing this she will forever be connected to him and he can sense if she is in danger or not. Sookie tries to use her telepathic powers to help her brother out to prevent him from being a suspect in the increasing amount of murders that are occurring around him. This brings her and Bill to a vampire bar called Fangtasia, where she spots or rather is spotted by a viking vampire named Eric.
Later on Eric calls upon Sookie to use her skills to help him find the thief that is taking money out of the bar. She finds out that the thief is one of the bar owners, who then jumps at her and she is again saved by Bill, who kills this vampire. He must pay the price for killing a fellow vampire and while he goes away to have his sentence, he tells Sam Merlotte to look after Sookie. Sam also has a secret that he accidentally reveals to Sookie one night, he is a shapeshifter and can change into whatever animal that he wants to. The closer they get to finding out who the murderer is, the more danger lurks around Sookie and finally she finds out who the killer is… while standing face to face with him.
True Blood is a series filled with blood, naked bodies, comedy, horror and great characters. It’s pretty much the exact opposite to other vampire series that are usually filled with teenagers which are basically drama shows with vampires. This however is for about adults and made for adults. What makes this show work great is all the fun and colorful characters in Bon Temps and the creative dialogue that makes this show constantly fun to watch. All the nudity and sex in it never takes away from the story and just adds to the entertainment. The show also manages to be interesting right away, something which is rare with TV shows in my opinion.
Most of the screen time are given to the character Sookie Stackhouse of course. She is not so smart, a little too naive and curious for her own good, but also got her heart in the right place and is the glue that connects all the other characters together in this city. She is played by the absolutely gorgeous Anna Paquin (Darkness, Trick ‘r’ Treat) who is not the strongest actress on the show, but charms her way through it. Sookie’s relationship with Bill shows both the differences and similarities between humans and vampires. It also gives a lot of “steamy hot romance” for the female viewers. Bill is kind of a boring and a traditional vampire that would fit right in some 90’s horror movie where vampires are portrayed as sad and tragic figures. While he does serve the show as a good example of an honest and good vampire, he does become dull when we are introduced to other more fascinating and fun vampires. He is played by the british actor Stephen Moyer, who up to that point had done mostly TV work and some movies I’m unfamiliar with. Even though I’m not a big fan of the character, he does do a good job with the material he is given and does show that he is a good actor.
Ryan Kwanten (Dead Silence) plays Jason Stackhouse, a high school hero who now is just another guy doing a regular job. When he’s not slacking off at work, he plays the ladies man and has been around most women in Bon Temp by now. He is very self-centered, but is yet a guy we can care about because of his boyish charms that just cannot be denied and the way he seems to get himself in trouble all the time makes him quite enjoyable to watch. Tara Thornton is both his and Sookie’s childhood friend. She is a hard person to get to know, since she tries her best to keep people away from herself. In this season we see her go through her troubles with her alcoholic mother and also her own anger problems. She is the most annoying character of the show and this was a subplot that I didn’t care for at all or saw the point in having here. In the end Tara meets up with a strange character that is bound to be a plot for season two. Tara is played by Rutina Wesley who has done some TV work before this.
Tara’s cousin is Lafayette, a black gay cook at Merlotte’s who also has other part-time activities that bring in extra cash aswell. Lafayette is funny as hell and always have something funny going on. Nelsan Ellis is the guy who plays this character and he does a great job with the part and steals nearly every scene he is in. They did a good job by balancing the humour of the character to not go overboard into a stereotypical funny gay guy, but rather made Lafayette into a funny guy who happens to be gay. The scenes where Lafayette and Jason interacts is absolutely great and we can all hope that they will have more parts together with each other in future seasons.
Sam Merlotte is the owner of the local bar that everyone either works or hangs out at. He has romantic feelings for Sookie, but at the same time sleeps around with Tara. He is also a shapeshifter, a concept that wasn’t very expanded in the first season but is bound to be a more central point in season two. He is otherwise just a regular guy who wants to do the best, but has some personal demons that he has to deal with. Sam is played by well… Sam Trammell (Anonymous Rex, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem). Must be easier when the character you play has the same first name as your real one I guess. Trammell is a competent actor, the character do lack a little in that he seems to be there as an option to Sookie and isn’t very interesting on its own, at least not before he shows that he is a shapeshifter.
Another character that we didn’t get to know vert much is Alexander Skarsgård (Happy End, Kites over Helsinki) as Eric Northman, the owner of the Fangtasia bar and also the vampire sheriff of Area 5. He is the opposite of Bill, he has a brutal presence, speaks rarely and is not phased by the idea of blending in with the humans of the world. Everything he does is calculated and usually done to benefit himself, as you can guess he is indeed swedish.
The show is also filled with fun characters in minor roles that do their part to make this show work so good. Chris Bauer (Face/Off, Snow White: A Tale of Terror) as detective Andy Bellefleur, Carrie Preson (Mercury Rising, The Legend of Bagger Vance) as the waitress Arlene and last but not least Kristin Bauer (Room 302, House Rules) as Eric’s sidekick Pam are some that deserves to be mention since they all add so much to the show even though their parts aren’t big, at least not in this season.
Alan Ball is the guy behind this show and he is familiar with successful TV shows after doing the Six Feet Under show previous to this and also wrote the screenplay to the successful movie American Beauty. He has taken the best pieces of the books and made it into a fascinating and fun world and the show is perfect for HBO which allows nudity and gore. It might also have the best title sequences ever in TV, setting the mood perfectly together with Jace Everett’s “Bad Things” song.
The first season of this hit show basically let’s us get familiar with the setting and the characters. The serial killer plot isn’t particularly interesting or suspenseful. The fascinating aspects are more the characters involved and what will happen next to them. However it is not without flaws. For instance, if a serial killer is murdering several females in this little town, then I would assume that more people would actually care and be scared.
True Blood: Season One sets the premise for a great running TV show and also makes vampires cool again. It’s filled with sex, violence and humour and it’s done well. There are characters that you will enjoy and characters you will dislike, but none that you will feel indifferent about, so it’s really no reason at all not to watch this show. Thumbs up for HBO and Alan Ball for this.