Not long ago, I thought the best thing ever made for television was the “Six Feet Under” series, but then along came “True Blood,” created (not surprisingly) by the same guy, Alan Ball. These are loosely taken from the Sookie Stackhouse stories written by Charlaine Harris, and since I discovered the series last year I’ve read the books too, and really I like the show better.
Sookie is played by Oscar winner Anna Paquin. She has this odd ability to read people’s minds, except for this mysterious stranger, Bill Compton, played by steamy Stephen Moyer, who also happens to be a vampire.
You see, this is a world where the vampires have suddenly “come out of the casket” because the Japanese invented a synthetic “Tru Blood” serum that keeps the undead from feeding on their human counterparts. So now they’re trying to live among the populace, but they’re finding some resistance. People don’t want them to marry, and some risky people have a fatalistic passion to have sex with a vampire.
Now when I interviewed Ball about this before the show ever debuted, I pushed him about the obvious gay references in the show, because Ball has never been out of his own closet. He claims it’s not deliberate, but Oh! Girlfriend, it’s all over the place, including a sign in front of a church in the opening credits that says “God Hates Fangs.”
Anyway, I love it. It’s erotic, it’s sexy, it’s mysterious and mildly campy. There’s the dumb hunky brother of Sookie’s played by Ryan Kwanten, the wisecracking best friend played by Rutina Wesley, and an even more fantastic character named Lettie Mae Thornton played by Adina Porter, who’s career I’ve been following since she did weird indie films.
The five-DVD first season set contains six audio commentaries by the cast, a mock-umentary about vampires, the French and U.S. mock ads about Tru Blood, and public service ads for vampire hotels, vampire dating, and lawyers who help out vampires. If you don’t have HBO, then now’s your chance to discover the series. The new season begins on June 14 at 9 p.m.
Studio/Official Site: www.hbo.com/trueblood
[Mike Szymanski is a Hollywood-based freelance writer and author who has written for “Entertainment Weekly,” “USA Today,” the “Los Angeles Times,” and many websites.]