Bon Temps, Louisiana, is not the small town it appears to be. Based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, True Blood follows telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) in a world two years after ‘The Great Revelation’ where vampires finally “came out of the coffin” due to the invention of synthetic blood – ‘true blood’.
In walks Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) a mysterious 173-year-old vampire whose presence in Bon Temps is a catalyst for a whole host of weird supernatural events that change this small town forever.
True Blood premiered on HBO seven months after the release of Twilight, when the vampire craze of the late noughties was in full swing. R-rated True Blood, however, offers a dark, sexy, and twisted alternative to the limp vampires that sparkle in the sun. With a high production value, excellent writing, brilliant cast, and a healthy supply of blood and gore, this show was (and still is) the perfect detox to other flimsy portrayals of vampires in contemporary pop culture.
A good example of this would be Pam de Beaufort (Kristin Bauer van Straten) who can be called the ultimate queen of sass: “Maybe I smile too much. Maybe I wear too much pink. But please remember I can rip your throat out if I need to”.
The beauty of True Blood is its ability to tell multiple intertwined stories within the season arc – the cast offers something new each week.
Season One sets up the premise effectively, and is by far the happiest season, with characters at their most comfortable. What follows in subsequent seasons are serial killers, witches, werewolves… and a whole lot of sex, murder and blood.
Seasons Two and Four are arguably the best, with complex and complementary plotlines that show a more sensitive side to certain relationships. After the departure of creator/executive producer Alan Ball (also known for American Beauty and Six Feet Under) at the end of Season Five, the show took a turn for the slightly less reasonable, although the final two seasons are still watchable.
Ultimately, True Blood is endlessly watchable. Like many shows based on books, the writers have a solid foundation of source material on which to build. From this they beautifully balance the intimate smaller plotlines with the overall greater threat, allowing even the smaller characters to feel well rounded and realistic despite the crazy world in which they live.
Image: gracewells533 @ Flickr