True Blood Season 1
by Del Harvey
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HBO’s newest series explores the sensational world of Southern vampires. TRUE BLOOD is the brainchild of SIX FEET UNDER creator and Oscar winner Alan Ball. It stars Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse, waitress and vampire lover in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Sookie has her own unique problems, such as being able to hear everyone’s thoughts, which may or may not be what attracts 173-year old vampire Bill Compton; of course he doesn’t look a day over 30. Sookie’s brother Jason is a ladies’ man with a constant need to be in trouble and Sookie often acts as momma as well as baby sister to Jason. Her best friend is tough girl Tara, loyal to the end and pretty, in a hard-as-nails sort of way.
The stories have been adapted from author Charlaine Harris’ series of books the “Southern Vampire Mysteries.” The difference in the adaptation is that HBO’s bent is definitely not angling for the teen audience, as the series is the polar opposite of such drivel as Twilight and features a healthy weekly dosing of profanity, blood, nudity and sexual situations tightly packed into its hour-long episodic form. The result is a more adult and mature form of soap opera, and that’s not by any means a bad thing.
In the very first episode, a murderer haunts the townsfolk, disrupting their daily routine because it targets women who have come into contact with vampires. Of course, Sookie is endangered once she meets her new neighbor, the aforementioned ancient vampire in a young stud’s body. Of course, Sookie notices the body first; it’s that kind of show.
By the third episode - “Mine” - Bill announces that he has some sort of power over Sookie and, she, of course, believes him, even if she says she doesn’t. As it turns out, Bill was just saying this so that he could fool the other vampires into thinking she’s already under his spell.
Season 2 has just begun on HBO. If you like vampires, were disappointed in Twilight, or just like a program aimed at adults which doesn’t feel like you’re being pandered to, then check out True Blood.
The True Blood DVD box set includes all 12 season-one episodes spread across five discs. Special features include six audio commentaries with cast and crew, a faux documentary examining the integration of vampires into the human world, “Tru Blood” beverage ads extolling the wonders of the synthetic blood imbibed by discerning vamps in the show, Public Service Ads by the human coalitions on both side of the Vampire Rights Amendment debate, as well as vampire-centric product ads for a variety of essential goods and services.
True Blood: The Complete First Season is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download on May 19th, 2009.
Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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