Sunday, September 7, 2008

True Blood Premier Quenches Thirst for New Programming

The new Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) series premiered on HBO tonight and it definitely has potential. Set in a steamy Louisiana Bayou small town, True Blood is the spawn of Peyton Place and Twin Peaks with a dash of Buffy. It's funny, quirky, very sexy and extremely far fetched. Based on the best selling Southern Vampire books by Charlaine Harris, True Blood supposes that vampires are just another misunderstood ethnic group. They are coming to your neighborhood, and there's nothing to fear because they can drink a synthetic substitute for human hemoglobin now (Tru-Blood) that comes in 6 packs down at your local 7-11. There are rural parts of southern Louisiana that still don't take kindly to New Yorkers, liberals and people of color, so the fact that the little backwater town of Bon Temps is OK with the undead as their new neighbors is high fantasy indeed.

The characters are interesting enough so far. Our hero is Sookie (Anna Paquin) a waitress who reads people's thoughts and has a charming space between her teeth. In the pilot, she comes to the rescue of Bill the vampire (Stephen Moyer), a fetching pale dude who is 173 years young but looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch model. One of Sookie's co-workers is LaFayette, a trannie who lusts after all the chubbie Bubbas who come to the bar for a beer. The fact that no one beats he-she to a pulp is another clue that we are in fantasy land. One must not so much suspend disbelief as tear it off and stomp on it until it is dead. Or undead, as the case may be.

This is a very lively show and I was never bored or distracted for a second. The vampires are especially interesting in an aloof, non-emotional way. Sort of like Vulcans with fangs. I do have one major complaint, but it's very fixable. I hope they take the Southern accents down about 3 or 4 notches. It is extremely annoying and it makes me queasy when they lay the corn pone on with a trowel. Like a bowl of friend okra left out in the sun too long. Please get some voice coaches on to the set and teach these nice looking Californian, Australian, British actors to speak the real language of South Louisiana. For starters, the Cajun people don't pronounce "cher" (a term of endearment) like the name of that aging pop star. It's more like "Cha". Maybe Mr. Ball and the entire cast could go spend some time in New Orleans and pick up the local patois. Nola (post Katrina) could use the boost from some on-location money.

Final verdict on True Blood? It's one we can all sink our teeth into. (Sorry!). I'll definitely be back for more.


Lisa said...

I fell asleep a bit during the preem -- no reflection on the show, it's just me -- but I look forward to re-watching this week. I liked what I saw, but boy, I did feel way out of the demo! :-)

Great review -- makes me want to watch it right away!

Jane said...

I pretty much feel "out of the demo" with everything these days. Try working on the Internet for feeling "out of the demo", by the way. After doing that post for the VMA's on MTV, I lasted approximately 3.5 minutes watching the actual show before I said I'm outta here.

But didn't you just love Entourage? You know what I love best about that show? It reminds me of when Hollywood used to be fun.