True Blood Season 1 – A Review by Film Nerd

Created by: Alan Ball

Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Chris Bauer, Nelsan Ellis, Jim Parrack, Carrie Preston, Michael Raymond-James, Alexander Skarsgard, Kristin Bauer, Lizzy Caplan

Synopsis: Based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, this popular HBO series follows the story of Telepath Sookie (Paquin) with vampire Bill (Moyer).   In this reality, vampires have revealed their existence to the world, especially as the blood supplement Tru Blood is now available, meaning they no longer need to drain humans.   This is no series for the Twilight set.    Lets put it this way… these vampires do not sparkle!!

A review by Film Nerd.
When I am not marathoning Smallville, and when my darling bride is not in the house, I settle down to watch this series that has certainly grabbed my attention for many reasons.   This is the type of series that does not let you settle down and rely on certain elements or certain characters all being consistently normal.   It almost seems that as a result of vampires “Mainstreaming”, every other type of mystical creature gets an appearance, and most of the time these people reveal themselves in unique ways (usually to provide a juicy end of episode cliffhanger).

As with any starting series, the early episodes get through a lot of exposition, and as such early on the drama is a little limited, though remaining intriguing enough to keep the viewer involved.   Paquin’s Sookie is immensely likeable, presenting an interesting blend of outward naivety, yet often showing internal strength.   She is her own person, and that will never change.   It will not change for a serial killer that seems to be targeting her, nor will she change for any vampire, boyfriend or not.   This brings me to Moyer.   When you have a character like Sookie, Bill Compton is a little too bland often standing next to her.   Being a long-term Buffy watcher, I have seen the moody vampire with a heart before, and the routine is a little old.   There is more to the character than this, but we only start to glimpse this later in the season with some hints to Bill’s past, as well as seeing how his lifestyle conflicts at times with the larger vampire community.

What also keeps the series interesting is the raft of more minor players that all give the community of Bon Temps a real colour.   Kwanten is brilliant as Sookie’s confused brother, Rutina Wesley is a bit annoying as best friend Tara, but her character has enough back story to give her actions a real authenticity.   Tara’s cousin Lafayette is a scream as the gay cook at Merlotte’s, the bar where Sookie works.   Which brings me to Sam Merlotte, the owner of the bar and Sookie’s infatuated boss.   Sure, he fills the role of third corner of the love triangle, but he has his own twisted history that gives the character greater dimension than that.   I can talk forever on all the other yet more minor players, but I should reserve a mention for Skarsgard’s Eric Northman.   He is the vampire that holds all the cards in his sector.   Every word is delivered calmly yet is imbued with a hint of menace.   When he is introduced, the series truly steps up to a new level.

Amid all the numerous characters, interweaving storylines, and all the nudity, sex, and gore for which the series first became noticed, there is introduced many themes that are also relevant to modern society.   One cannot help but see the distrust with which the majority of the Bon Temps community views vampires without seeing parallels to the racism or homophobia one may see in a more red-neck community.   They are in a world of ignorance and fear making them lash out at the unknown.   The fact the series also has prominent African-American characters, and one of them blatantly homosexual to boot, really gives these parallels a chance to become obviously prominent.

The season ends as many do with many questions unanswered, and the intrigue is definitely there to see what happens next.   The true mark of any successful series, no matter what the genre.

4 stars out of 5

True Blood on IMDB

Season 1 trailer [youtube=]

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