'True Blood' Review: A New Chapter for Vampires
'True Blood' Review: A New Chapter for Vampires
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
True Blood, premiering tonight at 9pm on HBO, is a completely different kind of vampire story. We've all seen the dark and sexy Anne Rice version, the heroic, moral Angel and the underground vamp society on Moonlight. In the world of True Blood, vampires are out in the open, no longer afraid to make their presence known to the world at large.

It's an interesting concept, and the execution of the series is just as fascinating. True Blood mixes horror, drama, comedy, sex and all other genres in an occasionally uneven but always entertaining show. Few shows can go from jokes about vampires “coming out of the coffin” to some fairly graphic rough sex to a brutal assault in a single episode. But if you're willing to let creator Alan Ball take you into his dark, twisted, sometimes funny world, True Blood is the perfect escape.

In the pilot, we meet Sookie (Anna Paquin), a waitress at Merlotte's, a Louisiana dive bar. She's a bit smarter than everyone around her, most likely because she can hear people's thoughts. However, her psychic abilities are useless against the bar's first ever vampire customer, Bill (Stephen Moyer). Bill is everything you'd expect a vampire to be: dark, brooding and kind of sexy. Moyer follows admirably in the footsteps of David Boreanaz and Alex O'Loughlin before him.

Sookie's sidekick is Tara (Rutina Wesley), a rude, loud-mouthed ball of sass who prides herself on not taking any guff from anyone. Tara helps out tending bar at Merlotte's which is run by Sam (Sam Trammell), a protective guy who obviously wants to be more than just friends with Sookie.

Sookie's brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) is a troublemaker who has no problems sleeping with any available (or unavailable) woman he can find. In the pilot, Jason gets into some serious trouble with the law after his fling, Maudette, is found strangled to death. If that weren't bad enough, Maudette videotaped their night of very rough sex.

The reason to watch True Blood isn't the characters, but the vampire mythology. The concept of vampires living in the open, unafraid to let mortals know they exist, is fascinating, and the show's biggest strength is it's ability to create a wonderful vampire culture. There are lobbyists in Washington fighting for vampire rights, women who enjoy having sex with vampires (called fangbangers), and a black market where humans sell V-Juice, aka vampire blood.

True Blood therefore has the ability to use vampire culture as a metaphor for whatever they want. Vampires can stand in for any minority group, be they African-Americans from the Civil Rights Movement or, for today's world, homosexuals. It's not particularly original (X-Men has been using mutants as gay allegories for years), but the blending of sex, violence and comedy in True Blood makes it a show unlike anything else.

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of HBO)