For years and years I never got what all the fuss about HBO’s hit series “True Blood” was. I watched the very first episode, and though I enjoyed all the nudity, I found some of the information a little, well, a lot, confusing. There seemed to be a lot of unanswered questions, and I just didn’t have the patience to get the answers.
Flash forward to just about a month ago when Season 6 of “True Blood” started airing. We are about 6 episodes in now, and strangely I’m very much into the show, even though I am missing lots of back story. I just like the mystery and fantasy of it, mixed with such titillating eroticism, and a very fun campy goodness. So I decided to go back and watch the series from the beginning and see how I felt. This weekend was all about Seasons 1 & 2, and though I’m not going to rave and say the show is one of the best ever, it does have it’s charms and is really addictive. Here are some general thoughts on the writing, acting and everything else.
Season 1 introduced of all the colorful characters of Bon Temps, Louisiana. You have main character and telepath Sookie Stackhouse, and her manwhore of a brother Jason. There’s Sam, owner of the hang out spot Merlotte’s Bar & Grill, and his employees Arlene, Terry, Big John and the fabulous Lafayette. Tara, Sookie’s best friend and Lafayette’s cousin and a host of other small town folks that aren’t quite ready for the Vampires who have just recently left their coffins and are trying to mainstream themselves with the help of Tru Blood, a human blood substitute that will curb the need for these vamps to feed on human flesh.
Of course, the forbidden is always something people gravitate to. Humans start seeking out vampires to have sex with and bite them (we call them “Fang Bangers”), and there are also people getting high off of Vampire’s blood, a sort of ecstacy-like hallucinogen that people get so addicted to some start to capture and drain Vamps against their will.
I’m sure plenty of you know what happens next. Sookie falls in love with mysterious Vamper Bill Compton, while there is a murder mystery going around town. The entire first season was steeped in that kind of creepy mystery, which resolved itself fine, but it was a bit of a slow season. The acting by everybody is convincing, I think Rutina Wesley as Tara had a great arc in trying to get rid of the demons in her that she feels prevent her from keeping a good man and loving herself. Stephen Moyer is incredibly captivating as Bill, a Vampire who is trying his best not to lose his humanity while resisting his monstrous temptations. Season 1 was a good start, but if I did continue on with the show back than I know I would have been hooked and anticipating the follow up season as the first seasons cliff-hanger (and the new characters introduced) really intrigued me.
Luckily Season 2 was a lot better than the first. Not only do we as viewers know more about the characters and the vampire culture, but it seemed like the writers got a nice sense of humor. There were basically two major plot lines this season, which seemed to indulge in a sort of campy nature which was perfectly balanced between the drama, horror and sexiness that the show always maintains. I also felt like this season paced itself so well (although, two or three episodes are sometimes the equivalent of about one day in ‘True Blood’ world). I think the Mary Anne plot line was wonderfully done, not only was her hypnotising the entire town of Bon Temps funny but it was very creepy and somewhat scary at the same time. And the resolution of this storyline was beautiful, tragically gory and hilarious.
In Season 2 we got more of a taste of Eric Northam, the Vampire sheriff of the area who had only about 3-4 episodes in Season 1. Eric is a great character because he’s so shifty, at one moment you want to think of him as a good Vampire with a heart, but there are some tricky moves that he pulls that give you a totally different impression. There was also the introduction of Godric, Eric’s maker who is over 2,000 years old. Eric’s “origin” story was amazing and hopefully we’ll get to know more about their history together in the following seasons.
Another great character was introduced at the end of Season 1 when Bill was forced to “make” a helpless Christian girl Jessica. She was hilarious once she found out she wasn’t going to have to live under the restrictions of her mortal father. However taming Jessica was a bit of a task for Bill, but the character is great, and though I feel she was underutilized in the season, her budding relationship with local boy Hoyt was too sweet for words. A sort of demented Puppy Love story.
Season 2 seemed a little more thought out than Season 1, although the cliff hanger was a little lackluster. Even than, I can’t wait to go and buy Season 3 and continue watching. There’s some really interesting stuff in this world of Bon Temps, and some really amazing characters that will keep me coming back. Season Six is going along quite nicely, and I believe it’s nearly over, but I’m pretty sure I can get Seasons 3-5 down before the finale and I’ll be all caught up. And this is probably coming at a time where many have abandoned the “True Blood” ship, but better late than never right?
(YouTube video coming soon)