While the energy generated by vampire fiction is hardly unique these days, ‘True Blood’ manages to be something of its own. The character portrayals and specifications, from Lafayette’s red nail polish to the décor of Merlotte’s, are exceptional. Alan Ball, creator of HBO’s brilliant ‘Six Feet Under,’ is one of the creative minds behind ‘True Blood.’ Obviously no stranger to the macabre, Ball’s interest was peaked when he came upon the novels of Charlaine Harris in a Barnes and Nobles. Harris has been writing the novels that ‘True Blood’ bases itself off of since 2001 and already had many offers to turn her books into TV or film. She obviously picked the best candidate with Ball, as he brings a decided maturity as well as a dark sense of irony that the books themselves sorely lack. The books are easily digested fiction that you simply cannot put down, but the show is something a little more complicated. This really is achieved through its acceptance of the dark and scary notion of vampires; they are not a sugarcoated topic on the show.
‘True Blood’ shows a world where the things that go bump in the night, mainly vampires (but oh so much more), have come to light (not literally) and want to be recognized, all civil rights included. The show takes place in the tiny southern town of Bon Temps, where Vampire rights is an exceptionally hot topic. Local barmaid Sookie Stackhouse, played by Paquin, takes the town by storm when she forms an attachment to its oldest resident, Vampire Bill Compton. A little strange herself, Sookie happens to be telepathic, she and Bill fall in love, putting the whole town on edge and ruffling the feathers of many.
‘True Blood’ manages to keep its standards while at the same time drawing on old vampire stereotypes through the novelty of high drama. This is best achieved through the personage of Vampire Bill, played by Stephen Moyer. He is very often the suffering romantic in the show. This is shown through his old worldliness, his southern genteelness, and his unswerving devotion. Bill manages to hug these stereotypes while at the same time weaving campy pop culture into the mix. Vampire Bill has a wii, enough said. This concoction is ‘True Blood’ at its best, a smart and savvy show that at the same time is able to make fun of itself for its very content.
The unfolding relationship between Sookie and Bill is worth watching because of the fusion of old world vampire thrall with modern day issues, and a current sense of humor. Sookie is very modern and the epitome of youth. She likes to suntan and has a perpetual smile on her face. Her sense of humor clashes beautifully with Bill’s Civil War era notions of courtesy. The sparks fly as these two try and figure each other out. Both Bill and Sookie have many sides and do not embody one emotion or trope. Paquin’s Sookie is sometimes vulnerable and sweetly naïve, but she is also sometimes tough as nails and wielding a shovel. Paquin is able to portray her as innocent, while at the same time showing her as (literally) clairvoyant and all knowing, a true connoisseur of human (and non-human) emotion. Paquin’s Sookie is a social butterfly, and at the same time, a total outcast. Like Moyer, Paquin excels at such a multifaceted portrayal.
Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer have enjoyed the shows great success with Paquin taking home a golden globe (to keep her Oscar company). With the first two seasons a success, HBO confirmed that True Blood would be renewed for a third season, due to begin shooting on December 3, 2009. The show as a whole is incredibly strong, with engrossing plotlines and brilliant supportive roles. Paquin and Moyer are actually a real life couple, and recently got engaged. This is an obvious source of delight for ‘True Blood’ lovers and personally I cannot wait to see those wedding photos.