Thanks to all the promos for Season 2 of the vampire drama True Blood, I thought it was worth checking out the first season on DVD. After all, I liked the Twilight series. And I loved Buffy. I have no qualms, in other words, with the human-vampire love story.
I don’t really consider myself a naive person (wait. Does any naive person think they’re naive? Hmmm) but still, I don’t have HBO as part of my luxury cable package, choosing instead to wait patiently for their original programming to be avail on DVD and then just shuffle through all of the episodes in one sitting.
And Jesus, what a difference a cable provider makes. After months and months of tame Cybil reruns and digging through five seasons of network-friendly Alias, I have to say that the rampant sex and blood-spillage took a little getting used to. (Note to HBO: we get it. You can swear and show boobs. Message received.)
With that being said, the show is grisly but interesting. Set in a backwoods town in Louisiana, they do a good job of providing the Gothic edge that a lot of recent vampire fiction (other than Anne Rice novels) tends to shimmy away from. And why do they do that? Possibly because making a vampire a redeemable romantic lead is difficult to begin with, without laying on the macabre.
What I find most interesting (and I’m still only about seven episodes in) is the contrast between Anna Paquin and the rest of the town. The long, blonde hair, the angelic flowered dresses, the purity of heart- it’s kind of like Alice falls into the coffin and is having trouble deciding whether she should climb out of it or put up some curtains.
The mind-reading thing, however, is by far my favorite part of the show (I’m such a sucker for that stuff), because they really use it to inform Sookie Sackhouse’s personality, instead of tacking it on as a mere quirk. Why is Sookie a virgin until she meets vampire Bill? Because every time she’s on a date, she hears every explicit thought about what that date wants to do with her (or to Jake Gyllenhaal, as the case turns out to be with one closet case). Why do the towns people act so coldly to her? Because she’ll spontaneously call them out for their parade of nasty thoughts (and Jesus, these people are TERRIBLE. The nasty thoughts never end). Why does she like Bill so much? Because she can’t hear his brain working overtime on how to get into her pants. For that matter, she can’t hear anything. Leading Sookie to consider Bill some kind of refuge, a safe haven. It’s logical and it works, plot-wise.
The fact that Bill gives me the creeps and is kind of low in the sexy-factor is disappointing but whatever. Sookie is interesting enough for the both of them.
My breakout favorite (so far)?
Lafayette- resident drug lord, short-order cook, sex-crazed, and Gothic queen extradordinaire. He’s brilliantly crude (he has a web cam in the bathroom- ew), funny, sharp and such a bitch. If I were stuck in that town, I know where I’d hang out every night.