Sunday, October 26, 2008

Season 1 Episode 1
“Strange Love”
Written & directed by Alan Ball

So there’s a whole lotta lustin’—bar owner Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) carries a torch for mind-reading waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin); Sookie’s best friend Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) carries a torch for Sookie’s horndog brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten, whom horrorheads may recall from Dead Silence)—and a whole lotta sexin’—courtesy of the horndog Stackhouse—goin’ on in Alan Ball’s latest HBO offering, True Blood.
There’s also, in case you weren’t aware, vampires here, the show based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.
Yup. HBO’s giving us vampires.

As a pilot, this first taste of the show is fine, certainly not on the level of Six Feet Under’s debut, but an interesting slice of vampiric pop culture nonetheless.
As with Bryan Singer’s approach to the X-Men, Ball uses vampires as metaphors for those prejudiced against by society, while simultaneously casting them in the darker, kinkier shadows of human sexuality.
Yes, they’re currently being put upon and discriminated against, but boy, are they wicked lays!

Now, despite the glib and the snark, I am having fun with True Blood. It may not have the depth and the profundity of Six Feet Under or American Beauty, but it’s got a down-home charm all its own.
And did I mention the sex?

Funnily enough, though I’m digging some of the supporting cast—particularly Wesley; Lois Smith as Granny Stackhouse; J.F. Sebastian himself, William Sanderson, as Sheriff Dearborne; and Chris Bauer as Andy Bellefleur—it’s the leads, Paquin and Stephen Moyer (as vampire Bill), who’ve yet to win me over.
Particularly Paquin, who got a black mark from me a long time ago when she stole the Best Supporting Actress Oscar away from Winona Ryder…
Maybe it’s time for me to forget that slight.
Now if only Paquin would actually come across as genuine and earnest…

On the plus side though, the opening credits, orchestrated to Jace Everett’s “Bad Things,” are a blast…

(Images courtesy of and

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