Alan Ball Goes for the Jugular with True Blood

My 18-year-old daughter loves the new vampire drama True Blood, but I’m glad I didn’t watch the first two episodes with her. It’s just not a daddy/daughter experience. The HBO series, from writer/director Alan Ball, premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on The Movie Network and at 8 p.m. on Movie Central.
The series has many of the writing and acting nuances from Ball’s award-winning drama Six Feet Under, but ramps up the blood and sex way beyond anything that every took place in the vicinity of Fisher and Sons.
Ball told TV critics in July that he amplified the sensuality found in the original Sookie Stackhouse series of novels. I’m sure HBO didn’t object.
I guess it helps ramp up the creep factor, and that’s cool, but this dark, sometimes overly allegorical drama is not going to be everybody’s cup of plasma.
Winnipeg-native Anna Paquin plays the Louisiana waitress who has this annoying habit of reading other people’s minds. One day, somebody walks into her bar who won’t let her into his head. It is a brooding stranger (English actor Stephen Moyer) who just happens to be a 173-year-old bloodsucker.

Put away that wolfbane and silver bullet. This dude is more Laguna Hills than Lugossi. It is the near future and the Japanese have perfected a synthetic blood beverage which lets vampires get their daily fix from a bottle instead of from somebody’s neck. Their work did not go in vein!

Check out the HBO trailer below.

Not everybody likes it. One critic called it “90210 with fangs.” But in a fall where there are fewer network premieres, this series is getting plenty of exposure. The HBO marketing folks have gone so far as to have mock trucks driven around Los Angeles with the “Tru Blood” beverage label over every panel. I cabbed in from LAX behind one during last July’s press tour.
Viewers not put off by all the kinkiness of the pilot may stay for Paquin’s performance. She’s the reason to watch here, combining innocence and wonder with repressed horniness and a tremor or two of thrill-seeking adventurism. The girl is all set to go off, and if she doesn’t get beaten to death, she should take this series into some cool and kinky corners.
I’ve written more about Paquin and True Blood in this week’s column for The Canadian Press; you can sink your teeth into the entire article here. No, fang you.

Leave a Reply