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Try a sip, you might like it (True Blood)

Unless you happen to be dead yourself, you should know about the undead craze that is blanketing our planet.  By undead I by no means am speaking of anything that slid out of the creative mind of one George A. Romero.  I am, however, referring to a certain race of supernatural beings that are called vampires.  Yes, the other undead.  They are immortal, super-strong, very fast, drink blood, have skin that literally pales in comparison to a humans, and can apparently fly in some story variations.

Perhaps my most fondest memories of the fanged blood-lusters are from one of my most coveted television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I mean yeah, I initially watched it because of the high degree of hotness that was Sarah Michelle Gellar.  I thought she was extremely “purty”.  But the drama powered storylines as well as the comic relief and surprising relation to real life teenage angst despite the fictitious characters forced me to continue coming back for more.  I then gravitated on over to Angel, its spin-off, when it finally debuted.  Joss Whedon happens to be something of a genius.  Since those very classic good times, different ideas and variations of vampires have been slung upon us to hopefully accept and eventually love. 

After somewhat ignoring a small plea from a friend to use my ever so valuable time to peruse the third season of a particular show titled True Blood, I accidentally found myself watching it along with my aunt.  I also found myself incorrect in thinking that it was only for the younger demographic.  I’m sure my aunt won’t appreciate being called old so I will take time to say that I am not doing that.  But I was a little shocked that she watched the show, consistently.  I must have caught the last 20 minutes of an episode towards the end of the season and saw nothing but blood, sex, guts, male-on-male sex, and then more blood.  I thought to myself, “there’s a storyline somewhere in here?”

After giving in and watching the first season, I discovered that the answer to my question was a definitive “yes”.  The series created by Alan Ball is based upon a series of novels authored by Charlaine Harris.  Entitled The Southern Vampire Mysteries or The Sookie Stackhouse Chronicles, the series currently has a total of 10 books with three more slated for the future.  The show, which airs on HBO and rightfully so with the amount of blood and “nudy-parts”, has finished its third season as of last summer and has been confirmed to return for a fourth during this years’ hot month period. 

Anna Paquin plays our main character of Ms. Sookie Stackhouse.  You can tell she’s a southern raised lady who has absolutely no problem about sharing what’s on her mind.  This makes her character quite annoying at times but she’s a determined female that needs to be heard.  She’s a hottie, no doubt about that, but she’s also a virgin.  Patiently waiting for that special, and deserving, guy who earns the right to nestle within that untouched haven she keeps to herself.

This of course all changes when she meets Bill Compton, an old vampire also from the south who has made his way to the fictional town of Bon Temps, LA to settle down.  He takes up residence in a house that belonged to his family while he was still human.  When Sookie’s eyes fall upon Bill, the sense of instant attraction is there and they soon find themselves carrying on a relationship.  Sookie’s best friend, Tara, is one of the few African-American characters on the show who, like Sookie, loves to say what’s on her mind.  Only her dialogue is usually laced with a cuss word or thirty.  She doesn’t trust any men and has a crippling relationship with her mother which gives the audience the sense that she’s about to severely break at any second.

Sookie has a brother, Jason, who is the town playboy.  On the prowl for a different girl almost every night, he has little trouble finding himself in a lot of it.  Tara’s cousin Lafayette makes up the flamboyant population of homosexuals within the town.  He sells drugs and works as a cook at a restaurant/bar called Merlotte’s owned by one Sam Merlotte.  A nice guy but whom you can tell has some secrets, he has a pretty deep crush on Sookie who also works at his restaurant as a waitress.  The rest of the character roster is rounded out by town citizens, disrespected police officers, more vampires and tons of other supernatural creatures who seem to pop into the story when you least expect it.

True Blood’s story is fueled by a team of writers who concentrate the screenplay around the written novels.  So each season is based upon a certain book within the series of novels.  I was amazed at the popularity that this show grew upon before I actually watched any specific episodes.  Also prior to embarking on my True Blood journey I was told by some fans of the show that it progressively becomes a little worse as the seasons go by.  Now that I am all caught up and at the level that everyone else is, I would have to say that I agree. 

Season one slowly begins with the all too familiar concept of vampire loves girl.  But it builds upon that with the introduction of other complex characters and how they all interact with each other.  Hostility, gripes, sex, love, passion, concern for each other’s well-being and mutual sex buddy relationships are formed.  All of this revolves around the main plotline in that vampires have decided to make themselves known to the world and try to convince humans that all they want are equal rights.  Trying to help their plight is Japanese-created synthetic blood bottled as a drink and dubbed with the name Tru Blood.  Wait, I’ve heard that name before somewhere.

Of course there are some who love them, want to be them and then some who want to see all of them burned in one huge vampire bon-fire.  Throw into the mix a series of mysterious murders and the story takes off running.  When one episode ends, you immediately want to watch the next one to find out what happens.  Engaging and entertaining, season one was definitely one of the better first season debuts for a television show that I can remember. 

Season two; oh what can I say about this wild and very much over the top second season.  It’s far-fetched, weird, sometimes frustrating and filled with just about every mortal sin you could possibly think of.  One of those sins, in the form of super orgy’s, are all over this second helping.  The gang encounters a supernatural creature in the form of a woman, Maryann (Michelle Forbes), who turns the town upside down by allowing them to completely indulge in their every forbidden desire.  Then they wake up the next day and can’t remember a thing.  It’s a crazy one that’s for sure, I found myself asking the question of “what the f***?” countless times but…wasn’t able to turn away.  Nor did I find a suitable reason to stop watching all together, so I pressed onward.

Enter season three, the most recent having aired last summer and not as insane as the second one.  Now the introduction of werewolves comes into play.  I couldn’t prevent myself from making the gut-obvious realization here.  Vampires…werewolves, where, oh where have I seen this before?  I would be declaring that you are not smart enough to have any idea what I may be talking about.  So I won’t even mention what quartet of books and movies this addition of people who could change into wolves automatically compared this show to.  I thought this was going to do it for me, I would surely be done.  But yet again, I wasn’t.  I finished the entire season and yes, still not as good as the first but made a little more sense than the second, I found it interesting. 

Now I haven’t made up my mind if I am actually looking forward to the fourth season or not but I will definitely check it out to see if it too can continue to grab my attention and keep it.  But I have made a conscious decision to at least come back to get another look at dear Tara; very attractive but so much more than just eye-candy.  The end of the third season left many characters acting out of the norm and set-up some decent foreshadowing for the next installment.  Hopefully this go-round will live up to the hype and anticipation of all hardcore True Blood fans everywhere.  I give The Blood that is True (as I call it) an overall “3 sets of fang marks left behind out of 5”.  Those are usually left in the neck unless of course you prefer the succulent femoral artery, oooh oh so tasty.

Pam: To Arlene's children: You make me so happy I never had any of you.”
Eric Northman: No, c'mon Pam, they're funny. They're like humans, but miniature. 'Teacup humans'.”

What are your opinions of the heralded True Blood series?  Favorite character?  Best Season?  True fans unite and make your voices heard.  Now go forth and Do Bad Things.


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