As an insufferable Buffy The Vampire Slayer snob and all round devotee of Joss Whedon’s wonderful product, my first reaction to hearing someone praising True Blood to high heavens and recommending its immediate viewing was to be typically sniffy. After all, the blond girl falling in love with a good guy vampire who is fighting against his evil-doing nature amidst the back drop of a town full of monsters had already been done. And rather well too, thank you very much.
But within seconds of seeing the opening titles of the first ever show, I could see that ‘True Blood’ was a very different kettle of undead fish to the prissy in comparison Buffy. Over the soundtrack of a sleazy country singer crooning that he was keen to do “real bad things with you”, images of sex, decomposing animals, sex, swamps, sex, strippers, sex, baptisms and yet more sex jumped out of the screen and into my overstimulated brain.
These themes were carried onto the first episodes of the first season of HBO’s down n’dirty and very devilish show which is set to begin its fourth in the US in late June. Based on ‘The Southern Vampire Mysteries’ novels by Charlaine Harris, the show is set in a world where an artificial blood product called ‘Tru Blood’ has given vampires the option to come out of the coffin, stand up for their rights and pay taxes rather than hide in the shadows, feasting on waifs, strays and idiot rednecks.
But rather than reflect on how society deals with the integration of a whole new, fang-baring race the show is set almost entirely in the seedy, sweaty, swampy Louisiana town of Bon Temps following the show’s main characters as they spend many happy hours shagging, shouting, sucking and occasionally shooting each other.
True Blood is what would happen if Buffy and the Scooby Gang went tree bark insane and suddenly found the world of S&M attractive, and thought swearing profusely was a very good thing, as the show is littered with vocal vulgarity and scenes of horizontal - and it’s fair share of vertical - jiggery pokery along with buckets and buckets of blood and goo.
The show’s main characters spend many happy hours shagging, shouting, sucking and occasionally shooting each other
Who’s Who in True Blood...
The show’s lead character is a perky, blond waitress who doesn’t actually go to work that often but who falls in love with vampire dream boat, Bill Compton, largely because there isn’t a lot of alternative picks in the distinctly trailer trash Bon Temps.
Sookie also has the power to read people’s thoughts, unless they happen to be from undead minds - another reason for her infatuation for the local blood sucker. In a fairly short space of time in Bon Temp’s universe in the show’s three seasons so far, Sookie is probably in need of a decent holiday having been attacked, kidnapped, ‘fang-banged’, threatened and chewed on by beasties more often than a meat-dress wearing Lady Gaga on safari.
A gentleman relic from the 19th century who fought for the south in the Civil War before being turned into vampire soon after. Bill may profess to being deeply in love with ‘Sukay’, as the slow-talking vamp insists on calling her, but seems to see his human lady friend as a walking blood bank to rescue him after the beatings and kickings poor Bill receives on a regular basis. Bill Compton’s biggest struggle is trying to go straight and get with the modern world - hence his love of Wii golf - despite the taunting from his vampire contemporaries who tend to see him as a sell-out wimp bag.
Nothing less than an complete idiot, Jason Stackhouse is Sookie’s brother had has his entire intellect and ability to reason stuffed into his goolies. At various times Jason has been addicted to vampire blood, a cult member and a wannabe police officer, all whilst being a complete buffoon but a spectacularly successful one in the sack having shagged every girl either living in Bon Temps or stopping off there to fill up their car and take a leak.
A former Viking prince with a good thousand years under his belt, Eric owns the local vampire nightclub - with torture chamber and dungeon underneath it to pass the time - and spends much of the show trying to make a quick buck and concocting schemes to get into Sookie’s pants. Rather than being completely without morals as it first appears, Eric is more amused by the idea of appearing evil and scaring the crap out of anyone who crosses him.
As camp as they come but willing to open a kick of enormous whup-ass whenever required, Lafayette is a multi-tasking hive of activity with his day and night packed with grilling in the local diner, digging up roads, and drug dealing, as well as the odd raised eyebrow and snooty comment.
Sookie’s best friend and Lafayette’s cousin, Tara is hard-drinkin’, hard fu...partying and with the pottiest mouth of the lot in a fairly loose-tongued town. Tara’s mother is an alcoholic, bible-bashing loon bag, too.
The owner of the local - and pretty much only - bar and diner in Bon Temps which bans “dancing and religion” Sam is the goody-two-shoes of the town, has a crush on Sookie, and disapproves heartily of all vampire-human ‘fang-banging’.
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