I don't think it will be a revolutionary statement that how one feels about Alan Ball's new HBO series, True Blood, will have a lot to do with how one generally feels about vampires.
I don't think it will be a revolutionary statement that how one feels about Alan Ball's new HBO series, True Blood, will have a lot to do with how one generally feels about vampires. Me, they've never really been my thing; they're OK and all, but the mere mention of fangs wouldn't necessarily get me to tune in. This review, then, is for (and by) the vampire-agnostic.
So here's the takeaway: I don't doubt at all that True Blood could develop into a deeply fascinating series for people at all points on the vampire-fan spectrum. But in the two episodes HBO sent me, the vampire parts were something I just needed to get through so I could get back to Alan Ball's witty writing in the more human realm. The second episode is stronger than the first; I've heard from some critics who got a full batch of five episodes that each one gets better. But the fate of many a TV series has been determined in episode one, and in True Blood's case, that's cause for some concern.
True Blood's protagonist is Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a Louisiana waitress with an unfortunate "gift" for reading people's minds that makes her daily life a struggle to tune out the thoughts of those around her. It's somewhat of a relief, then, when a pale stranger named Bill (Stephen Moyer) settles himself into her bar one night and asks for a drink of Tru Blood, the synthetic blood substitute that has made it possible for vampires to live among humans. Sookie can't read his mind but still quickly figures out that Bill's a vampire; "Am I that obvious?" he drawls in return. Why yes; you just asked for fake blood at a bar at night. It's not hard to guess. For more on the highs and lows of True Blood, just read more