Reviews: True Blood

An Amazing Comedy

If only the comedy part was intentional.

Have you ever seen something that was so over the top ridiculous that it was funny, but were hesitant to laugh because you're sure it was supposed to be serious? That's basically True Blood.

True Blood has a lot of the set up of a play: with silly over acting and a brightly lit set despite most of the story taking place at night. Even the film work feels a little theatrical, looking like something in a cheap B-movie. All these elements also make the show feel like a satire - which is kind of sad considering I'm pretty sure this is supposed to be a serious drama.

The characters are silly and weird at the same time. A lot of the times they have these knee-jerk reactions, which is most prominent whenever two characters get into an argument. The fights usually have little to no provocation (Sookie and Tara), and I assume they all suffer short-term memory loss because when the characters meet again the fight has been forgotten. Most of them are pretty easily swayed, so if one character tries to talk another into doing something chances are it'll only take a few sentences to convince them.

The plot itself is silly, with vampires serving as such a heavy-handed metaphor for homosexuality that it can get a little ridiculous. This also can be frustrating since the metaphor falls flat on its face at times, since the only nice reoccurring vampire is Bill - but even he's an ass at times. The plot also has quite a few holes in it - particularly whenever vampire weaknesses are brought up. Considering how fast information travels, I doubt that vampires would be able to keep their weaknesses secret.

So, yeah, True Blood can't really be taken as a drama - but it's a fantastic comedy. Granted, I've only seen the first season - but what I've seen so far has been fun to watch. While I feel a lot of the hype comes from the vampire fever that's been going around, True Blood is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for laughs.

A review of True Blood: season 1

NB This is a review of the first season of the HBO series True Blood and not the book series. I can't find the "add review" button on the True Blood mainPage, so I'm leaving this review here for now.

True Blood is a series about Sookie Stackhouse, who despite having a pornstar name, is ironically the only person in her podunk, Louisiana town who isn't shagging someone every five minutes. The reason for this is because she can read minds and as such, she finds the thoughts of most men off-putting. That is until Sookie meets Bill, a local vampire whose thoughts she cannot hear.

  • The show's premise of putting vampires into a mundane, real world setting. It was interesting seeing a vampire give a talk on his life throughout the civil war.
  • This real world Watchmen treatment also means that the vampires do not necessarily prescribe to the whole leather thing. The vampires are more diverse.
  • Although the protagonist looks gormless (and often is), Sookie can be refreshingly observant compared to most drama protagonists.
  • Good performances all around, and many interesting (if familiar) characters.
  • Very stylish opening credits which adequately conveys the message of the series.

  • Being HBO, the series sticks in gratuitous sex scenes all the time. It often felt like an unnecessary distraction from the murder mystery which the series was supposed to be centred around.
  • On the mystery itself: There is very little sleuthing going on throughout and I was especially irritated when the killer was revealed. Usually in these yarns the culprit is the guy you least suspect, but at least the reveal comes with a satisfactory explanation which shows how you could have figured out for yourself. In True Blood, there is absolutely nothing - no nuances/signs/clues to look out for. Do not waste your time trying to figure it out who the murderer is because this isn't a proper mystery story.
  • Their is a very unsubtle parallel drawn between vampires and the treatment of homosexuals. It doesn't really work when you realise how dangerous and distrustful these jerkoff vampires actually are.

Over all, I give True Blood a tentative recommendation. It struggles as a murder mystery but is interesting enough as a mystical themed drama to keep the viewer captivated.