Customer Review

31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Blood, Hot Stuff, 8 July 2009
This review is from: True Blood Season 1 (HBO) [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
The latest cult tv series, which has just started to air in the UK, arrives on Region 1 DVD and is it worth the hype that's been generated about it? Is this really the greatest fantasy series since Buffy?

For the first three episodes I wasn't sure. It took a little while to get into it, partly because of the way it was filmed; lacking the glossy image of film, it almost seemed cheap. The local Louisiana accent seemed somewhat stilted to me too. Then, of course, there's the introduction of a whole new bunch of characters and for a while I sometimes got confused between two of the male leads. It also seemed a lot darker than the books (or so memory tells me) while remaining quite faithful. I was enjoying it certainly, but it didn't click home until around episode 3 and then-

Wow, this is really good!

It also makes Buffy look like the Sarah Jane Adventures -tea-time viewing. True Blood is rough stuff. The violence alone will earn it an 18 rating when the UK DVD is finally released. But then so will the explicit sex which verges on being soft-core porn with its nudity and positions other than the missionary one. And also the language which, if not quite as frequent as Goodfellas, is nevertheless frequent. Put together this series is not for the sensitive and squeamish.

Gore and sex alone, however, do not make for a good program. Though they don't hurt either. The characters, once you get to know them, are strong and interesting and well played by the leads with excellent support such as Sam, the sympathetic bar owner with a secret, and Tara, our heroine's best friend and motormouth and my favourite character. There are more, in particular Lafayette, Tara's cousin, cook at Sam's bar, and also tough guy, effeminate gay, and drug dealer -I like him too. Then there's also Josh, Sookie's black sheep brother. These are the key characters but then is also a large supporting cast with important roles to play.

I'm deliberately not going to write too much about the plot because it's best enjoyed with as few preconceptions as possible. I will tell you that it's likely to go in directions you don't expect including people you thought would be in it to the end. There's much more to it than just a supernatural love story. There is a very blatant subtext which two items make explicitly clear. A sign that reads: God Hates Fangs. Remove the 'n' and what have you got? Then there's the news item where Vermont makes vampire marriage legal. And that Alan Ball, the talented creator of the series, is himself openly gay. Vampires have always been a commonly used metaphor for the outsider figure but here the metaphor is very specific. By the way, this isn't a criticism, I like the very pointedness of it. It gives the series an extra resonance.

At the end the ongoing serial killer thread is resolved and elements have been put in place for season 2 and, I've since learned, there's going to be a lesbian vampire Queen of New Orleans appearing. And I've got to wait a whole year to see it. God dayum.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Jul 2009 23:46:13 BDT
Wayne Feeney says:
Dude, what's the deal with mentioning the lesbian vampire queen? Spoiler much? You should really edit that out.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jul 2009 09:17:19 BDT
Ian Williams says:
It's not a secret. Season 2 is already showing in the States.

Posted on 4 Aug 2009 13:49:03 BDT
Fab review.

Cheers

Posted on 4 Aug 2009 19:33:47 BDT
Shelly says:
Her brothers called Jason.. but a good review. I was in two minds whether to watch this series as i thought it might ruin the books.. which is still a possibility.
The vamp queen is in the books so most people know anyway :)

Posted on 3 Nov 2009 13:52:04 GMT
Josh?
Sookie's brother is called Jason but altogether a really good review :)
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