For those that are fans of the Charlaine Harris novels then be prepared to enjoy the series brought to life. While some of the characters are not as described in the books - the actors manage to pull off the essence of those described by Miss Harris.
Rather than relaying on special effects the focus is on the relationships between the characters and you cannot help but enjoy learning about them in this new way. This first series covers a lot of what can be seen in the fist novel (dead until dark) while adding in some changes to make sure that it works on screen. Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette is excellent and really captures the essence of the short order cook and earns him the right as one of the main members of the cast.
As with a lot of the HBO shows - this veers towards the dark and gritty genre and, for those that have watched any of their other shows you will see more than 1 or 2 familiar faces who take on some of the supporting roles, and this adds a level of comfort to those that enjoyed Deadwood and The Wire.
This has to be one of the better vampire adaptions that have been put out there, and while some of the characters may not look as you had imagined they would - they stay true to their creators vision
I am a fan of Charlaine Harris and love the series of books that this show is based upon. Bear in mind that it is produced by HBO the channel that brought you 'Deadwood' so this is definitely adults only. Be prepared for lots of swearing, sex and drugs. A whole lot more than the books ever had. Several themes and characters from the books have been expanded upon to make the show racier so it is fair to say that the show is 'inspired' by the books. That said this is high quality beautifully produced television and I am so glad that they have gone for a second series. All the characters are authentically drawn and not always sympathetically so, book fans will probably be disappointed with the portrayal of Jason Stackhouse. Definitely worth importing the series on blu-ray - the presentation is 1080p full screen with a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that has a superb soundfield. With a good system you'll hear every little swamp sound coming from where the director intended it.
I had some doubts about True Blood. I hate the Twilight series and how there seems to be a overly large fanbase for vampire romance, but when I saw how popular this show was and also its critical acclaim, I decided to give it a try and see what the fuss was all about. It turns out it is actually a very good show! I like the fact how there is a cliffhanger in every episode so you always feel this need to watch another episode. You don't feel as though it's a chore watching through these episodes too because there are various subplots going on at the same time also. The cast is pretty fantastic and they play their roles effectively, and the dialogue can be laugh-out-loud hilarious (in a good way), especially with Terra. I like the horror genre also, and the show also mixes thriller/mystery elements effectively that make it such an entertaining watch. There are many twists throughout the show also, which are often highly unpredictable. The cast gives off subtle comedy performances also that add to the show, giving it a nice twist. The only problem I have with the show is that I think the actress who plays Sookie was horribly miscast. Sure, she can put on a Southern accent, but she shows one-dimensional characteristics in her acting and she can't get angry or emotional in a convincing manner. I don't know. Maybe in later seasons she'll improve but we'll have to see.
The basic premise of this show is pure genius and quite unique. Based on a series of books this show is more addictive than crack! Vampires have 'come out of the closet' and live among humans. Japanese scientists create a synthetic blood (True Blood) so that they don't have to drink from humans. Obviously this doesn't stop some of them but the big surprise is that humans can also drink from them and their blood is a drug known as V.
Sookie (pronounced largely as Sucky!) Stackhouse is a waitress with a talent - she reads minds. Unlike most portrayals of such "gifts" she struggles to switch off the voices in her head in order to live a normal life. When Bill walks in to her restaurant she and all the patrons know immediately that he is a vampire. She's instantly drawn to him as she cannot read his mind and therefore finds peace in his company.
What follows is not for the faint hearted so be warned that this contains massive amounts of sex, nudity, some really bad language (the "c" word is used in the first episode) and graphic violence. For those reasons I adored it but if you're the type of person who finds Sex and the City to be too full on then steer clear because within the first few minutes this show will shock you!
Alongside some other plotlines is an ongoing murder mystery. Someone's out to get Sookie and Bill vows to protect her. The writers aren't scared of killing off central characters and you'll be left guessing up to the last minute who the killer is.
The main reason to watch this is the amazing acting. Anna Paquin won a Golden Globe for her depiction of Sookie and you can see why. This is a bold and courageous choice for her and her wide eyed innocence is beguiling if a little twee at times. Personally I loved Ryan Kwanten who has really proved himself as Sookie's older brother Jason. His accent is spot on and he tackles the role with enthusiasm which is just as well as he's naked most of the time! I have gotten all my friends to watch this show based solely on my description of the events leading up to Jason being found with a T-bone steak firmly held to his groin. Classic moments. Another mention has to go to Rutina Wesley who plays Tara, Sookie's best friend who has a major chip on her shoulder and a huge crush on Jason. Tara takes her frustration out on those around her and her put downs are classic! I was laughing so much throughout. The only person who can match her is Lafayette her cousin played by Nelsan Ellis. A few friends have said that his portrayal of the gay cook is cliched but I thought he was hilarious and terrifying in equal measure.
All in all if you like your sex full on, your laughs loud and your violence shocking then you will be hooked from the 1st episode. I can't praise the writing enough and the direction is perfect. The only shame is there are only 12 episodes and you'll be waiting for the 2nd season with baited breath!
If you are considering buying this DVD, you probably know what the TV show is about. Very briefly, the plot is about the life of Sookie, a waitress in Louisiana, who is a mind reader and falls in love with a vampire. The series is based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. On a personal note, I really did not like the fangs of these vampires, and this was the reason that I avoided watching the series for a couple of years. I only started really getting into True Blood when the 3rd season aired. Better late than never, I suppose! True Blood is now one of my all time favourite TV shows.
The rest of this review is exclusively about the DVDs and more specifically the special features. For the audio commentaries, I am also providing a (very subjective) rating.
The good: The quality of the DVDs is excellent. There are lot of languages and subtitles.
The bad: I was disappointed because season 1 DVDs don't have a lot of special features.
List of special features:
True Blood Season 1 Disc 1 - Audio Commentaries: Episode 1 - Alan Ball - ***** Lots of information here! It's always fun to listen to Alan Ball 's comments. He has a good sense of humour and listening to the comments of the creator of the show is about as good as it gets for a fan. Alan gives a lot of general info on soundtrack etc, but also gets into the details of a lot of scenes. Episode 2 - Anna Paquin and Scott Winant - ***** Anna and Scott share a lot of titbits from the shooting. Fun and engaging commentary.
True Blood Season 1 Disc 2 - Audio Commentaries: Episode 4 - Brian Buckner and Michael Lehmann - *** Some interesting points on writing and shooting the episode. Fun to hear what Eric and Pam were saying in Swedish. Overall not a very memorable commentary though.
True Blood Season 1 Disc 3 - Audio Commentaries: Episode 5 - Stephen Moyer and Dan Minahan - **** Stephen Moyer is always fun to listen to. Interesting commentary from both Stephen and Dan. Episode 7 - Marcos Siega - *** Marcos analyzes some scenes explaining what was the underlying intention. Quite interesting to hear how most of it was very successfully transmitted to the viewer. Generally, I prefer commentaries of two or more people, but I enjoyed getting into the scenes from the director's point of view.
True Blood Season 1 Disc 4 None
True Blood Season 1 Disc 5 - Mockumentary: Vampires of America - Audio Commentaries: Episode 11 - Nancy Oliver - *** Nancy wrote and directed this episode, so I expected her commentary to be very insightful. Regrettably, I found it a bit boring. It felt as though she either did not analyze a scene enough, or as if she was talking about one thing while I was more interested in another part of the scene.
Totally addictive, sexy and funny HBO show, created by Alan Ball (based on a book series by Charlaine Harris), which will run to a roller-coaster of 7 seasons in all. The creation of synthetic Tru Blood means that vampires are no longer forced to conceal their existence and prey on humans, they can now 'come out' of the coffin. Of course this means they promptly become a 'minority' population (albeit a very powerful and scary one with ruthless politics all of its own) and, to the horror of many, make an instant demand for equal rights. All of this revolves around the endearing central love story of the quirky outsider waitress and the vampire with the tortured soul.
Small Louisiana town telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Oscar winner, Anna Paquin) falls hard and fast for dark, handsome, stranger and supernatural soulmate Bill Compton (English actor and director, Stephen Moyer) who just happens to be the vamp returning to his ancestral home next door. The smoking hot chemistry which ensues between these two characters developed into a real life romance and marriage for the actors.
The first season introduces us to a whole host of other wonderful characters human and mysterious magical creatures alike who inhabit Bon Temps and its environs: Sookie's loving grandmother Adele (Lois Smith); her loveable horndog himbo brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten); her boss Sam who harbours a huge crush (Sam Trammell); her feisty beautiful best friend (Rutina Wesley); co-workers at the bar, the fabulous gay cook Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and bigoted redhead waitress Arlene (Carrie Preston); the mysterious and menacing viking vampire Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and his acerbic progeny (Pam); hopeless local law enforcement Detective Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) and Sheriff Dearborne (William Sanderson). Other notable characters are Bill's maker Lorena (Mariana Klaveno); his baby vampire Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) Tara's alcoholic mother (Adina Porter); Arlene's Cajun drawling beau (Michael Raymond-James); local good boy Hoyt (Jim Parrack) and his hilarious overbearing momma Maxine (Dale Raoul).
Each True Blood episode cleverly examines issues of everyday life under the guise of the townsfolk struggling with the arrival of the supernatural and, in Season 1, mysterious serial killings of local women. Each episode ends with a cliffhanger which, if you become hooked, may find you bingeing a whole season in one sitting and then craving the next. You have been warned!
I bought this on sale just to see what the hype was about. To be honest at first I didn't see what was so great. It had a lot of strong language, violence and sex which was fine but overall it was a pretty long and boring start. I was almost at point of regret after watching the first five or so episodes but luckily it started picking up. All I can say is that by the time the last episode finished I really wanted to watch season 2. This is ultimately a decent start to what is a great TV show overall.