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HBO's popular television series based on Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books.

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True Blood is just like Heroes! (And a drinking game...)

  • Sep 8, 2010
Remember how Heroes, the perfect melding of X-Men with cable-quality soap, imploded on itself? Remember how "Save the cheerleader, save the world" became "Kill the cheerleader, save the show?" It was one of those shocking TV betrayals, like when The Simpsons became crap, that made you want to withdraw any support you ever gave the show. Let's just hope the circus doesn't show up in True Blood - that will be the final nail in coffin (no pun intended).

Anyway, my prediction - at the risk of a getting flamed - is that next year's season of True Blood will be headed the same way. Think about the parallels:
  • Innocent and naive central female character learns to grapple with supernatural power and the dangers it entails.
  • Plots focus on overlaying supernatural elements on suburban life. (Ha, they tried that in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but that's another story.)
  • Four-act episodes with major dramatic plot points connecting each.
  • Villains turn out to be heroes.
  • Heroes become villainous.
  • Certain characters' plot lines you'd like to TiVo over completely (Hiro, Tara's mother and Sam's family anyone?)
  • Unbridled use of flashbacks when minutes of screen time need to be filled
  • The background of politics used to move the plot along
  • A growing army of characters with head-scratching supernatural/super-powers
  • Some semi-expensive TV-quality CGI
  • A strong first season that gets diluted which each passing episode
  • Drooling comic-con fanboys
Of course, there are some differences. If you thought DC and Oakland had crime problems, check out Bon Temps, where the local morgue is like Ikea on a Sunday without the hot-dogs. And there's enough soft-porn on this show to make the Internet look like good clean family entertainment. 

I don't want to suggest that HBO is anywhere near as close as NBC was in season 3 to putting the show out of its misery. NBC literally excommunicated Heroes, telling it to pack its shit up and get moving, leaving Hayden Pannetiere with nowhere to go but supermarket tabloids and a future filled with DUIs and sex tapes. HBO is currently basking in its success, with executives buzzing around like someone released itching powder at the petting zoo.

But True Blood is heading into Blake Snyder's well-defined "Double Mumbo Jumbo" territory. Just as I rolled my eyes every time Hiro squinted or Matt Parker looked all confused, hoping the sound effects would paper over the cracks in his performance, I recently paused to laugh out loud when Sookie Stackhouse turned out to be fairy. A what? Isn't it enough to be a telepathic waitress with flashy things coming out of her hands? DMJ, my friends. It's bad news.

So far we've had telepaths, vampires, shape-shifters, werewolves, maenads (don't ask), were-panthers (WTF?), fairies - it's really getting like Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a love child with the second Matrix  - and we're just stopping short of killer cyborgs from the future. Also, I'm starting to suspect that the production team has a long-running contract with dog trainers, since invariably canines feature prominently in the line-up.

Admittedly, the Beswick household has been snorting up episodes of True Blood and enjoying the experience. And even season 3, with it's wild plate-spinning act of balancing vampire politics, melodrama and Glee-style characterization, has had us hooked. But there's a curse around the fourth iteration of anything - just look at the embarrassment of the latest installments of Indiana Jones and Shrek to see the dangers - and if someone doesn't get the reigns back on the screenwriters, we could have Sookie facing aliens and ancient civilizations before you know it. Beware!

The True Blood Drinking Game (Almost Too Easy, I Know)

Note: to avoid fatal-levels of alcohol poisoning, we're changing this drinking game to a points-based system, where you have to accumulate 5 points before taking a shot.

1 point whenever:
  • Major characters appear shirtless and you wonder how many gyms there are in Bon Temps
  • Bill says "Sookie" in that way that sounds eerily like Timmy from South Park meets Elvis.
  • Matt Parker, sorry I mean Sookie, gets plot-pivotal information through mental eavesdropping
  • Cop Andy pulls the one facial expression he was hired for.
  • You think the war vet/cook guy would have been great on Tropic Thunder.
  • Someone gets glamored (and if you realize if you could glamor people, you might not be a force for good).
  • You think Eric is better-looking than Bill (my wife would get drunk on this one alone).
2 points whenever:
  • Jason Stackhouse either kills someone or thinks he's killed someone - more like Jason Slaughterhouse.
  • 20 minutes passes without a random sex scene.
  • Sookie and Bill get it on and you wonder if they're, er, like, doing it for real now they're married in real life. Ewww.
  • Merlotte's faces a business-ending or lawsuit-invoking event 
Special events/exceptions:
  • 5 POINTS: the FBI or some sort of federal enforcement actually shows up.
  • Tara's Mom or Bill's family are thrown a plot line: keep drinking until it's over.

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More True Blood reviews
review by . December 27, 2008
Sookie & Bill
HBO continues their run of amazingly high quality series (however slowly and painfully far apart they seem to debut).  The buzz about True Blood hit me before it even aired, however I was a cynic from the start.  I'm a pretty rabid cult follower of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and figured there was little chance anyone could capture that camp and wit again.  Turns out, this series has ENTIRELY different aspirations than the Buffy franchise.  This show is about a much higher …
review by . August 21, 2009
I've had an odd experience with this show. I was intrigued by the pilot, and recall watching the first few episodes; but then, somewhere along the line, I stopped watching and had no incentive to catch up. The show wasn't bad, the storylines simply didn't interest me.      Then, suddenly, I start seeing promotions for the second season and think, what the hell? It's summer, there isn't anything else on, I'll give it a try. Then, magically, I fell in love with the show. This season …
review by . March 17, 2010
Probably inspired by Anne Rice's novels, this new version of vampire lore is far more interesting than Blade, Underworld, Twilight, Buffy, etc.  It takes place in a small town in Louisianna and has a real Cajun feel to it.  The premise is that vampires have admitted their existance so a blood substitute (True Blood) has been developed and sold wherever beverages are sold.      The first season centered on a vampire named Bill moving into a Louisianna town and he fascinates …
Quick Tip by . November 22, 2010
posted in Pass The Remote!
The first season was awesome. The second season, not so much. This show is unravelling fast in my opinion.
Quick Tip by . October 06, 2010
More divergent from the original written work with each season, and yet still keeps the original flavor and appeal. Great visuals and action
review by . June 10, 2009
True Blood Blu-ray box art
 Ever since I was a kid, I always had a fascination with everything vampires.  In High School, I couldn't get enough of them.  I bought all the popular (and unpopular) vampire films like Blade, John Carpenters Vampires, Dracula, Underworld and many others.  I always enjoyed reading vampire lore and doing research on the subject and even if vampires don't exist, their "history" and mythology always fascinated me.  Of course there have been some not so great vampire renditions …
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
Watch the episodes in order! Its very important to not just watch some of them then start again. Its wayy better to watch it from the start.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
Without a doubt, my favorite show ever!
Quick Tip by . June 02, 2010
I wanted to like this show, but there was too much stuff in it that just wasn't necessary or appropriate for me.
Quick Tip by . May 31, 2010
The best miniseries I've seen in a long while, and it doesn't even need gunfights & explosions to manage this. Seductively addicting TV!
About the reviewer
James Beswick ()
Ranked #19's "token Brit".
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About this tv show


Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out. Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. "Cursed" with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But as Sookie is drawn into a series of mysteries surrounding Bill's arrival in Bon Temps, that tolerance will be put to the test. 

A new drama from 'Six Feet Under' creator Alan Ball, True Blood delves into the meticulously-crafted world of novelist Charlaine Harris. Described by the Emmy®-winning Ball as "popcorn for smart people" and featuring a colorful cast of local misfits, 'True Blood' promises an intense ride.
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Premiere Date: September 7th 2008
Description: HBO series about Vampires who have gone public and want human rights
Genre: Drama
Studio: HBO
Original Air Date: September 7th 2008
DVD Release Date: May 19th 2009
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"Diary of a mad fanger"
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