Season 1 DVD
Series Creator, Writer, Director: Alan Ball
Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Nelsan Ellis
HBO Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 19, 2009
By taking the blood of the night into our bodies, we water the flowers of our souls.
Nothing is real.
Everything is permitted.
Deep south. Rednecks. Vampires that live among us. These are the main components to True Blood, the ultra-graphic HBO show from Alan Ball (American Beauty) which has completed their first incredibly successful first season and is currently moving into their second season.
The show is based on the The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of books and follows young Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a simple southern belle with the mysterious ability to read minds who works as a waitress at Merlotte’s, the local bar in Bon Temps, Louisiana — a religious town that doesn’t have any known vampire residents. One day in this quiet town, a vampire named Bill (Stephen Moyer) shows up at the bar, and Sookie immediately greets him with a glowing curiosity which turns into real chemistry after she saves his life. This newfound vampire connection has Sookie’s boss Sam (Sam Trammell) and best friend Tara (Rutina Wesley) angry and watching carefully. Unfortunately, right around the time that Bill the vampire shows up, multiple women in this small town start showing up dead and no one really knows why — but many are quick to point a sharp finger, either at Bill, or at Sookie’s ladies man brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten), who is always romantically (physically) connected to the victims.
Within the first few minutes of the show’s first episode, you will become aware of the fact that this is no ordinary vampire show. After that, the opening title sequence will play, the song will be stuck in your head all day, and from then on out, you could very much already be hooked. In this world, vampires are very real, and they have come out to live among us humans in civil manner. To survive, these vampires drink a synthetic blood beverage called Tru-Blood, which they all hate but deal with in order to keep the peace with humans. While they live amongst each other, the vampires are hated by many people who refuse to even be near them; this segregation is a mirror to our own dark history but set in a fictional world. Many times throughout the show, brief newscasts will be shown of human and vampire representatives defending their own cases. Another problem that exists in this seemingly parallel world is drugs — vampire blood, to be specific, which is simply known as V-juice, or V. A single drop of their blood can completely change your world, enhance your senses, and help you to heal. Because of this phenomena, it’s the number one drug problem, and sometime even leads to humans capturing vampires to drain them of every drop and then turn around and sell it large amounts of money. These things are probably my favorite thing about the show. To see a completely fictional world that works so similarly to our own is scary and also pretty surreal.
The show itself is another example of why I love HBO so much, and why they have some of the best shows on TV: no limits (sorta). On HBO, you can pretty much do and say whatever you want, and this makes for some insane, in-your-face, realistic TV. This is not to say that vampires are “realistic,” but they do a great job of taking this fictional creature of the night and giving us a really graphic, hardcore view of how things would be if vampires did indeed live among us.
The biggest selling point of this show for all of you vampire fans out there: this show is the anti-Twilight! While vampires, like zombies, are often used in movies and TV shows — at this moment, Twilight is thee popular vampire product out there with all of its teen angst and pretty, well-dressed vampires whose superpowers include bedazzling themselves. This is not acceptable. With True Blood, you’ll find yourself a Southern Gothic playground — and most of the time, the people and situations are surely not pretty. Better yet, every single episode goes one step further than the last, so just when you think you’ve reached the show’s shock-peak, you find yourself surprised again and again.
Many people do seem to be really sick of vampires in general, so it’s hard to say that they would enjoy this show, even as unique as it is. But for everyone else out there, there is nothing to think twice about — this is absolutely a show to seek out and watch. Best hurry, though, True Blood Season 2 is now underway and you don’t want to be out of the loop for too long.
There’s not many special features to be had here, which is a little sad — I was hoping to see some behind the scenes, making-of action. The normal commentaries are here as well as some short-but-completely-amusing TV commercials that parody our own TV commercials, but with vampires as the target audience. For example, you can watch a commercial for the vampire beverage Tru-Blood which highly-resembles our own beer commercials; or a familiar online dating commercial that won’t deny you just because you’re a vampire.