For fans of the new HBO show True Blood, May is going to be an awesome month. The first season DVD set comes out on May 19th, and I was lucky enough to get my greedy little hands on it early. I haven’t actually started the marathon yet, but since it is a social activity amongst my group of friends, you can bet we’ll all bundle up on a couch one of these nights and go through it. Pretty early in the season my friends decided to make it a group activity, and we had a helluva time. Every Sunday night we’d meet for dinner and then dance during the credits, and hilariously hiss ‘SOOKAH!’ at one another whenever Bill used his ridiculous southern accent.
There are many reasons why people – especially skeptics – should give this show a chance. I want to talk first about my very favorite part of the show though, and that is actually the credits. Shows nowadays want to get more air time so they have given up on real credits, although HBO and Showtime do not show commercials so they do not have the problem of unnecessary time breaks. True Blood is an example of how a show can use their credits to get you started on the premise before it even begins. Alan Ball is a master at both subtly and slamming something right into your face; I’m not sure how he manages both so skillfully without being annoying, but it works. In the opening credits of True Blood a series of pictures or videos are shown on top of a country twang song titled “Bad Things” by Jace Everett. It’s playful, dark, and for people who hate country (like me), it somehow manages to grow on you the more you listen to it.
We get a series of pictures that perfectly suit this show. You have the southern atmosphere, the racism, the religion, the danger, violence, sex, desire, and complete weirdness all wrapped up in one minute and thirty seconds. All of these themes play heavily into the show, and with just a few trashy clips of sexy dancing, bloody mouths, eaten carcasses, and religious saving, you know what you’re getting into. Link here.
This feeds into the show entirely. True Blood is so ridiculous it becomes incredible. They fully embrace how insane the show is, how weird it is that this pretty perky little barmaid reads minds and falls in love with an awkward morose vampire. It mocks and makes love to the vampire mythology, allowing their monsters to actually be monsters and yet totally sexy at the same time. Bill may be a stick in the mud, but he rips people apart that messes with his business, and he’s long accustomed to being a vampire at this point. Sookie has to deal with the practicality of actually dating an undead man, and the truth is no matter how outrageous these characters are … they feel real. Jason’s stupidity and whoring, Tara’s fury at the world and sharp tongue, Sam’s desire for connection and belonging, and Sookie’s attempt to stay sane in an absolutely insane position. They’re real, and even if you can’t really like them at times, you gotta love them.
It’s far wittier a show than you might be expecting, and although it can be a guilty pleasure … it’ll still be one that keeps you coming back every week and going “OH NO WAY.” I’ve read the first book of the series and found it rather blah, but I always respected her intention to just say ‘to hell with it’ and embrace all the magic and mysticism and violence of her subject. Why wouldn’t you add fairies? If you have shapeshifters and vampires and who knows what else, throw the freaking fairies in. I’m all for it.
Season two starts this summer. You all in?