Tripping The South Fantastic

Like any good Six Feet Under watcher, I tuned in last year to Alan Ball's hyped new show, True Blood. I heard the words vampire, Paquin, and HBO, and immediately thought "probably a show for me." But ultimately I found myself decidedly mixed on the first season of Blood.

First off, the show is incredibly formulaic, almost to its detriment. Each episode follows a mystery murder, while juggling sex addict Jason's triumphs and triage's, and Sookie's love affair with new vamp in town, Bill Compton. There's also a shape shifting bartender, a no-nonsense best friend, an alcoholic cop, and a slew of rotating waitresses. Like most HBO shows, they promote their ability to show graphic sex above all else. Not one episode goes by without some character getting laid. For a lot of viewers this is a huge pull, and often a key element missing from basic cable shows, but True Blood's sexploits have become so predictable, that all shock value is gone.

But apart from overly appealing to horny teens with On Demand, the show does do a decent job of taking the story in some unexpected directions, including introducing hypnotic lead vampire Eric for one (played by the amazing Alexander Skarsgard). Eric's power and flowing blonde hair make him one of season two's most important "characters to watch." With a hefty bag of bad guys, and even the good guys taking a walk on the wild side, True Blood is nothing like Twilight. They use every opportunity they have to show blood, fangs, and gore, and by matching it with hometown country music, the repulsive suddenly becomes the comedic. Ball also plays the advocacy card by showcasing the ongoing vampire rights battle. They fight for equality, the right to marry and be open about their identities without fear of violence, an important message to emphasize these days as bill after bill to oppose gay marriage is upheld. The show prominently features gay characters and bisexual characters, something fans of the show are particularly excited about as they embark on season 2. Season one's smooth talking cook Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) is rumored to develop a relationship with Skarsgard's vampire, Eric. Of all the season 2 rumors, this one's my favorite given that two of the shows best characters will finally get simultaneous screen time.

Overall the season 2 premiere does feel like a walk down memory lane, and soldiers on with an alarming lack of subletly. But with Jason's soul in the hands of "the sunshiners," Bill's adopted vamp daughter, bratty Jessica (
Deborah Ann Woll) joining the cast, and Evan Rachel Wood set to play a vampire queen down the line... I'm staying tuned to see what happens next, cause whether I like it or not, I still need to know who lives, who dies, and who gets laid.

True Blood Season 2 Promo

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