“TRUE BLOOD” is the best show on television.

Posted by Peter Hall - October 14th 2008 @ 10:34 pm

I’m not sure a title can be more concise than that.  Perhaps an equal sign could have saved me two words.

The first episode of “TRUE BLOOD”, Alan Ball’s vampire mystery series on HBO, did not guarantee me on the series.  Network indulgent sex scenes and orotund characters in every role save the key vampire were holding me back from declaring any allegiance.  Things have changed, though.  Now we are six episodes deep and my addiction is raging.  Once again I have a show I absolutely must watch without fail every week.

“TRUE BLOOD” is not just the best new show of the fall, mind you, but The Best Show On Television.*  Every complaint I had about the series has ebbed, everything I loved about it is soaring.  The characters have tempered, each and every one of them.  Performances that seemed lofty from the get go have all found purchase.  I cannot imagine a better marriage of actor and role for a single character in the series.  Big or small, the casting department pulled off miracles.  Chris Bauer as Andy Bellefleur, a sullen detective with an open mind, is delightful.   Stephen Moyer as the stoic civil war era vampire Bill has become my favorite ex-human next only to Spike.  Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse, the sex addicted, drug experimenting embodiment of Southern freedom is all kinds of hilarious.  Even Rutina Wesley as Tara Thornton, the uppity stereotype of an on-television-only black woman if I’ve ever seen one, has become a soulful, caring presence on the show.

And then the mystery!

Where to even begin?  I haven’t been this wrapped up in a show since season one of “LOST” – and that season was like TV methamphetamine.  Take that not as a comparison as to the type of mystery at hand, rather this show’s ability to intrigue at every revealing corner.  Who keeps killing women who had sex with vamps?  Why can Sookie hear people’s thoughts?  Is TruBlood a real stopgap for vampire nutrition or is it just a front for societal infiltration?  And most importantly, what in the cliffhanging fuck is up with Sam and that damn dog?!? **

I love this show.  I could not think higher of it.  I love it because it allows me to compose sentences like the one ending the above paragraph.  It has a refined, brooding edge of lethality and instinctual hilarity.  I can’t explain it any better than that as I could not have fathomed that such bizarre elements, such initially obtuse performances and such flagrant abandon for the conceits of television would yield such a cohesive new compound.  I am thrilled the show has already been picked up for a second season.  I have no clue where they are going with these storylines even the next episode out, yet alone twenty plus, but my trust is now implicit.

* For the record, I am not currently watching “MAD MEN”, but will catch back up with it at this season’s end and thus do not feel qualified to edge it out completely.  I think both “MAD MEN” and “TRUE BLOOD” are inspired, artful examinations of societies that either never were or never will be again.  Combined they are without question the bravest original programming on the airwaves right now.

** I will end your life with a swiftness should you say one word me to me about the answer to this question.


comments are closed
  1. Matt W
    October 14th, 2008 | 11:45 pm | #1

    Sounds like I have to pirate the hell out of this…but it still can’t be better than The Shield.

  2. October 15th, 2008 | 1:27 am | #2

    I agree completely!

  3. October 15th, 2008 | 9:28 am | #3

    Wow. There certainly is a lot of hyperbole on this website lately. At least we get reasons this time.

  4. October 15th, 2008 | 9:36 am | #4

    Ouch. I hope you’re referring to RJ’s guest review. I probably should have actually read that before I published it.

  5. October 15th, 2008 | 10:10 am | #5

    Sorry about my tone. I always get extra cynical when confronted with hype and superlatives.

    I know I’ve done it myself and it annoys me even more then.

    Gonna go take my old man pills and maybe even give the neighbor’s kid back his frisbee.

  6. October 15th, 2008 | 10:35 am | #6

    Heh, well you’ve also got to remember that this just makes “TRUE BLOOD” a big fish in a small pond. Sure, there are tons of TV shows these days, but only a handful ever compete in the quality department.

  7. October 15th, 2008 | 10:50 am | #7

    Absolutely. Mine was delayed TRICK review backlash, not what you wrote today. (Like I said above, you gave your reasons here.)

    Me shut up now.

  8. R.J. Sayer
    October 15th, 2008 | 11:37 am | #8

    you guys are dicks.

    i gave my goddamn reasons.

  9. October 15th, 2008 | 11:58 am | #9


  10. October 15th, 2008 | 12:02 pm | #10

    Tell me something I don’t know. ;)

  11. deepfield
    October 16th, 2008 | 1:05 pm | #11

    I concur.

    True Blood owns.

    So does Mad Men.

  12. October 22nd, 2008 | 3:38 pm | #12

    I love this show to death, but I have to give the edge to Mad Men. It’s filled the void left in my heart by Sopranos. Also, I might even rate Dexter a notch higher as well. But can we at least all agree that broadcast TV drama cannot compare in the least? I tried Life on Mars and was reminded how spoiled I had gotten.

  13. R.J. Sayer
    October 22nd, 2008 | 5:58 pm | #13

    I think i’m the only person who just doesn’t give a shit about Mad Men. i tried. wasn’t impressed with it.

    same goes for Sopranos. couldn’t get into it.

  14. October 23rd, 2008 | 4:37 pm | #14

    Well, B-Sol, I think you saved me having to do a ‘Should I still be watching DEXTER’ post.

    RJ, you fool. MAD MEN is great television.

  15. Brian
    October 26th, 2008 | 9:41 pm | #15

    OK, I’m watching a little of this for the first time before ENTOURAGE comes on, and I have to say these southern accents are HORRIBLE. Do you get used to the cheesy acting after a while?

  16. October 27th, 2008 | 5:18 am | #16

    Yeah, you really do, Brian. You can’t just jump into the show half way through, won’t make any sense. Gotta acclimate to all its weirdness, first. But trust me, if you start the beginning, “TRUE BLOOD” is a fantastic show.

  17. Tyler
    August 2nd, 2010 | 7:40 pm | #17

    True blood is with out a doubt the best show I’ve ever seen. And I have seen a lot of them. The shield, mad men, and a lot of others are good shows. But if you watch it from the first episode, to the last, it is without a doubt the best thing you can watch.. and if you don’t agree you are either to young or to dumb.

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