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.
Tags: True Blood