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August 30 2008

HBO's "True Blood" strikes while the vampires are hot. Alan Ball's new vampire show draws the inevitable comparisons with our BTVS.

I was a fan of Six Feet Under-- But I thought the last three episodes were an insult to the integrity of the show. Ruth mourns, grieves and recovers in ONE final episode...and I found that a truly stupid ending for another wise ground breaking show.

Buffy was not about "weird", it was about being human, adolescence AND growing up. And.....yes kids... Season 5 and Season 6 were about death and mourning. So when I saw Ruth being "ok" only a short time after the death of her son-- I not only balked but found it repugnant-- the show after all was about how the family was emotionally stunted.

But I will watch this one with an open mind.
Ruth mourns, grieves and recovers in ONE final episode...and I found that a truly stupid ending for another wise ground breaking show..

What ? she doesn't recover, she's absolutely devastated, but the final episode takes place a while after her son's death.
I thought Six Feet Under had the best series finale ever, it was just perfect.

I don't see how True Blood can be as good as SFU, or Buffy, but I will definitely watch it.
I think I will check it out just because HBO made the only series that came close to the brilliance of the whedonverse - Deadwood.

Hang on a minute, they cancelled Deadwood afer 3 seasons, and promised Movies that never happened. Now where have I heard something like that before? Oh well I'll still give a shot.
Come on guys this isn't the same concept as Buffy, so comparisons are like saying a Ferrari & a Humvee are the same - I think the same is being applied here, because someone says Vampires, they compare it another show that had vampires in it.

I think you will find the show has very little to compare with Buffy (at least not what I've seen).

Maybe this show will open a few eyes, but I would not want people to make any comparisons 'before' it has aired - If you are lucky enough to see a preview I think you will agree that this is some different that has not been shown before (or at least different enough to be something new)
Based on the 4 Charlaine Harris novels I've read (of the 8 total in this series that TRUE BLOOD is based on), and the leaked pilot I saw, and everything I've read and watched about this show, I think it's pretty safe to say that comparisons to BtVS, ATS, MOONLIGHT, or even TWILIGHT are not really in the right neck of the vampire woods. In a manner of speaking, heh.

It's on the continuum of Anne Rice and NEAR DARK.

And just because you enjoyed SFU, certainly doesn't automatically mean you'll be enjoying TRUE BLOOD, natch. But Ball is a clever enough fellow, in general, to make it worth a try.
I've read quite a few of the books on which the series is based, and while I did not love the writing, and found the complexity of the paranormal world created a little over-elaborate (way too many kinds of were-animals, for example), I thought that the ideas had a lot of potential..for tv. So, I'm glad to see someone as gifted as Ball is giving it a shot, and hope it turns out to be a good show.

Watching a few interviews with Ball, I got the feeling that he is a little bit worried that the vampire thing will scare off some of the viewers he's looking to reach-or something like that. Cause he's said a couple of things that don't seem to jibe, although they are not absolutely contradictory.

At one point, he says he's never watched Buffy or read an Ann Rice book; at another point that he's checked out just about "every vampire movie ever made." Why would some one do one, and not the other? He can't possibly think he's the only person ever to use vampire mythology metaphorically?

Anyway, I think it has possibilities...the main character, a waitress, is a very down to earth character who happens to be able to read (most) minds, and doesn't take herself too seriously.
The first promos HBO did for the show were a series of pseudo news bulletins which were truly lame. However, some of the "making of" promos that HBO has up for subscribers show more promise. I'm looking forward to it. I'm also expecting a truncated run, given HBO's record, although True Blood will be cheaper to produce than Rome or Deadwood.

It appears that a major theme of True Blood is going to be the vampire as surrogate for various despised and feared minority groups. There are also race and class issues in the books which will at least be touched on in the series.

The obvious parallel to Buffy is the romance. I agree with ProGirl on the Anne Rice connection; it's most obvious in the vampire night clubs.
My liking or not liking True Blood will not be based on Buffy/Angel, or any other vampire-influenced works, but on how well Alan Ball executes his ideas for it, and based on his prior work. The books weren't the most well-written prose, but very entertaining. And the heroine with a special gift, well, she has other issues that touched me, so at least it's a place to start of being open to the experience.
Anna Paquin's blonde in it? I'm out...
ManEnoughToAdmitIt - It's a surprise, I know. But I went to set back in April and I gotta say it works well on her. I've never thought she was terribly attractive until I saw her in person. I didn't even recognize her until I heard her rehearsing lines. And by the way, she's much improved her southern accent since her days on X-Men.
Yeah I haveta say, the physical attractiveness of Anna Paquin is one of the few things in the (early, pre-air) pilot I couldn't find any fault in.

(she plays her really well too I thought, quite a few issues with the rest of it but she was pretty decent. And pretty pretty too ;)
It would be good to have another intelligent vampire show around. Provided, of course, one of the Australian networks buys and actually shows it.

That said, using metaphor to explore persecution of minority groups has been done before - anywhere from Dark Angel and BSG to Harry Potter.
I watched a leaked version of it (with some scenes missing) and I actually liked it. Paquin beeing blonde was a bit getting used to, but it suits her. Lot of interesting stuff going on which I'm not going to spoil :P But it has humor and horror in it, so that's good.

Loved Paquin's southern accent (I love that accent anyway :D)

I'm going to watch it when it officially airs.
That said, using metaphor to explore persecution of minority groups has been done before - anywhere from Dark Angel and BSG to Harry Potter.

Not to mention X-Men, maybe the prototype for that idea.
I was watching The Starter Wife, a new series with Debra Messing on USA, earlier today. I realized that a man she's in a relationship with looked very familiar to me, so I checked. Sure enough, it's Stephen Moyer, Bill Compton in True Blood, playing American. Southern American as Bill. Good actor, you'd never know he's British. He's blond on Starter Wife, dark-haired in True Blood, so I guess it's hair-reversal with him and Anna. But Sookie is supposed to be blond so there's no mystery with that choice.
Wow, he kinda looked familiar but now I know why, didn't realise he was a Brit. He's got all sorts of UK TV credits ('Casualty', Midsomer Murders', the usual) but maybe more relevantly, he played Jack Davenport's vampirised partner and friend in the brilliant UK vampire series 'Ultraviolet'. So he's clearly got the undead experience ;).
He played Jack Davenport's vampirised partner and friend in the brilliant UK vampire series 'Ultraviolet'.

Ah, that's why he looks so familiar! But he looks a lot older than in Ultraviolet. On a different topic, what a shame Ultraviolet only ran for one season.
You can rent the first episode at Blockbuster, I have it in hand, but I have to wait till my kids are done watching a movie before I see it.
I think the nearest TV series comparison is probably "Alien Nation" -- group that has some actual physical differences to humans (faster, stronger), some trying to assimilate, some resenting the concept of assimilation, provoking various reactions in humans -- curiosity, friendship, xenophobia -- with whatever cultural-ethnic-religious-class parallels one wants to draw. By the way, for anyone seeking the inevitable "Buffy"/"Angel" casting crossover, John Billingsley plays the coroner in "True Blood." :)
Also, milk gets them drunk. Wait, I might have that wrong.

And yay, I like John Billingsley.

But he looks a lot older than in Ultraviolet. On a different topic, what a shame Ultraviolet only ran for one season.

Well that was 10 years ago now, we've all passed a lot of water since then ;) and the character's presumably meant to be old too and have that "heroin chic" thing going on. And yep, real shame they didn't do more 'Ultraviolet', I think there was plenty of room for them in the mythology. Course, Idris Elba might not have got 'The Wire' in that case, big clouds from little drops condense.
You can rent the pilot episode for free at Blockbuster.

I rented it on Friday, but haven't watched it yet.
ProgGrrl, shout-out for "Near Dark" -- a powerful and underrated contribution to the genre. I wasn't a big fan of SFU but I'll give "True Blood" a try when it gets to DVD.
I watched it. I have mixed feelings about it, but I'll save my review till next week on SyFy Portal.
Okay, I watched the pilot DVD. I really liked it, though it had some flaws. It remains true to the spirit of the books, and though right now I can't imagine it reaching Six Feet Under levels of brilliance, it will most certainly be one to watch.
Oh, my. I know who Stephen Moyer reminded me of now that I re-watched the True Blood pilot last night. The second time he comes to Merlotte's and asks Sookie if he can call on her; the way his face is lit, his voice, just like Kurt Russell (who, in an interesting aside, I'm watching right now in Escape from New York).
One more thing if anyone is checking in on this topic: Premiering episodes Sept. 5 - 8 on HBO will be viewable online by folks who don't aren't HBO subscribers, which means you can watch True Blood on 9/7. I hope they don't edit though. Showtime does that when they offer a free view of first episodes.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2008-09-02 03:11 ]

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