In deep and swampy Bon Temps, rural Louisiana, a tall dark and handsome stranger walks into Merlotte’s bar making Sookie Stackhouse’s heart beat just a little faster because this cool customer’s heart doesn’t beat at all. He’s Bill Compton – gorgeous, brooding and very undead.
Welcome to True Blood, the newest hit series from Alan Ball, producer of Six Feet Under. Based on New York Times Bestselling Author Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels, this wonderfully dark, atmospheric and bitingly funny show take us into America’s Deep South where the vamps have come out of the coffin and are fighting for the right to exist in the human world.
You see, Japan has found a way to make synthetic blood which they have called Tru Blood and vampires no longer need to feed off humans to survive although some still very much want to.
The town of Bon Temps is shaken to its foundations when a series of murders take place…right about the time the town gets its first real walking, talking creatures of the night and Sookie’s world gets a little shake up of its own when she finds herself irresistibly drawn to a man who is 142 years her senior. You see our little blonde and perky Southern gal is no damsel in distress. Although an innocent and slightly naïve waitress, she is also intelligent, courageous, plucky and downright sexy…and did I mention she’s telepathic? And to Sookie’s absolute delight she cannot hear Bill’s thoughts although the rest of her world is a cacophony of voices; some spoken, some just thought, but Bill is utterly silent to her and that is overwhelmingly peaceful and breathtakingly exciting. For once she has no idea what the person she is speaking to is thinking of her. After a lifetime of people thinking she is a freak, his mind is like a cool sip of homemade lemonade.
In the first episode, much to the horror of her co-workers, Sookie reads the thoughts of two ‘drainers’ – the Rattrays – low-life scum who capture vampires and drain them to sell their blood which has become one of the most potent and sought after drugs a human can have. Drainers bind their prey with silver chains to weaken them and drain them of every last drop. No more blood – no more vampire. So our intrepid Sookie follows the nasties out into the woods behind Merlotte’s bar and proceeds to save the demon in distress. She picks up a huge chain from the back of her brother’s pick-up truck and in one mighty fine swing clocks Mack Rattray over the head and wraps the chain around the rat’s neck almost choking him. The couple scurry away screaming threats of vengeance while Sookie tries to figure out how to save Bill while not getting herself bitten.
A weakened vampire is a hungry vampire and Sookie is a tasty young morsel. After freeing Vampire Bill from his chains she watches in awe as the burns on his skin start to rapidly heal. Bill then mentions the juicy arteries in her groin and offers her the blood which was taken from him as a way to say thank you. Vampire blood or ‘V Juice’ fetches a high price. When Sookie is disgusted by both comments Bill is pleased. He asks her to keep the weakness with silver from everyone and she agrees and thus begins the story of Telepathic Sookie and a possible new love interest – Vampire Bill.
The characters in True Blood are as diverse and interesting as any in an Alan Ball Production. As well as Sookie and Bill, there is Sam, the owner of Merlotte’s bar who carries a not so subtle torch for our young heroine and a big secret of his own. There is Jason Stackhouse, Sookie’s older, not so bright, sexy (and sex mad) brother who is more than a little vampaphobic. Jason certainly has a way with the ladies and hardly two brain cells to rub together and because of his constant catting around with every available female in the district finds himself prime suspect number one in the recent murders, not the least because he also has a penchant for rough sex and videotapes and was with both women just before they met their demise.
There is Tara, Sookie’s best friend with a mouth that just keeps getting her into trouble. Tara was practically raised by Sookie’s Grandmother while frequently escaping to their house to prevent her alcoholic mother beating her. Tara’s extremely flamboyant homosexual cousin Lafayette, who is the short order cook at Merlotte’s (and some time drug dealer). Sookie’s friend Arlene, four time married and divorced but still always on the lookout for Mister Right.
The Stackhouse kids were raised by their grandma when Sookie and Jason’s parents were killed in a flash flood when they were children. Grandma is a character you instantly like. She is delighted to have a real vampire in the town and one who fought in the Civil War. Perhaps young Sookie could convince Mr Compton to be the guest speaker at her club honouring the ‘The descendants of the Glorious Dead’, soldiers who died through the civil war? Grannie is quite taken by Bill the True Southern Gentleman and is happy for him to court her Sookie.
But Bill isn’t the only Vampire in the district and some of them aren’t quite so keen to blend in with the humans when they’d rather play with them and discard them. There are no shortage of willing victims in fangbangers, the groupies of the vampire world who willingly give their blood.
Bon Temps has just gotten a little more exciting…
Over the next few posts I’ll be doing features on the cast and delving a little into this shadowy new world. A world where many of its citizens only come out after dark. A world where many other citizens want to see the undead dead. Really, definitely dead.
I’ll also be looking at both the series and the books that spawned it, the fanbase and merchandise which is growing by the minute. I’ll also take a look at the actors and provide a few bios.
Sookie and Bill have a very potent on-screen chemistry that positively sizzles. I can’t say I was surprised to hear that chemistry spilled over into real life with the actress Anna Paquin and the actor Stephen Moyer becoming a real life couple.
Although True Blood certainly won’t be the only vampire subject of my blog – there will be many more – it’s been a while since we’ve had a really decent vampire show on TV, you know something you can really sink your teeth into…
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