What’s it about?
Based on a series of novels called The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, HBO’s True Blood is set in a parallel universe where vampires live alongside humans. But any parallels to Twilight which may be coming to mind can stop there. Think Brothers Grimm meets Brothers Cohen. Forget angsty brooding teens and soft-core non-romances with super-natural let-downs, True Blood set in a fictional town called Bon Temps in Louisiana, America’s Deep South and is sexy, gritty, dark and dirty.
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The series centres on the adventures, romances and trials of Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin), a small-town waitress with latent supernatural abilities. She struggles to form lasting relationships with humans, but finds herself becoming romantically involved with a vampire, Bill, after discovering that, strangely for her, she can’t read his mind. Bill shows Sookie a world of vampires and monsters just under the surface of her Louisiana town, and becomes entangled in a supernatural conflict beyond anything she could ever imagine.
Bill Compton was ‘turned’ into a vampire during the American Civil War, against his will. Unlike other vampires, Bill holds onto his human memories and emotions, because of this he tends to show more compassion towards humans than his supernatural counterparts.
Sam Merlotte is the owner of the diner where Sookie works “Merlotte’s”. He is the first non-vampire supernatural introduced into the series – a shape-shifter, often assuming the form of a dog to watch over Sookie, whom he adores and protects. Despite supporting Vampire Rights, he is initially disapproving of Sookie and Bill’s relationship.
The flamboyant Lafayette Reynolds is quite the character in Bon Temps. He’s the cook at Merlotte’s Diner, a drug dealer and vampire blood seller. Lafayette’s distribution of vampire blood becomes a key plot point at the start of the series as it gives humans super-natural abilities and induces opiate-like effects. Despite his outward persona, he knows how to defend himself and is a formidable ally for humans and vampires alike.
Tara is Lafayette’s cousin and Sookie’s best friend. Because of her ability to read people, she tends to alienate herself with candid and open remarks. She’s the bartender at Merlotte’s, where she is thrown into the supernatural conflict.
What’s going on?
The series is set in a complex and meticulous universe, where vampires battle it out with other super-naturals beings to survive, often at the expense of the human world.
True Blood touches upon numerous contemporary issues, such as the struggle for equal rights, discrimination and violence against minorities, drug addiction, faith and religion, identity, family and the influence of the media. The seventh and final season aired earlier this year and saw Bon Temps attacked by a hoard of vampires infected by a virus called Hep V. The attack throws the town into chaos as Sookie and her allies come up with a plan to defeat the infected vampires. The series sees some much lamented deaths and unexpected alliances.
The complete series is now available on DVD box-set and is definitely, without doubt, worth a binge.