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True Blood: Season 1 (2008)

DVD Cover (HBO Studios)
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6.7
 / 10
13 votes
Movie Connections:
True Blood
> True Blood: Season 1 (2008)
> True Blood: Season 2 (2009)
> True Blood: Season 3 (2010)
> True Blood: Season 4 (2011)
Genres:
Fantasy, Prime-Time Drama, Supernatural Drama, TV Horror, Vampire Film
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Review by Chad
Added: June 18, 2009
Let me just point out right now that True Blood is a show that I had zero interest in from the time that I head about it up until a few days ago. First of all, even though the novels have received a great reception from their fans, I have to admit that I've never read them, and thus, that did nothing to entice me. Secondly, a television series has to be intriguing to me before I sit down for the first episode; I can't really justify devoting twelve-plus hours to a season when the general concept behind the show doesn't do anything for me. Finally, and this was the real kicker, I'm just not that big a fan of vampires in general. Those bloodsucking beasts are one of the few horror staples that I could never find an interest in, so sitting down with twelve hours of a show devoted almost exclusively to them? It didn't sound like my idea of a good week in front of the tube. However, I was persuaded to check out the show by the female of the house, and I'm really glad that I gave it a chance as even though it's not a perfect show, True Blood is a damned entertaining one.

The show is set in a universe where vampires have come out of the coffin, so to speak. Thanks to the invention of a synthetic blood that can technically fulfill their nutritional needs, vampires no longer have to suck the blood of the living if they choose to live a life of peace. Thus, they have made themselves known to the general public, they freely walk amongst the living and go to the same bars and restaurants as the breathers, and they're even struggling to gain civil rights for themselves much to the chagrin of the religious and the racist.

This brings us to a small Louisiana town, where we meet up with Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a young lady who happens to have telepathic powers. Thanks to being able to hear the thoughts of everyone around her, she's found it hard to ever find a man to spend some time with; after all, how can you date a guy who is thinking of nothing more than how great your tits look? She lives with her grandmother Adele (Lois Smith) and spends a good deal of time looking out for her dimwitted brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten), but her life is about to get interesting when a vampire named Bill (Stephen Moyer) walks into the bar where she works.

You see, Sookie can't hear Bill's thoughts, and even though she has no idea why, she immediately grows intrigued to this guy based on the fact that she can finally be around someone who she doesn't have to focus on telepathically ignoring... and after they become friends, Sookie starts to realize that she's falling for this undead man. Of course, this doesn't go over too well with either her best friend Tara (Rutina Wesley) or her boss Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell), as they feel that vampires are nothing more than bloodthirsty beasts who will turn on a human in a heartbeat. That's fine and dandy, it's not as though people have never had to convince their friends that their chosen partners are actually quite good for them... but when so-called "fang bangers" (women who have sex with vampires) start turning up dead around town, Sookie realizes that she may be next. This is the setup for the season, and it just goes from there with loads of twists and turns thrown in for good measure.

What makes this show work is the characters and the story, in that order. These are some of the best-written characters that I've seen in quite some time, and watching the leading lads and ladies interact is truly a treat thanks to a combination of great acting and even better writing. What really shocked me was how well the minor characters worked out, with a special nod going to the gay short-order cook Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis). This guy in particular was stealing scenes left and right, but much to my surprise, he wasn't written as the stereotypical gay man. Even though he was quite flamboyant and even though the character pulled a few laughs, he was never written as a comedic relief crutch. That pulled a sigh of relief out of me. Rene (Michael Raymond-James) is another good character, but unfortunately, we don't get to see a whole lot of him throughout the season. More of him would have been better, and these are but two of the characters that I enjoyed.

I also enjoyed the writing that drove the storyline throughout the season. It follows a typical format (one main storyline, several minor ones used to flesh out the characters), but it was done so well that there's really nothing that you could bitch about. The main storyline, that of the fang banger killer, was quite good and held my interest throughout the course of the season, and the minor subplots each served their purpose of expanding upon the characters or making things a little more intriguing for all involved. Some of them were a little weak, but there was nothing that was downright bad. I do have to admit that the first episode was a little shaky in setting everything into motion, but after that rocky start, the season took off and never looked back.

Overall, True Blood is a show that managed to win me over even though I'm not a fan of vampires - that in and of itself should tell you something about the quality found within. I wouldn't go so far as to rank it amongst my favorites and I can't say that this season was perfect from start to finish, but taken as a whole, the entire affair is extremely enjoyable - probably more so if you're actually a fan of vampires and want to see a different take on the mythos. 8/10.
Recommended Movies
True Blood: Season 3 True Blood: Season 2 True Blood: Season 4 Dexter: Season 3 Dexter: Season 2 Dexter: Season 6 Dexter: Season 4 Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 2
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 06/18/2009, 01:13 PM
I watch just about every show HBO puts out, and they're almost always good. This one didn't blow me away, but it was still enjoyable. Puhlenty of attractive women, too. Attractive AND nude. That alone beefs the rating up a few points. I imagine I'll stick with it and check out the second season.

8/10
385 #2: 385 - added 06/18/2009, 05:00 PM
Watched this show religiously, and it's been a LONG time since I was so into a show that I made sure I was in front of the tube when it aired. Seriously looking forward to Season 2.
Griffinheart #3: Griffinheart - added 06/21/2009, 03:16 PM
I have seen better, but this is one of a small set of shows that are pretty solid. I'd recommend it, and 8/10 sounds dead on.
grain of sand #4: grain of sand - added 06/21/2009, 09:10 PM
Second season has been a lot more gory, pretty fun.

I'm into the show quite a bit..
Lucid Dreams #5: Lucid Dreams - added 07/02/2009, 08:11 PM
I didn't like this at first, but I gave it another shot and it's pretty good. I hope season 2 is good.
bluemeanie #6: bluemeanie - added 07/14/2009, 03:10 PM
My favorite current show. Gets better and better. I can't remember being this excited about a show in years. 10/10.
The Red Clover #7: The Red Clover - added 07/31/2009, 06:49 PM
In a generational divide where our screens both small and big are littered with sparkling faggots pretending to be vampires, this show is a broad step towards the good ole' days where a vampire was a primitive, blood-thirsty predator. Not an idiot who shines in the sun. 10/10
Mojokc #8: Mojokc - added 09/02/2009, 07:25 PM
Finally got around to watching this per chad's recommendation and I must say I'm hooked. Very good series both me and the wife can't wait to watch more.
Ginose #9: Ginose - added 08/14/2010, 04:40 PM
First season was okay. Second and, so far, the third are terribly acted and shallowly cliche, right down to the characters and plot devices.
Enjoyed this season, alright, but I do not care for the show overall.
8/10
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