With True Blood, Six Feet Under’s Alan Ball has found a series with depth, dark humour and bite in equal measure, as Suzanne Black discovers
The TV schedules have succumbed to a plague of bloodsucking parasites ever since Buffy staked her first vampire. But have vamps lost their bite? True Blood puts the allegorical power back into the fangs of the undead, and triumphs over the genre’s other offerings.
Starting life as a series of supernatural detective novels, True Blood hits UK screens this month. The second series is currently airing in the US, with its first episode hailed as the most watched programme on subscription channel HBO since the final episode of The Sopranos.
Published in 2004, Dead Until Dark was the first of Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mystery novels. It supposed a contemporary world where vampires had gone public and, thanks to a synthetic O-substitute called Tru Blood, renounced that pesky bloodsucking habit in favour of campaigning for civil rights and a legitimate place in society. With an interesting concept but a disappointing delivery, it had definite screen potential. Alan Ball, well-known from his deadpan funeral parlour show Six Feet Under and also the scriptwriter of that haunting portrayal of suburban ennui, American Beauty, was perfectly placed to realise it.