The comforting sight of US cable channel HBO’s black and white logo – the one that precedes premium shows such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City and The Wire – signalled the terrestrial arrival of its latest eagerly awaited import, True Blood (Channel 4). This vampire drama’s already won a small but fanatical British following, having been tucked away on cable channel FX since summer, while smashing ratings records in the US. Last night the rest of us found out what the fuss is about.
As usual with HBO, the hype turned out to be justified. The first episode of True Blood was fangy, funny, stylishly shot and whip-smartly written by Alan Ball, the writer of American Beauty and creator of funeral parlour saga Six Feet Under, which was as fixated by death as True Blood and was also an HBO production. There was even a knowing scene where a mother told off her kids for watching horror on HBO.