Wednesday, March 18, 2009

True Blood: Something to get your teeth into

...And now comes the HBO telly drama True Blood (Prime, Wednesdays, 9.30pm), an adaptation of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels by none other than the illustrious and highly original talent Alan Ball (creator of Six Feet Under, and Oscar winner for American Beauty).

True Blood arrives here with its credentials well established; a second series commissioned after just one episode; and a best actress Golden Globe for its Kiwi lead, Anna Paquin, who really does dominate the show.

Ball certainly can take a script and run with it; so what kind of spin does True Blood put on the hoary old story of the feisty babe who's a sucker for a bat man?

It imagines a world where, thanks to the invention of synthetic blood, vampires are coming out of the closet and claiming their rights - only at night, of course - to live free from human discrimination and intimidation. They even have an attractive, sober-suited woman fronting their cause who, rather than fanged and blood-stained, looks reassuringly like a "moms for teen sexual abstinence" campaigner.

Add a strong helping of southern American gothic, with its setting of a Louisiana backwater town where intrigue and prejudices breed like mosquitoes in the bayou. Inject with humour - roadside signs proclaim "God hates fangs" and women who sleep with vampires are dubbed "fang-bangers" - and a bit of graphic sex, although for sexual out-there-ness it's no match for the likes of Californication.

Read on NZHearald