Thursday, September 3, 2009

Disengage your brain for 'True Blood's' finale

From Chicago Tribune

We're used to top TV dramas evoking elegant meals, six-course affairs full of rich textures and witty constructions. We know we'll usually need time to intellectually digest these savory feasts.

No such time is needed for "True Blood" (which, after a Labor Day weekend break, airs its Season 2 finale 8 p.m. Sept. 13 on HBO). "True Blood" isn't a carefully assembled feast. It's a jam-packed, all-you-can-eat buffet served with a side of crazy.

That recipe -- which creator Alan Ball has effectively tweaked since the show debuted last year -- has turned the populist vampire drama into a huge hit: The Aug. 23 episode of "True Blood" attracted 5.3 million viewers, a figure that doubles when repeats are added in. Those are smoking-hot numbers for a premium cable channel.

Halfway through the show's increasingly addictive second season, I realized the mistake I was making with "True Blood." I'm not trying to insult the show by saying it's no "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel," but it isn't. There's no deeper meaning here. Metaphor, schmetaphor.

Sure, most of the vamps on the show, most notably the devilishly charismatic Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), are sexy, hot rebels doing whatever they want with whomever they want. There's no denying the appeal of those hedonistic appetites in these stressful times.

But "True Blood's" attempts at more obvious metaphors -- the depictions of the vamps as an oppressed minority and the portrait of their opponents as repressed hypocrites -- have generally been clunky and unsuccessful.

The show excels as a "Perils of Pauline serial, but one with lots of sex and crazy shenanigans in the woods. "True Blood" works best as a suspenseful beach read come to vivid, Southern Gothic life.

The show mostly defies analysis, intellectual probing and the search for subtext. As Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) put it, "The time for thinking is over." Exactly.

Every Sunday night, it's a chance to turn off your brain and enjoy a show that jams four or five episodes' worth of incident, plot and jaw-dropping moments into 50 minutes.

Part of the reason "True Blood" is such a mass hit is that its characters are easily recognizable types: Newbie vamp Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) is the awkward yet fetching ingenue, Eric is the sexy stranger with a dangerous streak, Maryann (Michelle Forbes) is the crazy aunt, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) is the tart-tongued cousin and Bill is the slightly befuddled father figure. The recently introduced vampire queen Sophie-Anne ( Evan Rachel Wood) is the kind of mischievous diva you can find in any number of Bette Davis films.

How will the season end? Will the finale be a train wreck full of dangling story threads and plot holes? Sure, why not?

I don't expect elegant resolution from "True Blood." I expect an exhilarating, messy spectacle.

And you can count on one thing: There will be blood.,0,6483640.column

Anna Camp ( Sarah Newlin) Chats About Her Role On 'True Blood

From Starpulse

It's interesting you say that, because getting into "True Blood," I can see some things Blanche and Sarah have in common.

Yeah! I didn't even think of that, but definitely. They're both these Southern women who have this idea of what it means to be a Southern belle. And sort of, revolting against that but feeling confined by that ... that's true! I didn't even think of that. But they definitely have similarities.

The interesting thing about Sarah is that she's a really high powered woman in a lot of ways, and very intelligent, but she keeps on trying to be the woman behind the man rather than just coming out of her own shell. And she seems to resent that in time with Steve, so it'd be interesting to see her come out as a leader, what do you think?

I know, I would love to see her totally break away from the Fellowship of the Sun or take over the Fellowship of the Sun. You know, and really see what she can do, because I think now that she feels betrayed by Jason and her husband - because her husband didn't give her all the information about the war and everything - I think she could really take over and go crazy. (Laughs) Or I would like to see her really lose all faith in God and go searching for her own path, and find her own world, and really hit bottom before she can rise up out of it again. So I think there's great potential for the character, I hope that the writers think so too.

Oh I think they do. They gave you more and more to do as the show went on, probably because your portrayal of Sarah was interesting because there was a lot going on under the surface. She seemed on the surface to be a typical preacher's wife and then there's all these little things that came out. She became a very three dimensional character as the story went on. I think a lot of people would love to see more from her and maybe see her with Jason down the road to see what happens.

Yeah, I hope something really crazy happens to her. It's funny you say that, Alan Ball actually when we were first shooting he said that he had this idea of what Sarah was, and how it was pretty black and white. And how she was pretty dead set against the vampires, and just wanted to seduce Jason purely because she wasn't attracted to her husband anymore. They did say that through watching what I was doing with each episode, they began to make it more real and make her really believe that she was lost and needed to find love again and she was doubting everything that she had known for the past ten years, being with her husband. It's cool you noticed that.

The Fellowship of the Sun was actually really developed well, and I think the whole thing with Sarah and that she used to be a sympathizer to vampires. I think that was one of the most interesting things to come out of that storyline, because it was so how Sookie or someone else could go if things went a little wrong. That's what made her a more complicated character than some of the others.

Exactly, you don't know what you're capable of believing if something happens to you personally. And you want to go off on revenge or try to make something right, but when something happens to you personally ... how your beliefs change and how you put these blinders on. It's something that could happen to anybody in the world, and I think they did a good job of showing that Sarah is not just this spiteful power-hungry woman but she's definitely hurt and lost and looking for answers.

Absolutely and when Sookie got there and Sarah was very sympathetic to her, and almost wanted to save her from what was happening, and that was again a redeeming quality about her character.

I'm just so thankful that they gave me a three dimensional character to play, and I had the best time working on that show, so I'm glad you like it. I'm really excited especially for the last two episodes.

Oh good so we do see the Newlins again!

Nooo, well, I can't really ... (laughs). I can't really say that. But I love the show.

But you were a fan of the show before you got cast right?

Yes, I actually just did this interview and they asked me how I got involved, I actually auditioned for Sookie!

Can you give us any spoilers about whether the Church will have a role in next season?

Well I can't really, but I think it would be crazy if we didn't come back because the Fellowship is such a strong group. If we just sort of vanished and our whole cause was just sort of done and gone I don't think that would make much sense. I'd like to see us come back, and I think it would make sense to have us come back. We could either tie it up or we could be fighting the vampires. The vampires need to have that force to be fighting against, to live in society and be fighting against something besides other supernaturals is part of the show I think, that sort of balance.

I think one of the major parts of the show is actually the human hatred of vampires and the fear of vampires, more than the supernatural elements. The Fellowship kind of represents that.

Yeah I do too. I think that it's such an interesting concept because you go back to all the metaphors of what the vampires are representing in society today ... any minority or gay people or anything like that. And I think to have that force looking down upon it really creates an interesting and dynamic story. I'd like to have that back (laughs) for more than one reason!

(Laughs) I think we'd all like that too. I was watching a scene recently, it's the one with Jason's fantasy of Sarah when he was starting to look at her in a different way and she's cooking....

Oh (laughs) right yeah!

Was that hard to shoot? There are so many funny things that happen with Sarah and Jason, I can't imagine keeping a straight face for that!

It was crazy and it was all improv, I improv'ed all of that! So the director Michael Raymond that day and Alan Ball wrote that episode, all it said in the script was Sarah licks barbeque off her finger, that's it! And they said they wanted me to ... they had the music blaring and they were like 'just dance.' We did it a couple of times and then they were like 'we're going to make it like his fantasy, so just go all out! Go go go, go farther then you think you'd ever go.' And I was like 'really?!' There's a lot of stuff they didn't use that I was just like laughing and breaking up I'm sure, because it was definitely a funny fun way over the top scene to shoot. I'm happy that they picked out a couple of moments I didn't even know they were going to use.

I watch the show with a whole group of people and we're all really into it, and when you did the last line 'I hate your hair!' we all burst out laughing.

I'm glad, I'm glad you thought it was funny! I love the dynamic and working with Michael McMillian, and he's really funny too. We sort of clicked and I think he plays his character very well.

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Write your own 'True Blood' episode!

If you do this at EW also post a copy here !

Sookie and I will will read some of them on the radio show Sunday night or you can call in and talk about yours..

*Dallas, under her breath grumbles a little about how some of the fans I know could have written a better ep 11 ;)*

As we all know, there’s no new True Blood episode this Labor Day weekend. The season finale is Sept. 13.

But should we do without True Blood this weekend? Hell, no! Today I’m inviting you to participate in my “Write Your Own True Blood Episode” competition.

Here’s the deal:

Starting now until Sunday at 9 a.m. EST, please use the Comments section below to write a quick summary of the True Blood episode you wish was airing this Sunday, Sept. 6.

All I’d like is a few sentences, sketching the outline of a plot. You can keep it simple: Describe an episode in a way similar to those “log lines” that your cable provider gives you. You know, like, “Bill asks the Vampire Queen for help; Sookie and Lafayette try to save Tara but encounter an angry Maryann” — that sort of thing. (If you want to refresh your memory about last week’s episode, here’s my Watching TV blog on it.)

The key is to describe plot and character elements that fit into the current storyline, that you know would please and amuse show creator Alan Ball, book author Charlaine Harris, and be fun for your fellow fans. It’s your chance to write the imaginary second-to-last episode of Season Two!

Alan, Anna and Stephen - just because I really like this photo

Mehcad Brooks moves from True Blood to The Deep End

I'm sort of glad to hear that Mehcad Brooks is leaving HBO's True Blood to join the cast of ABC's midseason legal drama The Deep End. At least, I hope that's what it means.

Between his character Benedict "Eggs" Talley, whiny Tara Thornton, and shaky Maryann Forrester, I won't be sorry to see that whole storyline come to an end. And if my recent conversation with Alan Ball means what I think it means, Brooks probably won't be returning. Well, maybe. Stay tuned for that interview.

While Brooks' recent roles have given him plenty of fodder to work with -- he also starred as a mysterious guy with a troubled past on Desperate Housewives -- I'd like to see him in a show where he can really get down and dirty. The Deep End is set at a prestigious law firm, and Brooks will play an associate named Malcolm Bennet.

True Blood: Jason Stackhouse recomends some Armageddon/ Zombie reading

Nice to see that Jason is a reader, having recently read the best selling 'Oral History of the Zombie War' by Max Brooks.

Here is Jason is talking to Andy and Sam in episode 11:

AB: Sheriff's station was wide open and empty.They ain't gonna help.

JS: Then we have got to be the law. Guys, I read a book about this. This is Armageddon.

Oral History of the Zombie War. We need weapons, lots of them.

SM: I hate to break it to you, but guns aren't gonna do jack shit to Maryann.

Below is Max talking about his book , this might help you and buy the book below ! Remember Step one is learning to work together !

Sam tells Eric "until somebody starts trusting someone, we're all single targets"

Straw Dogs filming invades Louisiana

True Blood / Sookie promotional events to include blood drives

I think all the principals (Harris , Ball, HBO and the cast) in this would agree that the single best thing the True Blood / Sookie world could do would be to encourage fans to become a blood donors.

As part of the True Blood tasting parties in Chicago with Nelsan Ellis they are having blood drives and remember, when Charlaine spoke in Chicago ares earlier in the summer they did the same thing with the " Vampires Have Hearts, Too!" campaign with LifeSource..


Just like some “friends” of theirs, the University of Illinois Medical Center is looking for all types – A, B or O, positive or negative. RCN is proud to sponsor the following Blood Drives:

    Our Next Eternal Blood Drive will be:

    When: Thu. Sept. 17th, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Where: DePaul University
    Cortelyou Commons
    Address: 2324 N. Fremont Street, Chicago, IL

    When: Thu. Sept. 24th, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Where: Loyola University
    Bremmer Lounge of Centennial Forum Student Union
    Address: 1125 Loyola Ave. across from the Gentile Center

Here you can also read about The Vampire Diaries “Starve a Vampire. Donate Blood.” campaign.

Also, have you watch all the webisodes prequels for VD ? Watch here

Joss Whedon: Master of cult TV

From Entertainment Weekly

For the second class in our
EW University course on TV Auteurs, Prof. Adam B. Vary offers this overview of the TV career of Joss Whedon, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Dollhouse. Also, check out this photo gallery of our favorite shows by four legendary showrunners.

What Stephen Bochco (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue), Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons), and Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone) were in the 20th century television, Joss Whedon has become today: Nothing less than a television brand. His name alongside the “Created by” credit during the opening titles guarantees you are about to watch a show that swings for the fences; a show as keenly attuned to its female characters as its male ones; a show that tackles Big Ideas and Big Themes without skimping on Great Entertainment; a show that is unafraid to Go There, from allowing the lead heroine or hero to make some profoundly unlikable choices to killing off a beloved character; a show that is steeped in genre tropes yet also lovingly tweaks them; and a show that has a tone, style, and voice so singular that it’s earned its own adjective: Whedonesque.

And yet Joss Whedon has never been at the helm of a bone fide mainstream hit. From his seminal first series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to his current distaff genre series Dollhouse, Whedon has instead become a master of cult TV, fostering a small(ish) but rabidly loyal fan base for each of his series. A critics’ darling if ever there was one, he has failed, however, to win the respect of Emmy voters, who have — in the unimpeachable opinion of Whedon fans everywhere — unforgivably snubbed his shows, their writers (well, mostly), and their actors. No matter. If all he had done was make Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s first three seasons, Whedon’s place in the TV firmament would be secure. As it stands today, his ongoing body of work is a testament to the heartening truth that unique and uncommonly great network television is still possible in an era dominated by reality TV and endless procedural crime show spin-offs.

read on

True Blood Goes to the Movies: Anna stars in Trick r Treat

Pre-order it today for you Halloween watching pleasure.

Warner Home Video
have announced the 2 DVD release of Trick ‘R Treat on 6th October 2009. This horror anthology from writer-director Michael Dougherty stars Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker and Leslie Bibb.

Extras include:

  • “Trick r Treat: Season’s Greetings” animated short with optional commentary by Director Michael Dougherty
  • “Trick r Treat: The Lore and Legends of Halloween: Narrated by Brian Cox, this edgy pieces explores Halloween past and present… the dead come to life…saints become sinners…and a new movie thriller is unveiled, as we explore the surprising origins and myths (both old and new) surrounding this scary, sexy celebration.
  • “School Bus FX Comparison” - A side by side comparison of CGI added to the horrific scene of the school bus falling over the cliff.
  • Additional Scenes with optional commentary by Director Michael Dougherty

Forbes : Hollywood's 10 Most Powerful Vampires

We're talking movie and television characters, not agents and executives. Which are the most popular and most lucrative?

Last week, the co-chief of HBO stood in front of a throng of television critics raving about the premium network's latest success. Though previous landmark series were built on gangsters and urban fashionistas, the latest ratings coup for the hitmaker is built around … vampires.

It's not surprising that True Blood has been a boon to Time Warner's HBO. Since Bela Lugosi hit the screen as Dracula in 1931 these bloodsuckers have proven to be near-sure-fire moneymakers for Hollywood, tapped and retapped by producers looking to lure bodies into seats.In Pictures: Hollywood's 10 Most Powerful Vampires

"Vampires have become a substitute for fairy tales that adults couldn't tell themselves anymore," says William Patrick Day, professor of cinema and English at Oberlin College and author of Vampire Legends in Contemporary American Culture: What Becomes a Legend Most. "Vampires are dangerous and sexy and powerful and they have what humans want--immortality."

Read on

What’s New on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books List

What’s New on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books List

Here’s the latest book buzz from USA TODAY with a highlight of tomorrow’s Best-Selling Books list:

True Blood, the popular HBO series inspired by Charlaine Harris’ novels about cocktail waitress/telepath Sookie Stackhouse, has been a shot in the arm for Harris. Every title in her nine-book series — as well as a separate boxed set — is in USA TODAY’s top 100 this week, and four are in the top 50. Before the series premiered in September 2008, there were never more than two in the top 150.

Charlaine Harris : Gifts on the Road

Charlaine writes from Femmefatales ( yeah, don't bring her gifts to her signings I have her mailing address if you have something you need to give her. )

September 02, 2009
Gifts on the Road

I love to meet my readers face-to-face, and I try to give them a little bit of me in return for all the time they've spent reading my books. In their kindness, some of them try to give me a little bit of them. A tangible bit. This is both charming and alarming.

For those of you who've packed for touring before, you know how valuable every square inch of suitcase is. You know how heavy that suitcase can be when you have to swing it up on a luggage rack or pull it off the conveyer belt at the baggage pickup. Some readers let their generosity sweep away the practical aspects of a woman living out of a suitcase.

Sure, I love food that is a specialty of the region where I'm signing. But blueberry jelly in a glass jar is really not something I can take with me when I've got five more cities to go. Coffee-table-size books, no matter how much I might want to look at them, are also (here's a favorite word) contraindicated. Like any sane woman, I love chocolate. But it melts when you have to pack it, especially in the late spring and summer.

A gift that almost made me gush was a handmade bookmark. And the first thought that crossed my mind? How grateful I was that it would be easy to pack, and I would get to enjoy it and use it.

Have any of you gotten strange or unusable gifts? How did you handle it?

True Blood Music Video of the Day: My Immortal by Evanescence

Thanks tenxxrose