Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This New HBO Series, True Blood . . .

I just watched the second episode of True Blood. Okay, I don't get what everyone's problem is with this show. I think it's great! Not the best thing (yet) to come out of HBO's original programming, but it's still early. I've been reading some sites, and apparently a lot of the negativity comes from a pre-released screener of the pilot that was made available earlier this summer. Apparently that pilot was edited or changed (along with some re-casting) to the version that eventually aired on September 7. And apparently the same people who bitched and moaned about the rough pilot did not bother checking out the new "pilot"/season premiere.

Anyway, I don't have the same issues everyone else who did watch the premiere has. According to many, the phony southern accents are what turns them off. Since I'm not southern, I can't attest to that. As long as I can understand what's being said, I'm fine. Are these people caricatures of southerners? Perhaps. But I think they're more caricatures of human beings, period. Which, I would guess, is the tone the producers are going for. Not having read the books this series is based on, it could be that this was the tone of the source material as well. So, again, I don't have a problem with this.

Maybe the show is not enough Buffy the Vampire Slayer for some folks? I mean, there's no Scooby Gang or Watchers, or cheerleaders staking vamps through the heart. But I don't see how this is a bad thing.

So far I'm liking the slow build the show is doing. The characters are quirky and the humor is off-beat. Anna Paquin steals the show for me, but I also like some of the supporting actors a lot as well. Rutina Wesley, who plays Sookie's best friend, Tara, shines in particular. She's a virtual unknown talent previously seen as the lead in the forgettable dance movie, How She Move -- but don't hold that against her. Wesley has this charming vulnerable side to her behind the tough, bombastic barrier Tara puts up to shield her from the stupidity of strangers. When she lets her guard down around the Stackhouse family, it's a joy to watch. You see a lot of this vulnerable side of her in the second episode.

Ryan Kwanten, who plays Sookie's dim-witted Lothario of a brother, Jason, is also very good. You want to hate him for the man-slut that he is, but somehow the actor's able to convey a softness and likability to the dumb rogue. Not bad.

I was taken aback by the abrupt turn the end of the episode takes. In a good way. It seems Sookie just got herself caught up in a dicey situation. I mean, the episode went from lovey-dovey to real HOLY SHIT, HOW IS SHE GOING TO ESCAPE THIS MESS? in like 2 seconds flat. Kinda like the end of the premier episode, except you saw that one coming a mile away. This time it was a complete surprise. Even more so because my girl Aunjanue Ellis showed up in the scene as a sexy, evil vampiress that was just completely out of the blue! She's not even credited for the show on her IMDB page! I can't wait to see how this all turns out next episode.

I get the feeling Sookie's crush, Bill the Vampire, cannot stand up to his brethren without Sookie's help. Should be interesting.

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