True Blood, Season 1

I have been seeing a lot of postings on blogs that I follow that are about “True Blood”, the HBO series based on the “Southern Vampire Mysteries” book series by Charlene Harris.  A couple of people at work have also told me how much they enjoy the show as well.  I finally decided to check out the show and borrowed the first season on DVD from our library.  Over the past two weeks Scott and I have gotten caught up in the lives of Sookie Stackhouse and her “friends” in Bon Temps, LA.

“True Blood” imagines a time when vampires have “come out of the coffin” to live among humans.  Because of the invention of synthetic blood, vampires have no need to feast upon human blood any more.  However, that does not mean that all humankind is eager to welcome vampires out of the darkness, metaphorically and literally.

The lead character in “True Blood” is the aforementioned Sookie, a telepathic waitress at Merlotte’s, the main hangout in Bon Temps.  Sam Merlotte, the owner, is in love with Sookie, but Sookie has learned how to force herself to not hear the thoughts of her family and friends.  So, she is unaware of Sam’s feelings for her.

Sookie has lived with her grandmother, Adele, ever since her parents died in a flash flood when she was a child.  Sookie’s older brother, Jason, is a big presence in her life as well.  Jason is not very bright, and is always finding a way to get himself in trouble.

Sookie’s best friend is Tara, who has spent her life taking care of her alcoholic mother.  Tara exhibits all of the stereotypical signs of an adult child of an alcoholic: trust issues, the need to care for everyone and suppressing feelings in order avoid confrontation.

The final main character in “True Blood” is Tara’s cousin,  Lafayette.  He is a cook at Merlotte and a fabulously out gay man.  Lafayette also happens to be an “entrepreneur” and is the town’s dealer in vampire blood or “V”.  V is a powerful substance that enhance all of a human’s senses with just one drop.  Naturally with such a euphoric effect, obtaining vampire blood is an opportunity for huge profit, but which comes with an obvious risk.

The whole town is turned upside down when Bill Compton, a 140-something year old vampire strolls into Merlotte’s.  Sookie is immediately drawn to him, especially by the fact that she can’t hear his thoughts.  She can finally relax and be with someone without the fear of intruding on his innermost thoughts.

The mystery of season one is that women who have had sex with vampires are getting murdered.  Suspicion falls on Jason, but we, the viewers, know that Jason is innocent.  Sookie becomes the killer’s next target after her relationship with Bill becomes common knowledge.

Along the way, we find out that vampires living among the living is not the only strange thing happening in Bon Temps.

We both became quite hooked on the story.  Harris has done a great job of combining the vampire tradition with the Southern Gothic novel.  The cast is sexy and fun to look at.  We were also amused by the very obvious parallel between the “vampire rights” movement in the series and the modern-day gay rights movement.  The shows go out of the way to make this connection very clear by having a sign that is shown in the opening credits with the phrase “God Hates Fangs”.

Now I’m excited about getting the second season from the library.  I’m told that even more strange things happen in it.  Unfortunately, the library has three sets of DVD’s and as of now, I am 30th on the waiting list.  The Louisiana Bayou will just have to wait.

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