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True Blood: Season 1
BLU-RAY disk
06.15.2009 By: Aaron the H
True Blood: Season 1 order
Director:
Alan Ball

Actors:
Anna Paquin
Stephen Moyer
Ryan Kwanten

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In modern day America, vampires have come "out of the coffin" and now live openly amongst the humans, and not everyone is happy about it. When a mysterious vampire strolls into the backwoods town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, all hell breaks loose.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I can equate my experience watching True Blood to my experiences with another guilty pleasure: BEER. When I was a mischevious young teen, we used to have the town slimeball buy us 24-packs at the local mini-mart. We’d drink to be cool and get wasted, and sure, it didn’t taste horrible, but for the life of me I couldn’t understand how older people actually enjoyed the taste of this stuff. Yet here I am, 12 years later, sitting at my computer, craving an ice-cold brewskie. True Blood grew on me in much the same way (it took slightly less time).

At first, you’re not quite sure what to make of this series. A show about vampires dealing with prejudice and human rights violations? Sounds too intellectual. Wait there’s crazy hot chicks and ripped redneck dudes boning like rabbits 24/7? Sounds too sleazy (yeah right). But people have magic powers like shape-shifting and mind-reading and super-human strength? What the heck is this thing?! The answer to that last question isn’t easy, but if you give the show some time, keep on drinkin’ that beer- er, blood...well you may just find yourself hooked.

Anna Paquin leads an EXTREMELY colorful cast as Sookie Stackhouse, a smokin’ hot southern gal who possesses the unfortunate power of being able to read everyone’s thoughts. And what dark and dirty thoughts they all have. The show, in its own sadistically comedic way, tries to show us how sick and perverted society has become. Meanwhile, vampires are the new African-Americans, fighting for their rights and acceptance in America (the difference being most vampires actually are evil here).

Enter Bill Compton, played with multi-dimensional perfection by virtual unknown Stephen Moyer. For a vampire, the dude is a saint (albeit one I wouldn't want to f*ck with). Watching the complex ups and downs of his blossoming relationship with Sookie makes the teenie-bopping Twilight “saga” feel as emotional as Sesame Street. Think less brooding and whining and more screwing and yelling (and blood-sucking).

To keep things suspenseful, the story is woven with a brutal and unpredictable murder mystery that left me guessing till the season finale. Add in some sultry Cajun scenery and a sexy bluegrass-meets-grunge-rock soundtrack and you've got a show with a flavor unlike anything I’ve seen on TV (its not TV…its HBO!).

As for complaints? Well, not to play up stereotypes, but for such a small [southern] town, there seems to be quite a plethora of Maxim-worthy babes and GQ-esque dudes; even if they do wear pounds of cheap makeup and flannel shirts. Sookie's mind-reading act gets old fast since everyone's always thinking the same vile thoughts. Lastly, since the show tries so hard to be a little of everything- mystery, dark comedy, romance, social commentary, it doesn’t really EXCEL at any of them. But hey, you don’t watch a show about vampires cuz you think it’ll win awards (although Paquin did win one). It’s supposed to be fun, gory and sexy, and yep this is all three. At the end of the day, it may even sneak a little lesson in there. Can’t ask for much more.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary on 6 episodes by featured cast and crew: Series creator Alan Ball (of American Beauty and Six Feet Under) is just one of many writers and directors to weigh in on the various tracks. You know the drill: some of these are great, some ain’t, but most flow pretty well. I recommend listening to Anna Paquin’s (episode 2). She’s cute just to listen to.

Enhanced Viewing Experience: This is one of those “picture-in-picture” functions you can view while watching the episodes. Let me issue a strong warning though. Because of the poorly designed nature of this track, only turn this on if you’ve seen the series at LEAST one time, although I’d recommend waiting for a third viewing. There are some great little vampire bios that pop up on the bottom of the screen every time a new vamp is introduced, as well some occasional hints alluding to some of the eventual surprises revealed later in the season. Also on this video track are some really great Tru-Blood commercials (the synthetic blood substitute vamps drink in the series) and a few other funny vampire-related vids.

But the downfall of this track is the insanely annoying and way too frequent presence of Lafayette (one of the shows more unique and badass personalities). He pops up every single frickin’ time a new character is introduced (even if it’s someone we never see again!) and weighs in with his pointless thoughts on any and everything, talking right over what’s happening on screen, making you miss many crucial elements in the show. So again, only turn this on if you already know the show by heart (or just turn it OFF everytime he appears in the bottom right corner).
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If you loved the show, the DVD won't dissappoint. If you've never seen it, maybe give this series a rental and take it for a test spin. Remember my crappy beer analogy though. Give it at least 6 episodes and see if it goes down smooth.
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