TRUE BLOOD SEASON TWO REVIEW (Or Why Nick C. Still Thinks Vampires Suck But Now In A Naughty New Sexy Way)

VAMPIRE DIARIES debuted to a huge opening for THE CW.  I said last year it had to be a hit, and it is (for now).  Vampires are IN.  If you’re someone wondering how to breathe life back into daytime soaps, I suggest bringing back DARK SHADOWS.  Vampires are just the hot topic for a lot of non-goth right now.  While vamps were extremely successful with the Goth crowd of the 90s, vampires seem to be a far larger cultural phenom right now and there is no better example than HBO and their series TRUE BLOOD, which on Sunday Night ended its second season run.

TRUE BLOOD is easily the most successful show for HBO or Subscription TV since THE SOPRANOS.  Just like Tony and his underworld dealings with the mob enticed viewers into watching some rather twisted actions, Sookie Stackhouse has dragged in some rather strong numbers for some rather twisted actions as well.  THE SOPRANOS was just about the best damn show on TV.  TRUE BLOOD is no where near the quality in the major categories of writing, directing, or acting.  What TRUE BLOOD does is entertain, and entertain well.  TRUE BLOOD does have the best title sequence on TV though, and it’s leagues better than what THE SOPRANOS had for a title sequence.

I get a lot of heat from the twi-moms out there for my firm stance on the show being mostly trash.  It’s just extremely entertaining trash.

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Anna Paquin is one of the best actresses alive yet even she can’t really provide great work in the show.  The lines are many times awful and even great acting talent (and there is plenty of talent on the show) can’t spit them out in a believable manner.  That however all doesn’t really matter.  For the most part the people are H-O-T, and the plot jumps around more than Q-Bert.  Don’t get too interested in any characters either because they’ll just end up dead too.

In fact if you read the books the series was based on, don’t get too caught up in characters from the book either.  The producers have no problem letting people live who die in the books, or killing people who live in the books.  Good for them.  No, I haven’t read the books.  I’ve listened to people who claim to have (since I haven’t read them, how would I know if they were being honest?).

This season was much better than last season.  Last season was just another example of “What stupid things will Sookie or Jason do this week?”  Which now that I think about it, is basically the exact same formula as this past season.  It’s just that the stupid things were a bit more believable this season.  Don’t get me wrong, Sookie Stackhouse has to be one of the dumbest lead characters to ever grace a major TV drama.  She’s dumb.  She makes the dumb girls in horror movies look smart in their decision making skills. The fact that she gives out advice is one of the funniest aspects of the show.  Just because she can read minds doesn’t mean she has one.

However that is what makes the show that much better.  If Sookie wasn’t so stupid, we’d never see the events build up to the point that they end up at.  Despite Sookie being dumb, the other characters seem to be fleshed out much better than what the books provide (Again second hand info).  The climax to the season was substantially different than the book it was based on.  We get glimpses into further character development with major characters like Sam Merlotte, and Jessica. It’s by no means a poorly written, it’s just not SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION or THE SOPRANOS or THE WIRE or… you get the picture.

The show is part soap opera, part soft porn, and part horror.  The mix is intoxicating and I’ve never really been a fan of soaps or soft porn, yet this show reels me in every Sunday.  It’s a major guilty pleasure.

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Yet when you have actresses like Deborah Ann Wool and Anna Paquin running around in next to nothing (or actually nothing) it’s hard for a straight man to ignore.  However, there is plenty of eye candy for the ladies as well.  This is just a show that seems to have one major rule:  Some major character must take their shirt off before the episode ends.  Heck, a friend once compared it to DREAM ON, an early HBO show that always had some T&A thrown in for apparently no other reason than “We’re on HBO and we can do this.”  To make things even better another rule for the show also seems to be “someone must die before 2 episodes pass,” and they die in some neat and exciting ways.  Plus a Stackhouse is generally involved or blamed for it.

The show is most definitely a guilty pleasure, but I’ve decided to not feel guilty about it any more.  Is it trash?  Sure.  It’s damn fine entertaining trash.  Season 2 is much better trash than Season 1, and it’s a shame people will have to wait until next summer to buy the box set.

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4 responses to “TRUE BLOOD SEASON TWO REVIEW (Or Why Nick C. Still Thinks Vampires Suck But Now In A Naughty New Sexy Way)

  1. I didn’t like the finale. It was structured poorly. However, episodes 7, 8,9 were great. Especially the Godric scene on the rooftop. Why has Alan Ball had so much trouble with the dialogue? What is being done to fix it?

  2. In it’s sense of weirdness I can almost see a touch of Twin Peaks. You tune in to see what thing that you could not possibly anticipate is going to happen.

  3. I adore True Blood. And I’m totally vampired out, but TB is just so entertaining. I admit that the last few episodes, including the finale, weren’t as great as some of the others this season, but I still enjoyed it. Great cast and it’s a lot of fun.

    I’m glad you’re back! Any news on the CW and Melrose Place? It’s numbers are atrocious despite all of their advertising, and I wonder what it means for DO and her plans to stick with reboots.

  4. I was really excited for the Dark Shadows pilot they had done back in 2004. The script was solid (even though it was a rehash of the 1960s and 1991 versions) and at least some of the casting – including Martin Donovan as Roger Collins and Gilmore Girls’ Matt Czuchry as Willie Loomis – was fantastic.

    The casting of Alec Newman and the design there was a bit off, and unfortunately there was a lot of drama going on between everyone involved on the creative side. A lot of the drama, I hear, came from original Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis, who was insisting on doing what he couldn’t do back in 1991, which didn’t do too well then either.

    I finally saw the pilot at a convention and it was decent – certainly not “bad.” But, unfortunately The WB passed on it (probably to avoid all the drama) and Angel fans weren’t too keen on the idea anyway, since Angel was canceled the same year DS was set to begin.

    Funnily enough, I thought an interesting Barnabas – since I knew the WB would go young and hot – would have been Ian Somerhalder.

    I think one of the reasons I enjoyed The Vampire Diaries was because it reminded me a lot of Dark Shadows – something I didn’t clearly recognize until well after I had seen the pilot. I hope it does well for The CW – if only to get them away from the “pretty young rich girls” genre. It could also prop up fellow genre shows Supernatural and Smallville well, even though both of those series are in their last (or next to last) years.

    The CW could be in trouble though if MP keeps failing and The Beautiful Life is DOA. Life UneXpected is a fantastic pilot but they may need to fill multiple holes.