True Blood’s Universal Appeal

March 14, 2010 by  

As Season 3 of True Blood approaches, the show’s success seems boundless, and its appeal limitless. Once little known (although well-seasoned) actors and producers – such as Sam Trammell, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgaard, and Alan Ball – are now household names. The series single-handedly revived Anna Paquin‘s career for a whole new generation of viewers that might not remember her Oscar-winning performance in The Piano. For author Charlaine Harris, the series has peaked interest and sales in her best-selling Sookie Stackhouse novels on which the show is based. The series has also spawned popular merchandise, including t-shirts, jewelry, posters, and even a drink, Tru Blood (Really, what other TV show has its own drink?). While fans contemplate what Sookie and friends will encounter in Season 3, considers the secret to the show’s appeal.

The site (rightfully) claims that the show’s greatest draw is its reach across genres – from drama to thriller and mystery as well as romance and a bit of comedy. Fans of 19th century Goth and fantasy will enjoy the vampire and supernatural themes and the gloomy and mysterious settings (including Gothic homes). Fans who are after quick wit and the tawdry will revel in Lafayette‘s snappy comebacks and the interplay between levels of authority (the town Sheriff and detective and the higher, mid-level, and newly-turned vampires). Fans of romance will find plenty of relationships to be entertained by – especially Vampire Bill‘s sweet and chivalrous, though dated, “courting” of heroine, Sookie. For those who are attracted to gore and horror, the show provides plenty of bites and fights to please. also recounts the underlying themes of the show which give it uniqueness but also the depth necessary for a “huge…TV hit”. The series is set in small town, Bon Temps, Louisiana where heroine, Sookie Stackhouse, makes her living waiting tables at Merlotte’s Bar and Grille. Vampires have recently acknowledged their existence and, simultaneously, minimized their threat since the Japanese invented synthetic blood, and they no longer have to prey on humans to “live”. While trying to find their way in the world and also acquire civil rights, the vampires that once remained secretive are now exposed. Vampire Queens and Kings rule vampire states, and Sheriffs ascertain authority over their own areas within them. The vampire organization retains its own system of laws and punishment, and, like any society, is divided among those wanting to assimilate in the modern world and those wishing to retain their more radical and antiquated ways (such as drinking human blood).

Bill Compton, Sookie‘s suitor and next door neighbor, wishes to fit in but finds himself continually at odds with the Area Sheriff and other vampires. While vampires struggle to find their identities, humans grapple with understanding the “undead” and the knowledge that other supernatural beings may exist. Although set in a fictitious world of otherworldly beings, the situations and problems the characters encounter are very real – the drug underworld with vampires and humans dealing “V”, or vampire blood; the challenges inherent in an inter-supernatural relationship; murder; blackmail; and death. also credits the writers and actors that bring the stories to life and allow the fans to buy into this unreality.

Season 3 of True Blood will begin airing in June 2010. In a sea of mundane writing and rehashed ideas, True Blood stands out as the show to watch for inventive storylines, astute dialogue, and emerging talent. Gaining momentum from Season 1, Season 2 brought back viewers to HBO, garnering as many as the finale of the hit series, The Sopranos. With a Season 4 confirmed, fans can look forward to a riveting continuation of life among the supernatural.


(Photo Credit:  HBO Inc.)

  • Kelly

    Antonio – Thanks! I do think (and I didn’t note this in the article because it may have sent me off on a tangent) that a big part of the show’s popularity is due to the current state of the world. I don’t think anyone wants to turn on a TV show and be reminded of the bad economy or their inability to get a job or hard times in general. This show gives everyone the ability to turn off their real lives for an hour. Not think about anything and just focus on the characters. To some extent, all entertainment does this, but I think the time was really ripe for a show of this kind (and the vampire/supernatural genre in general) as people are more open to anything and everything that is a distraction! I could go one for days about that…

    Also, I think you are right about the attraction of women to vampires who embody everything a woman thinks they want in a man…LOL. Personally, I am more of a Jason Stackhouse fan. I think Ryan Kwanten is a genius at making such a shallow character likeable. I also think Sam Trammell is fabulous, although I’d like to see Sam Merlotte quit pining for Sookie and move on! I am really curious about the new actors and characters coming this season. So far the casting has been genius, so I have great hope for the upcoming storylines!!!!

    Appreciate all the feedback from everyone:)

    • Antonio

      Jason Stackhouse is cool! I didnt like his character all That much at first,But,Like you said he kind of grows on you! He Does make a shallow,bumbling airhead likable..No small feat,huh? LOL I,Too like Sam. When I first started watching a while back, He was my favorite character on the show. I think that Bill and Sam are my faves because they are both struggling with themselves their internal conflicts and their desire for acceptance and a chance to redeem themselves to prove something perhaps that they are worthy of what they want. The thing that I find fascinating about Both of these guys,Is that they are loyal, and caring and can be noble and kind But They Also can show a darker side,too! Sam is a good guy but he has quite a temper and sometimes it flares up at the wrong times.
      Sam was deeply concerned about Sookie’s welfare~~he cares about her So much~~ But he let his temper get the better of him a few times with her …Don’t forget he pines for Sookie and he cant stand the fact the she is dating a vampire!
      Bill,Also has a darker,brooding preadtory side after all he Is a vampire! When you think you know all about someone it gets kind of boring its Only when they do something Out Of Character that you realize that there is More to them than you thought!
      Like Bill…In Ep.3 S1 with Malcolm,Diane & Liam, Glamoring a patrol cop OR attacking Sookie’s Great Uncle Bartlett!
      Funny how in 1 episode he’s telling her “Sookie,You are safe with me.” and in Another he’s yelling at her angrily “Sookie,She(jessica hamby) Is a Vampire She’s a loaded gun Not a doll for you to play with!”
      BTW that scene Was funny I laughed my head off!
      Neither Bill Nor Sam are perfect but they Do try to be better than what they are I guess you appreciate them making that effort,right?

  • Pingback: My Instant Ecovers | Twitter Right()

  • Antonio

    What an Incredible Article,Wow! Kudos to you! I agree that TB does have a more broadened appeal! You have managed to capture Why this show does So Very Well among Fans And Viewers alike!
    This show,Unlike Many others crosses several genres with almost effortlessly! There is something for just about Everyone! Romance,Suspense,Action,Violence,Gore Laughs and Sentiment..Not to mention Adult Language and Adult themed situations like Nudity and Sexual Content…Its Unbelievable! How many Tv shows out there today can make you laugh,cry,cringe,be turned on And think about socio-political issues All in the space of 1 Hour?
    Alan Ball and the writers have done an Amazing job with the show!
    Season 1 Is My Favorite! I hope that it lasts for several More seasons! Its a hot commodity now I’m sure it will!!
    Thanks again for the Article and Congrats on penning such a fine 1!
    PS: I write articles,Myself here So I know when 1 is particularly good. 🙂

    • Antonio

      That picture BTW is 1 of My Favorites!! They look So Cool in this!! 🙂 As Bill would say “Soo-keh is Mah-nn!” What else can i say? The show is Incredible and Very COOL!!
      Lines like Biil: You drank a lot o` mah blud
      Sookie: Whut’ll that doo too may? Southern accents included LOL 🙂

      • Kelly

        Thanks, Antonio! It’s nice to get some good feedback. This is my fifth article, and I am really enjoying it:) I’ll have to search around to find some of yours!

        • Antonio

          Welcome aboard Kelly! 🙂 I’ve been with TBNET since Nov. I have penned 7 articles here. If you want to check out some of my work, Go to where it says Editorials and look for Antonio aka Shifterman~~thats Me and then you cann check out 5 articles which i have written. There are 2 more but they are in the process of being edited for publication. As for Me, I’ve enjoyed writing editorials and articles and interacting with posters Immensely! Its been a Lot of Fun! If you have Any questions about writing here you can always contact Ollie adorebill and she can give you my email.
          Again Welcome aboard! Many of us here have a favorite or favorite characters,But, We are ALL Team True Blood!

  • I have to disagree on True Blood really reviving Anna’s career for a new generation. After all, most of us already knew and loved her as Rogue from the X-Men movies, if not from other movies like The Squid and the Whale, so it’s not like Anna was a complete unknown. Besides, if you check her IMDb page, you’ll see that she was still working, even when she wasn’t the paparazzi bait she is now. Anna has rarely been out of work since she started acting in 1993!

    • Kelly

      Isis – This is a fair point. I think what I actually meant was that her popularity has never been greater (since she won the Oscar), and I, personally, believe that is due to her exposure from the show (and, of course, her talent!). There is no doubt she has been continuously working, but I believe she is once again a household name because of the show. I appreciate your comments:) Helps me think through things before putting them to paper!


      • Kelly,

        Well said, but then again, I’m a TOTAL geek and I’ve adored Anna since Fly Away Home when I was about 7 years old, if I remember correctly… So I’ve been following Anna’s career for years (my favorite movie is Finding Forrester, another movie Anna was in). I do tend to forget that that’s just my opinion sometimes, though… 🙂

        And if you ever need help with anything when it comes to writing for the site, you can always ask. After all, we’re both doing our best to help advance the vampire love!

        • Kelly

          Thank you, Isis! I really appreciate that. I confess to needing some assistance putting my thoughts into words sometimes…LOL! Actually that is the case probably more often than not:) Have a good one and hope we run into each other here again!

          • 😀 Kelly, I write here too! Just ask AdoreBill for my email if you need help! I’m usually on Yahoo! Chat, and I’m always happy to help my fellow writers!

      • Nia

        Hello Kelly,
        I thoroughly enjoyed your article. True Blood has meant so much to so many and yes, has made these wonderful actors household names.
        If this was your first venture you have done a fanastic job!

        Although I was familiar with Anna since “the Piano” and of course “X-Men”, it is good to see her blossom in this new role.
        Perhaps some of that glow could be attributed to her off screen love as well, of which I am so happy for the both of them!!

        Isis, I also loved Anna in “Fly away Home”. Lovely film that made both my daughter and I cry.

        Your efforts to bring us news and fun is always appreciated. All the writers here deserve so much credit.

        Team True Blood!

        • Hey Nia! Just wondering if you knew that one of Stephen’s picks at the Oscars, Jeff Bridges, has worked with Anna twice, once as her father (Fly Away Home) and once as her lover (The Squid and the Whale)… Isn’t it amazing how magical Hollyweird is? LOL I wonder if Stephen knows that… 😀

          I also agree with the love offscreen contributing to Anna’s “glow” because… Love does that to you!

          • Nia

            Hi Isis,
            I think you have two Jeffs mixed up. It was Jeff Daniels who played Annas father in “Fly Away Home”. I remember because I saw it recently on cable!
            Actually they look somewhat similar these days. LOL!!
            Both are handsome. I have always enjoyed Jeff D. in all he has done as well as Jeff B..
            I have not seen the “Squid and the Whale”, Is it good????
            I am always looking for something new to watch.
            Take care!

          • LOL, Nia, I’m embarrassed! You’re right… But I saw recent pics and though the two were the same guy! My massive bad!

            Yes, The Squid and the Whale was good. I really enjoyed it!

            (And I SERIOUSLY know too many Jeff’s in real life! The short list I have in my head has over 30 on it!)

          • Nia

            Hey Isis did I catch you up??? I just got in from work and needed to wind down and post on my favorite subject.

            Please do not be embarrased!!!!! I had to think hard about it before I realized it was the wrong Jeff!! LOL

            I am going to have to watch “The Squid and the Whale”. We have to support all of our fine actors on this marvelous show!
            I will have to let you know what I thought of it when I get a chance!!

            Have a good night!

          • Yeah, but don’t worry about my mistake… On occasion, it happens to all of us!

            Have a great night, and I can’t wait to hear what you thought!

        • Kelly

          Thanks, Nia! I appreciate the feedback. This is my fifth article but probably my favorite thus far. I am such a huge fan. I swear I have watched every episode at least three times…LOL! I can’t decide which of the characters and/or actors I like best:)

          • Nia

            Hi Kelly,
            You are welcome. If I missed some of your prior articles, I appologize. Sometimes I fall way behind.

            I am also a huge fan of the show and love all the characters for who and what they are. But if I had to choose, I have to admit that is Bill that has captured my heart and imagination.

            I see him as a dark tortured soul on a long journey, finding his way back to his humanity, discovering love again, somthing he probably thought he could never do. Willing to change and sacrifice for that love. I find that so noble. It is something that is truly lacking in the real world. Maybe that is why I and so many find his character so vastly appealing.

            We will see more to his character as the seasons progress, but that is true for all the characters. I look forward to it all.

            I love True Blood for all it has to offer, I laugh, I cry, I cringe. And I can’t wait for more!!

            Team True Blood!

          • Antonio

            Kelly, Your article is Incredible. I think that you have touched upon what makes these programs/films so engrossing and appealing to So many! I think,And others have stated this too, That the reason Why Things like this are So popular is because
            1.The whole “Immortal Love” thing
            2. The whole “forbidden love” thing
            3. The element of danger,excitement
            Pretty much because the vampire offers a fantasy of remaining young and passionate,never aging remaining youthful,vital
            Who wouldnt want that,right?
            Plus in the case of Both Twilight AND True Blood, Edward and Bill are fiercely devoted to their gals and would love them forever and not think twice about risking their Own neck to protect and/or defend the objects of their affection/devotion
            Plus, The vampire is seen as an anti-hero of sorts. He’s devoted and loyal and passionate But Also has an element of danger and mystery! In the vampire the “bad-boy..rebel” and the “ardent lover” are 1 and the same! Its almost like Bella and Sookie get the “best of Both worlds” with their guys! I think this strikes a chord with a lot of gals because many of them may daydream about finding a guy who is both sensitive to her needs and a bit untamed and kind of wild enough to know what he wants! Of Course, This is just a commentary upon why the appeal of vampire related programming has become an immensely popular thing these days.
            You’ve done a marvelous job,Kelly capturing all of this