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.)