True Blood

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True Blood
Genre Drama
Created by Series:
Alan Ball
Charlaine Harris
Starring Anna Paquin
Stephen Moyer
Sam Trammell
Ryan Kwanten
Rutina Wesley
Chris Bauer
Nelsan Ellis
Jim Parrack
Adina Porter
Carrie Preston
Michael Raymond-James
William Sanderson
Alexander Skarsgård
Lynn Collins
Lizzy Caplan
Lois Smith
Stephen Root
Opening theme "Bad Things"
by Jace Everett
Composer(s) Nathan Barr
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 24 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Alan Ball
Running time approx. 55 min.
Original channel HBO
Original run September 7, 2008 – present
External links
Official website

True Blood is an American television drama series created and produced by Alan Ball. It is based on the Sookie Stackhouse book series (also known as The Southern Vampire Mysteries) by Charlaine Harris. The show is broadcast on the premium cable network HBO in the United States. It is produced by HBO in association with Ball's production company, Your Face Goes Here Entertainment.[1] It premiered on September 7, 2008. The show has been renewed for a second 12-episode season, which will reportedly begin in June 2009.[2]

True Blood details the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional small northern Louisiana town. The series centers on Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress at a bar, who falls in love with vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer).[1][3]

The series has been critically acclaimed and won several awards, including one Golden Globe, for its first season.


[edit] Production

[edit] Development

Series creator Alan Ball had previously worked with premium cable channel HBO on Six Feet Under, which ran for five seasons. In October 2005, after Six Feet Under's finale, Ball signed a two-year agreement with HBO to develop and produce original programming for the network. True Blood became the first project under the deal, after Ball read the first book in Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead Until Dark.[4]

Ball was early for a dentist appointment one day when he was browsing through Barnes and Noble and came across the book. Enjoying it, he continued reading the series and halfway through the third entry, Club Dead, became interested in "bringing Harris' vision to television."[4][5] Ball then contacted Harris about adapting the material and both thought that television was the ideal medium for the series. Ball has said, "The scope of Charlaine's books really lent itself to a series more than just a movie … [because I felt that condensing] it into two hours would do it a disservice." Additionally, Harris had previously been approached by others about adapting the books as a film, but declined due to creative differences. She agreed to go work with Ball, however, because she "became convinced that he understood the agenda of the books … and that he would do [them] justice."[5]

The project's hour-long pilot was ordered concurrently with the finalization of the aforementioned development deal and was written, directed and produced by Ball.[1][4] Cast members Paquin, Kwanten and Trammell were announced in February 2007 and Moyer later on in April.[6][7] The pilot was shot in the early summer of 2007 and was officially ordered to series in August, at which point Ball had already written several more episodes.[1] Production on the series began later that fall,[8] with Brook Kerr, who portrayed Tara Thornton in the original pilot, being replaced by Rutina Wesley. Two more episodes of the series had been filmed before the 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike shut production of the 12-episode first season down until 2008.

[edit] Music

Gary Calamar, the music supervisor for the series, said his goal for the soundtrack to the show that is to create something "swampy, bluesy and spooky" and to feature local Louisiana musicians.[9]

Composer Nathan Barr writes the original score for the series which features cello, guitar, prepared piano and glass harmonica among other instruments, all of which he performs himself.[citation needed]

The main theme song is "Bad Things" by country music artist Jace Everett, from his 2005 self-titled debut.[10].

[edit] Viral marketing campaign

Promotional poster

The premiere of True Blood was prefaced with a viral marketing/ARG campaign, based at This included setting up multiple websites,[11][12][13] encoding web address into unmarked envelopes mailed to high profile blog writers and others, and even performances by a "vampire" who attempted to reach out to others of their kind, to discuss the recent creation of "TruBlood", a fictional beverage which is featured in the show.

A MySpace account with the username "Blood"[14] had, as of June 19, uploaded two videos;[15] one entitled "Vampire Taste Test - Tru Blood vs Human",[16] and one called "BloodCopy Exclusive INTERVIEW WITH SAMSON THE VAMPIRE".

A prequel comic was handed out to attendees of the 2008 Comic-Con. The comic centers around an old vampire named Lamar, who tells the reader about how TruBlood surfaced and was discussed between many vampires before going public. At one point, Lamar wonders if TruBlood is making the world safe for vampires or from them.

Several commercials featured on HBO and[17] aired prior to the series premiere, placing vampires in ads similar to those of beer and wine. Some beverage vending machines across the US were also fitted with cards indication that they were "sold out" of TruBlood.

Thousands of DVDs of the first episode were handed out to attendees of Midnight Madness, a special screenings event of the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.

Blockbuster Video provided free rental of the first episode of True Blood several days before it was broadcast on HBO. The video had a faint promotional watermark throughout the episode.

[edit] Plot summary

Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have supposedly been removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.

Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. "Cursed" with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But as Sookie is drawn into a series of mysteries surrounding Bill's arrival in Bon Temps, that tolerance will be put to the test.[18]

The first season's plot revolves around the murders of young women in the town of Bon Temps. The likeliest suspect is Jason, Sookie's brother, who has had sex with several of the victims and has developed an addiction to V-juice (vampire blood). At first, Sookie wonders if her brother is guilty, but then thinks he is not; at the urging of her grandmother, she begins to use her gift to try to solve the mystery. As Sookie attempts this, her grandmother is also murdered. Her boss, Sam, acts suspiciously and Bill, her vampire love interest, is also a possible suspect. As Sookie investigates the murder, she wavers between loving Bill the vampire, and her boss Sam. She finds out that Sam is a shapeshifter and can turn into a dog.

The murderer turns out to be Rene, a man who works with Jason and frequents the bar at which Sookie waits tables. He has been killing women he suspects of sleeping with vampires, including his own sister. Sookie stumbles on to this information after being driven home by the murderer. There is a chase during which Sam the shapeshifter attacks Rene in dog form, and Bill the vampire goes out in daylight to try and save Sookie, even though he nearly burns to death. Both of these heroic efforts fail, and Sookie herself kills Rene with a shovel left in the graveyard.

The season ends with the arrival of an immature vampire named Jessica, whom Bill sired, coming to live with him against his wishes, and the discovery of a body found in the car of local detective Andy Bellefleur. At the end of the first season, the body has only been identified as an African-American with brightly painted toe nails. It is likely, though not necessarily, that of short-order cook, Lafayette Reynolds.

In a separate storyline, Tara, Sookie's best friend, begins a sexual relationship with Sam. Tara is led to believe that she suffers from possible demon contamination; she has been traumatized by her upbringing by an alcoholic mother.

There is a brief encounter with the vampire hierarchy, including the sheriff of area five (which includes Bon Temps), Eric, and his second-in-command, Pam. In the last two episodes, a wealthy "social worker," who travels with a pig and has an unrevealed secret power, enters the story.

[edit] Cast and characters

[edit] Main characters

[edit] Supporting characters

  • Detective Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer), the detective investigating Jason Stackhouse.
  • Arlene Fowler (Carrie Preston), a waitress working with Sookie.
  • Hoyt Fortenberry (Jim Parrack), a friend of Jason and Rene.
  • Sheriff Bud Dearborne (William Sanderson), the town sheriff.
  • Pam (Kristin Bauer), assistant to Eric and bouncer in his bar; "made" (turned into a vampire) by Eric.
  • Maryann (Michelle Forbes), a wealthy "social worker."
  • Lettie Mae Thornton (Adina Porter), Tara's mother.
  • Terry Bellefleur (Todd Lowe), cousin of Detective Andy Bellefleur, Iraq war veteran, and bartender at Merlotte's.
  • Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), a young girl "made" by Bill as a part of his punishment for murdering a fellow vampire.
  • Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), Tara's cousin, short order cook at the bar, a homosexual drug dealer and prostitute.

[edit] Deceased characters

  • Rene Lenier/Drew Marshall (Michael Raymond-James), Arlene's "Cajun" boyfriend who works on the road crew with Jason Stackhouse.
  • Longshadow (Raoul Trujillo), first bartender of Fangtasia
  • Dawn Green (Lynn Collins), Sookie's co-worker and friend, Jason's girlfriend.
  • Amy Burley (Lizzy Caplan), Jason Stackhouse's bohemian, drug-addicted love interest.
  • Adele Hale Stackhouse (Lois Smith), Sookie and Jason's grandmother, nicknamed "Gran".
  • Eddie Gautier (Stephen Root), a vampire supplying V for Lafayette.
  • Maudette Pickens (Danielle Sapia), a local woman who videotapes sexual encounters with vampire Liam and with Jason Stackhouse.
  • Malcolm (Andrew Rothenberg), Liam (Graham Shiels) and Diane (Aunjanue Ellis), vampire acquaintances of Bill Compton who live together in a "nest" and don't wish to mainstream.
  • Mack Rattray (James Jean Parks) and Denise Rattray (Karina Logue), a lowlife couple who attempt to drain Bill Compton of his blood.
  • Uncle Bartlett (Cheyenne Wilbur), Sookie's pedophile great-uncle.
  • Neil Jones (Kevin Michael McHale), coroner's assistant and closet fangbanger.

[edit] Reception

The overall critical reception of True Blood has generally been favorable, but initial impressions were mixed, ranging from overwhelmingly positive to very negative. Many critics have praised the show for its originality, storytelling and aesthetics; others have criticized it for being "muddled" and resorting to stereotypes in its characterizations.[19]

[edit] Ratings

True Blood debuted at a very modest 1.44 million viewers compared to the network's past drama premiers such as Big Love which premiered at 4.56 million, and John from Cincinnati which debuted at 3.4 million.[20] However, by late November 2008, 6.8 million a week were watching: this figure included repeat and on-demand viewings.[21]The season finale's viewership was 2.4 million. True Blood has reportedly now become HBO's most popular series since The Sopranos and Sex and the City.[22]

[edit] Awards and Nominations

Year Group Award Result For
2008 Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television Won Nelsan Ellis
Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Series, Drama Won Anna Paquin
2009 American Cinema Editors Best Edited One-Hour Series for Non-Com Television Won Michael Ruscio & Andy Keir for episode Strange Love
Art Directors Guild Episode of a One Hour Single-Camera Television Series Nominated Suzuki Ingerslev for episode Burning House of Love
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama Won Anna Paquin
Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series - Drama Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors Best Sound Editing - Short Form Dialogue and ADR in Television Nominated For episode The Fourth Man in the Fire
Writers Guild of America New Series Nominated Alan Ball, Brian Buckner, Raelle Tucker, Alexander Woo, Nancy Oliver, & Chris Offutt
Saturn Award Best Syndicated/Cable TV Series Nominated
Saturn Award Best Actress on Television Nominated Anna Paquin

[edit] Off-Beat Awards

True Blood won two 2009 awards at "Mr Skin's 10th Annual Anatomy Awards," which celebrate sex and nudity in motion pictures and television. True Blood won Best TV Show, and Lizzy Caplan won for "Best First-Time Nude Scene."[23]

[edit] International distribution

Country Date of Premiere Channel
Canada September 7, 2008 HBO Canada
October 22, 2008 Canal+ Scandinavia
Spain December 4, 2008 Canal+ Spain, Cuatro
France December 23, 2008 Orange Cinemax
Portugal December 23, 2008 MOV
Israel January 6, 2009 Yes Stars Action
Brazil January 18, 2009 HBO
Latin America January 18, 2009 HBO Latin America
Belgium February 1, 2009
Czech Republic
February 3, 2009 HBO
February 6, 2009 HBO
Poland February 7, 2009 HBO
Asia February 9, 2009 HBO Asia
South Africa[24]
February 10, 2009 Showcase
Italy March 2009 Fox Italy
United Kingdom April 2009 FX (UK) followed by Channel 4
New Zealand March 18, 2009 Prime

[edit] DVD Release

According to HBO's official online shop, the DVD and Blu-ray release of Season One is set for May 19, 2009.

True Blood: The Complete First Season
Set Details Special Features
  • 12 Episodes
  • 5 Disc Set
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles:English
  • English

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d Schneider, Michael (2007-08-09). "HBO rolls with Ball's 'True Blood'". Daily Variety. Retrieved on 2008-03-20. 
  2. ^ Bloomer, Jeffrey (2008-09-25). "Despite rocky start, HBO picks up True Blood for a second season". Paste Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-11-01. 
  3. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2007-08-10). "Ball bringing new 'Blood' to HBO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on 2008-03-20. 
  4. ^ a b c Time Warner, of which HBO is a subsidiary (2005-10-31). HBO Concludes Exclusive Two-Year Television Deal with Six Feet Under Creator Alan Ball. Press release.,20812,1124432,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-03-20. 
  5. ^ a b "True Blood SDCC 2008 Pt 2". Youtube. 2008-07-24. Retrieved on 2008-08-17. 
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2007-02-26). "Paquin finds 'True' calling for Ball, HBO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on 2008-03-20. 
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2007-04-07). "Moyer, HBO make 'Blood' pact". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on 2008-03-20. 
  8. ^ Mitovitch, Matt Webb (2007-08-10). "True Blood Vampire Saga Tests Positive at HBO". TV Guide. Retrieved on 2008-08-17. 
  9. ^ Five TV Shows To Enrich The Ears In '08 by Chuck Crisafulli,, January 02, 2008.
  10. ^ Tucker, Ken. "True Blood - TV Review". Entertainment Weekly.,,20222109,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-10-22. 
  11. ^ "BloodCopy". Retrieved on 2008-06-19. 
  12. ^ "RevenantOnes". Retrieved on 2008-06-19. 
  13. ^ "". Retrieved on 2008-06-19. 
  14. ^ " - Blood - 28 - Male - SHREVEPORT, Louisiana -". Retrieved on 2008-06-19. 
  15. ^ "MySpaceTV Videos: Blood Video Channel". Retrieved on 2008-06-19. 
  16. ^ MySpaceTV Videos: Vampire Taste Test - Tru Blood vs Human by Blood. Retrieved on 2008-06-19. Event occurs at 1:29.
  17. ^ "TruBlood's Videos". Retrieved on 2008-09-14. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "True Blood (HBO) - Reviews from Metacritic". MetaCritic. Retrieved on 2008-09-13. 
  20. ^ Show Tracker. "HBO's 'True Blood': Audiences don't bite", Los Angeles Times, 2008-9-3. Retrieved on 2009-1-10.
  21. ^ TV Decoder. "‘True Blood’ Shows Ratings Growth for HBO", New York Times, 2008-11-23. Retrieved on 2009-1-10.
  22. ^ "‘True Blood’ a well-timed hit for HBO", MSNBC, 2008-11-23. Retrieved on 2009-1-10.
  23. ^ "Mr Skin's 10th Annual Anatomy Awards". Retrieved on 2009-2-22.
  24. ^ "True Blood on TVSA". Retrieved on 2009-02-07.

[edit] External links

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