Wednesday, June 20, 2012

True Blood - Episode 1 - Strange Love

So we're watching True Blood, and although doubtful that I'll write about it with any regularity (i.e., as regular as me writing about Cowboy Bebop), I do want to jot down some things, and a public forum definitely seems like the best place to do that.  Fucking notebook being all the way in the other room.

The first episode of True Blood is kind of rough, but not quite in the way that most pilots are rough.  Every show has to introduce a bunch of characters and give them a little time to establish what it is that they mean to the series overall, while still packing in a couple of plotlines to make the half hour work on its own.  Or, since it's HBO, the whole hour.

True Blood is rough in that it really doesn't seem to move much beyond setting up what seems like it will be a central relationship (Sookie and Bill...which is their names...more on that in a moment), establishing the supporting characters with surprisingly little substance for a show that has an hour to work with, and then setting the groundrules for the particular brand of vampire/supernatural lore the show intends to follow.  If that sounds like a lot, remember that this series takes place in New Orleans, so you have to add in a Southern Drawl Buffer, which is where you basically double the amount of time it takes to deliver a line of dialogue in response to the fact that each word has three times the number of syllables.

Add to that the genre-appropriately laughable way that the vampires extend their fangs like god damned switch blades, move with the super speed of a Benny Hill sketch, and brood, nay, languish at length in front of the camera, and it's hard to imagine a future in which I would continue to watch this show if I had not already paid tens and tens of dollars for it on disc.

And that (might as well) bring(s) us to the names.  Sookie scoffs when she finds out that the brooding, nay, languishing vampire she finds is named Bill.  And then he asks her if she's actually known by a longer, more reasonable moniker than Sookie (she is not).  I appreciate that the show nods pretty early to the fact that it has given its characters pretty ridiculous names given the circumstances, but it is difficult to watch this show in 2012 without hearing Snookie more often than not.  Not really the show's fault, granted, but getting back to the ludicrous way they film vampires either moving very very fast or contemplating very very slowly, it's a lot to accept.

And perhaps I'm taking a few cheap shots at a series I don't fully understand yet.  That's absolutely possible.  Maybe this is the Parks and Recreation of serialized vampire dramas where you watch a few episodes and grimace in a way that is nearly audible and move on until people everywhere convince you to take another look because it's changed, man.

I dunno.  Episode 1 sucks, whether it's Star Wars or True Blood.  I give it one episode out of a possible two on each disc, seriously?


kylebrown said...

Trueblood to me feels like a Danielle Steele novel with vampires, and blood. Lots of blood.

Mike Lewis said...

I enjoyed the first season. There was enough stupid bullshit to mock.

That said - give it a miss.

Roscoe said...

.. Thing is.. you're both right.

The show gets a lot better, but it's roots? Are firmly where Kyle calls them. And if you come at it from that angle? HBO doing a semisupernatural soap?

Well, that kinda answers most of your complaints with the pacing - HBO pacing and wrong genre judgements.

I liked what I've seen, but.. I dunno about paying for it. maybe if I'm paying for HBO in total, but even then.. I dunno.

Christina said...

The show definitely does get better, but as Roscoe said, it is HBO doing vampires. You can expect a lot of sex, nudity, and grisly gore. That's what they do.

Season one is a lot of Sookie and Bill being disgustingly into one another. The way Bill says 'Sookie' makes me shudder every time, because it so freaking obnoxious.

It's fun in the way that it's fun, but if you're not hugely entertained by those things, pass it up. Personally, I thought it got much more entertaining when Alexander Skarsgaars (sp?) got a haircut.

Mike Lewis said...

season two is really uneven. There are two main story lines - one feels like it is stretched out over 2 too many episodes.

We only watched the first 2 episodes of season 3. And they were terrible.

_J_ said...

"brood, nay, languish at length in front of the camera"

It's too late to complain about this. We lost the battle. We lost the war.

Vampires brood now. It's just what they do.