Stephenie Meyerâ€™s fawned-over vampire soap opera Twilight may have been stealing all the press this Spring, but HBOâ€™s True Blood is hands down the far more interesting vampire saga. The first season, told over 12 episodes, comes off like a cross between Twin Peaks and Six Feet Under (whose creator, Alan Ball, also happens to be the man behind True Blood).
The series starring, Anna Paquin (the youngest Oscar winner thanks to her role in The Piano), revolves around the tiny swamp town of Bon Temps, Louisiana â€“ a usually quiet rural community dealing with an unprecedented number of murders that may or may not be the result of vampires that have finally come out of hiding across the country. The series, though at times extremely gory, is remarkably original and just as funny and quirky as it is tense and suspenseful. Like just about everything Ball touches, True Blood is far more interesting than its premise. The attention to detail â€“ like the ongoing political and religious battles against the vampires attempts to â€œmainstreamâ€ -makes for a brilliant undercurrent.
The characters are just as intriguing. Paquin plays the virginal Sookie Stackhouse and her himbo brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) is great as her complete opposite. Sookieâ€™s suitors, the nearly 200-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and the just-as mysterious Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell), are both fascinating original characters. The story arch of the first season keeps the mystery and suspense up until the last few minutes of the final episode. With a stellar cast of supporting characters, each with compelling back stories, and a few new mysteries popping up in the last episode, the second season already has a lot to live up to.
Rating: 9 out of 10
True Blood â€“ The Complete First Season/DVD/2009/HBO Video /720 mins.