True Blood is an American television drama series created by Alan Ball, based on the Sookie Stackhouse book series 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. It premiered on September 7, 2008. The show has been renewed for a second season.
True Blood details the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional small Louisiana town. The series centers on Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress at a diner, who falls in love with vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer).
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.
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." 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 like 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... would do [them] justice."
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. Cast members Paquin, Kwanten and Trammell were announced in February 2007 and Moyer later on in April. 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. Production on the series began later that fall, with Brooke 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.
Gary Calamar, the music supervisor for the series, said he's working on a soundtrack for the show that is "swampy, bluesy and spooky" and that he plans to feature local Louisiana musicians.
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.
The main theme song is "Bad Things" by Jace Everett from the album Jace Everett.
Viral marketing campaignEdit
The premiere of True Blood has been prefaced with a viral marketing/ARG campaign, based at BloodCopy.com. This has included setting up multiple websites, encoding web address into unmarked envelopes mailed to high profile blog writers and others, and even performances by a "vampire" who is attempting to reach out to others of their kind, to discuss the recent creation of "TruBlood", a material apparently pivotal to the initial plot.
A MySpace account with the username "Blood" has, as of June 19, uploaded two videos; one entitled "Vampire Taste Test - Tru Blood vs Human", and one called "BloodCopy Exclusive INTERVIEW WITH SAMSON THE VAMPIRE". There is a wiki at trublood.wikidot.com which collates information on the campaign. On July 13th, the website True-Blood.tv indicated they would be making samples of Tru Blood available as part of a give-away contest.
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 Facebook.com aired prior to the series premiere, placing vampires in ads similar to those of beer and wine.
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.
Main article: List of True Blood episodes
Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely 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.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic cocktail waitress in a small town diner.
- Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten), Sookie's brother.
- Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), Sookie's best friend (played by Brook Kerr in the unaired pilot).
- Lafayette Reynold (Nelsan Ellis), Sookie's co-worker and Tara's cousin.
- Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a vampire with whom Sookie falls in love.
- Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell), the owner of the restaurant where Sookie works.
- Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård), a thousand-year-old Viking vampire.
* Arlene Fowler (Carrie Preston), a waitress working with Sookie. * Rene Lenier (Michael Raymond-James), Arlene's Cajun boyfriend. * Hoyt Fortenberry (Jim Parrack), a friend of Jason's and Rene's. * Pam (Kristin Bauer) Eric's child. In Vampire way. * Detective Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer), the detective investigating Jason Stackhouse. * Sheriff Bud Dearborne (William Sanderson), the town sheriff. * Adele Stackhouse (Lois Smith), Sookie and Jason's grandmother, nicknamed "Gran".
The overall critical reception of True Blood has generally been favorable but individual reviews have been uncommonly 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 characterization.