True Blood, Season 1

Man, am I glad I jumped on this bandwagon. Alan Ball is like a weird, dark-humored TV wizard. He knows how to create characters that you need to care about, even if you’re not sure why. He did it with Six Feet Under, and he sure as hell did it with True Blood.

I’m not even sure I like any of the characters on True Blood, except maybe for Sam. He seems like a good guy. Sookie is annoying, Tara is a huge bitch, Jason and Lafayette are both selfish pricks, and Bill is too self-righteous. And yet I care about every single one of them. I want to know what happens in their sick, sad, little world.

Each character is magnificently developed. In fact, we see more of their flaws than their flattering parts, and that’s refreshing. Tara is a ball of contradictions, as is Sookie, and while I wish their friendship were more frequently depicted, it is fascinating to see how they work independently and how vampires affect them one way or another.

The show moves pretty quickly, and yet the season finale speeds it up even more. I’m not sure how I feel about the end of Season 1 still, what with Bill’s new annoying-as-hell houseguest, but I suppose it intrigues me enough to tune in for Season 2. I already know that Lafayette is going to get into some dirty shit, which will be fun. I think the best part of the finale was the rapid unraveling of Rene/Drew, which I totally did not see coming at all. I love getting wrapped up in the plot and not even trying to figure out what comes next.

There were some outstanding weaknesses: namely, the accents. Maybe it’s because I know Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are from NOT the south, but they both sound a little forced when they drawl. Their sex scenes, however, are not forced. How cute.

The talk is that Paquin is delivering this role of her lifetime or whatever, but I say MAD props should go to Rutina Wesley for playing Tara. That role must make her dig deep into her soul and pull out her nastiest, most mysterious emotions. And the actress who plays her mother, Adina Porter, delivers one of the most amazing performances I’ve ever seen. Her transformation from drunk to saved is truly phenomenal. Sookie’s grandma is a magnificent role, too. And Todd Lowe! I missed him. He was on Gilmore Girls, and he’s getting bigger and better roles! And Chris Bauer from The Wire! And Stephen Root as Eddie — equally powerful, so much so that I still can’t get that image of his skin scarred from the chain mail out of my head. Creepy shit, man. This cast is fantastic.

Alan Ball has to be a little creepy. How else would he come up with all of this stuff? Whatever. Keep the Ball rolling, I say. Keep the sex and the drugs and the politics going, because otherwise, I won’t watch a show about vampires.