by Nathan Stout
I have been watching HBO's True Blood with the wife because I have had nothing better to do and I must say that I see right though that show. When I say this I see it for what it is, a book written by some vampire smitten girly girl taken by a bunch of male writers and turned into this 'for HBO' type show.
First off let me say I don't watch premium cable channels so I don't have a lot of experience with their production values. I am guessing since True Blood is the 'new hotness' that their budget is a bit higher than some of the other stuff on prime time cable.
Being from the world of video production I often watch show with a critical eye. True Blood looks rather inconsistent from time to time, from makeup to effects. It's not bad, its just that I notice these types of things.
Anyway let me get onto the show. It is based on some books written by this girl so there is a lot of lovey-dovey aspects to it. There are several story lines as well and you find that only about one third of the show deals with vampires. At least they are more traditional vampires as opposed to 'sparking in the sun' emo-vampires like the SUPER GIRLY Twilight series. Barf.
True Blood deals with vampires as well as werewolfs, and other super natural beings. Much like Jessica Fletcher's hometown (from Murder She Wrote) is teeming with killers so the town from True Blood is filled with freaks of nature.
The show is alright, I'm not totally dissin' it. It's just that I sorta like vampires that are mostly evil creatures. You might get a sympathetic character every once in a while like in Interview with a Vampire but on the whole vampires are to be totally feared, not going to high school.
If you want some vampire fun watch Fright Night, Interview with a Vampire, or Bram Stoker's Dracula.
One more piece of vampire entertainment I'd like to cover is the movie Daybreakers. I rented this one a few weeks back and it stars Ethan Hawke and Willem Defoe with the nasty corporate bad guy being played by Alan Grant... er Sam Neill. Its actually a great idea of a story that was 'holly-wooded' out in the end. It basically follows the logical conclusion of a world in which vampires exist. Once discovered everyone wants to become a vampire so they will never grow old and die. One problem, the human race is becoming extinct and thus the blood supply is running out. Sam Neill's company is working on a synthetic blood but it's having no luck. Willem Defoe is a human who claims to have been a vampire and changed back because of a violent event involving prolonged interaction with the sun. Ethan Hawke is an unwilling vampire scientist who sides with the outlaw humans (being hunted down so they can be comatose blood producers for the vampires) in the hopes of figuring out a 'cure' to vampireism. It's actually a cool story but you can tell some suits got a hold of the original idea glamoured (in true vampire style) it up. Several Deus Ex Machina moments happen and characters do things the hard (yet vastly more entertaining) way then the movie ends, leaving you feeling it could have been so much more. The idea is so good that I do suggest you check it out.
All these new shows and movies do take the logical next step when it comes to the myth of the vampire. They all strive to take a two dimensional boogeyman and humanize him. They add the 'what if' factor to a vampire's existence. How would they deal with today's society? How would society deal with them. All in all it's a neat concept but it needs to be pulled off right to be truly entertaining.