‘True Blood’ is draining experience to some

Sept. 05, 2008 | 12:14 a.m.

Stephen Moyer is vampire BillNot long ago I wrote about how much I like the new HBO series “True Blood,” which premieres Sunday night. It turns out that not everyone was equally intrigued.

Mary McNamara, one of my favorite writers and the television critic for the Los Angeles Times, has a “True Blood” review that says the show, well, pretty much sucks, and not in that good vampire way.

Borrowing heavily from many genres, “True Blood” aspires to transcend them all but instead quickly deposits the viewer waist-deep in a literal and figurative swamp.

Vampire fantasy, murder mystery, star-crossed love story, political satire, “True Blood” is all and none of the above. Not quite funny, not quite scary, not quite thought-provoking, the show’s attempt to question the roots of prejudice is continually undermined by its own stereotyping.

Seriously, isn’t it time to stop portraying every small town below the Mason-Dixon line as populated by drunken, racist, testosterone-charged lunkheads? Apparently not. In Bon Temps, the tiny Louisiana town where “True Blood” opens, all the men seem obsessed with booze and sexual assault while their wives quietly devour fried foods and despise them.

Early in the review, McNamara expresses disappointment that executive producer Alan Ball (“Six Feet Under”) has “decided to take Charlaine Harris’ light, fun series of Southern Vampire Mysteries and turn it into a heavy-handed political fable with vampires.” I haven’t read the books at all, maybe that is one of the reasons we had such different takes on the show.

Anna Paquin and Sam TrammellSpeaking of “True Blood,” Greg Braxton also has a feature on star Anna Paquin that is well worth reading. There’s also a nifty photo gallery on the sex appeal of vampires, which appraises the lusty appeal of the undead on the screen in “Blade,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “30 Days of Night,” “Blacula,” “Twilight” and … “Sesame Street“?

If you still want more, sink your teeth into this interview with Ball on HBO’s own website or this interesting New York Times article from July about the marketing of the show.

If you watch the show Sunday, let me know what you think: Does “True Blood” have the juice to survive?

— Geoff Boucher

RELATED: All “True Blood” coverage at Hero Complex

Photo of “True Blood” star Stephen Moyer by Jamie Trueblood/HBO, courtesy of HBO

Photo of “True Blood” stars Sam Trammell and Anna Paquin by John P. Johnson/HBO, courtesy of HBO

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