TRUE BLOOD: Strange Love - Mania.com



TV Review of True Blood: Strange Love

Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • TV Series: True Blood
  • Episode: Strange Love
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley
  • Written By: Alan Ball
  • Directed By: Alan Ball
  • Network: HBO
  • Series: True Blood

TRUE BLOOD: Strange Love

Vampires Need Love Too!

By Stephen Lackey     September 09, 2008


Anna Paquin From True Blood
© Mania.Com/Josh Gordon
Based on American Beauty and Six Feet Under you may have certain expectations about True Blood. If so, you very well may be disappointed. This show, like Six Feet Under, is quirky and features a unique premise that asks questions about death and what it means to be alive but True Blood is also a lot more comic book-ish in feel. There are many scenes in this first episode of True Blood that feel like they could have been ripped right from the pages of a Creepshow style comic book. Whether this element is purposeful remains to be seen. Some of what might make the show feel campy comes from some really bad southern accents. This show just goes to prove that no matter what the budget of a series something as simple as a southern accent is nearly impossible to do. The accents along with several bits of really over-the-top dialogue are laugh inducing. Hopefully the campy feel is purposeful, because if it’s not this show is doomed. Anna Paquin actually does a fair job with the accent and generally she’s the best actor on the series so far other than maybe William Sanderson.
 
Basically this series takes place in an alternate version of our modern era where vampires exist alongside the rest of us drinking synthetic blood to keep them from biting humans. It also turns out that vampire blood works like a drug on humans so some unsavory types are happy to drain a vampire and sell off the blood. Anna Paquin plays a waitress in a small town restaurant where the first vampire in town comes looking for a drink. Paquin’s character has the ability to read people’s minds. In fact she has to struggle to block out all the minds around her. When the vampire enters the restaurant she knows what he is right away because she can’t seem to read his mind. This ability of hers’ leads to a major inconsistency in the first episode that really needs an explanation. She can seem to read the minds of anyone around her but at one point she wants to read her brothers mind and she has to touch him. Just when she starts to hear his thoughts he pushes her hand away and the mental link stops. This situation needs to be addressed.
 
The look of the show also goes along with eh comic book feel. The exteriors in particular look a bit low budget actually reminding me of something like the film adaptation of Swamp Thing. Problems aside, there’s a lot of funny in this first episode that’s supposed to be there leading us to believe – or at least hope – that all of this quirky and campy humor is purposeful and will be honed as the series progresses. The first episode ends with quite a bang and begs for a fantastic follow up. We’ll just have to see next week…

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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ponyboy76 9/9/2008 3:33:14 AM
Good show so far in my opinion.
hanso 9/9/2008 5:03:11 AM
Vampire sex scene was hilarious!!! I hate the damn grandmother. Why does silver mess with vampires and why does the vampire pose like a damn douche? Still no Shield review. Sad.
velgron 9/9/2008 5:41:20 AM
I actually enjoyed the show so far. Could care less for the accent (maybe in that alternate world their accent is different), I was not distracted by it. And just like reading words, if you want to focus deep on something, you have to concentrate (I dont't think that she touched her brother to read his mind, just to concentrate on his deep thoughts). And yes, the exteriors look common, cheap... just like in real life. I hate when landscapes get romanticized. I am hopeful for the series.
ponyboy76 9/9/2008 7:05:27 AM
I almost forgot about that vamp sex scene. it was damn funny. And yeah, she touched her brother in order to concentrate on his thoughts. She can obviously read anyone`s (apart from the vampires) mind but she needs to focus to either block everyone else`s out or just listen to one mind. In that aspect the show does have a comic book feel to it. How many times have we seen that in an X-comic. Maybe I don`t know enough about Louisiana accents but because its a mixture of French, their accents are very unique, compared to the rest of the South. Nothing wrong with the ones in the show in my opinion. Also, the sets look fine. They aren't supposed to be clean and smooth. Its the freakin deep south. Bayou country. Looks pretty authentic to me.
hanso 9/9/2008 7:41:20 AM
The chic having powers opens the door for other "special individuals" to pop out in furture season. She did mention werewolves also, I bet they do end up coming out like in season 3 or something.
galaga51 9/9/2008 9:02:39 AM
I'll admit that even living in the south, good Southern Accents (that is, accents of those outside large metro areas) seem very easy to overdo... except for my stepmom, aka, the succubus, but that's only because hers already bizarre. I believe she made up her own accent - no one from her town that I've met has an accent like her, nor her parents... it sounds terrible and it's too easy to immitate. Anyway, as for campy, I'm watching Twin Peaks right now and some of the acting is terrible, anda lot of it is just plain over the top camp... but it works. Given, Twin Peaks did not perform all that well by the numbers, but it did garnish quite a following.. and help build a foundation for future quirky shows. To expand on Pony's comments re: the touch link, maybe her relative is harder to read for some reason - he could have an innate or active resistance that she can more easily overcome through contact. Or maybe she can just focus better (tune others out) when she is in contact with someone. I haven't seen it, just some ideas from your description. There was an article with the scriptwriter (lives in my town) in the paper Sunday... I'll see if there was anything interesting in there.
fft5305 9/9/2008 10:18:56 AM
My take on the brother is that, since they are related, they were presumably raised together. Therefore, she has had much more practice screening him out, just as he has had much more practice shielding her out. Ergo, the need to touch to get closer. Also, as is consistent with the portrayal of telepathy in most genre material, it seems she is able to screen more casual thoughts a bit easier, but as thoughts get more emotional and turbulent and rise to the surface, they break through her barriers more frequently. The brother was concentrating on burying his thoughts as much as he could, so she couldn't pick up on them through casual concentration. Overall, I thought the show was quite good. Very interesting. Lot of potential for future storylines. I'm looking forward to seeing where they go.
galaga51 9/9/2008 3:04:45 PM
Here's a bit from the aforementioned newspaper interview with Alan Ball: Q: How’d “True Blood†come about? A: I was early for a dentist appointment, wasting time at Barnes and Noble, and picked up this little paperback called “Dead Until Dark.†And the tagline was “Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.†I thought, “That’s funny,†bought it and got sucked into this pulpy crazy world where vampires made their presence known to humans because of the development of synthetic blood by the Japanese. And there’s this telepathic waitress [Paquin] who meets this vampire, and because technically he doesn’t have brain waves, she can relax and be herself for the first time. PLOTLINE SPOILERS PLOTLINE SPOILERS Meantime, vampire blood is the hottest sex drug on the market; there’s a whole subculture of people who want to have sex with vampires; a church wants to kill them and hang everything on them; and there are people who want to capture them and drain them and sell their blood on the black market. It’s all in this tiny north Louisiana town of 2,700 people. END SPOILERS END SPOILERS For more insight to the mind of Alan Ball, (also of American Beauty fame, and the upcoming Towelhead): http://www.accessatlanta.com/entertainment/content/entertainment/stories/2008/09/07/alan_ball_HBO_Atlanta.html
Tritan56 9/9/2008 11:10:09 PM
I give the first episode a solid 6.5/7 Paquin wasn't bad.Just wanna see how long it takes for this to become an underworld feel with Vamps fighting Werewolves.Her friend Terra was a pisser though!LOL!Come on, who hasn't thought about doing that at their job at least once? I lost it when she smacked her Manager.SPOILER....anybody got any thoughts on who killed, i think Maudette was her name?Not really sure.Just funny how the freak videotaped everything and the lame idiot brother didn't know,after he just watched one such escapade!I'll definitely tune into episode 2 though.
silversurfer 9/10/2008 6:02:02 AM
I watched it, and thought it was not bad? There was some inconsistencies with the way she is able to read minds, but I'm sure (hopefully) that there will be clarification of this in later episodes. Anna Paquin wasn't bad, and the show does have a very backwoods-off-the-beaten-path feel to it, which makes it more intimate? I like the fact that everyone is progressive in the show and that there are some very strong biases/predjudices that are being addressed. I have to say that Anna and the Vamp's chemistry is pretty intense though...they do leave you wanting to know if they're just going to do the deed and get it over with... I think it will be interesting....I'll keep watching. Yes the Vamp sex scene was a little disturbing....
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