Last week we all discussed the gripes we had about True Blood. But, this week, I found an article, written for the UK audience, who are currently watching Season 1 of True Blood, called the “Five Reasons Why I Can’t Get Enough True Blood”. You can read it here.
In addition to providing that article here to read, I thought it was time to praise our favorite show with what I consider to be the five reasons it’s so successful.
1. Casting – In my opinion, there is no one miscast in this show. What a fabulous job they have done with choosing the right people, most of them virtual unknowns at the time, to be the vampires and the humans. Anna Paquin in just right as Sookie Stackhouse and Stephen Moyer is perfect as Bill Compton. The cast members playing humans seem like they belong in Bon Temps and work at Merlotte’s. Lafayette played by Nelsan Ellis is just plain wonderful. I really believe that Sam Merlotte, played by Sam Trammell, can turn into a dog and the love that is blossoming between Jessica and Hoyt, played by Deborah Ann Woll and Jim Parrack, is just as refreshing as they are young and innocent. The vampires are almost real enough to believe in. In addition to Stephen Moyer’s great portrayal of Bill Compton, Alexander Skarsgård is just right as the 1,000 year old viking and we all love Pam, played by Kristin Bauer. The Series Casting Directors Libby Goldstein and Junie Lowry-Johnson deserve our kudos for such a fabulous job.
2. Set Design – the sets are extremely authentic. I never even thought for a moment, when I first visually stepped into this world back in September 2008, that the show wasn’t shot entirely in Louisiana. Yes, some shooting is done in Clinton and Shreveport, and the Compton house exteriors are real, but most of the filming is done in Los Angeles. For example, the Stackhouse farmhouse is there, Fangtasia is a local bar, and Merlotte’s is on a Los Angeles movie lot. The interiors are also amazing. Who would have thought that having the wallpaper in Bill’s house crackle off the walls would make it seem that much more authentic? And Merlotte’s bar looks like it’s hot, dirty, steamy and wet, just like Louisiana. Every detail has been given close attention making it all looks flawless and it is a job well done by Production Designer Suzuki Ingerslev. Here’s a link to a tour of the set that took place in April.
3. Music – The sales of the True Blood soundtrack CD are proof that the music is great. However, in addition to the CD, there are many, many great songs that were used in the show in Season 1 that somehow never made it to the CD. Most of the songs were unknown at the time and discovered by Alan Ball with Gary Calamar. Who could forget songs like Heaven 17’s version of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” which was played when Bill and Sookie first walked into Fangtasia. Songs like “Cold Ground” by Rusty Truck, “The First Taste” by Fiona Apple, “Snake in the Grass” by Vellejo, “Stumble and Pain” by Joseph Arthur, “To Love Is to Bury” by the Cowboy Junkies, and “Lullaby” by The Dixie Chicks are just a few that never got to the soundtrack. Every time I hear Stumble and Pain I think of Episode 1 when Bill enters Merlotte’s for the second time and Sookie moves across the room to him. And, how can we forget Nathan Barr’s beautiful and romantic original music composed especially for Bill and Sookie. And I have to include the opening credits here and it’s title song, Bad Things by Jace Everett. This just has to be the best opening credits of any show ever and with Jace Everett’s wonderful song Bad Things they have captured the essence of the show and the area, perfectly. Now, in Season 2 we have another batch of fabulous songs to add to our True Blood soundtrack collection including Bob Dylan’s great song, Beyond Here Lies Nothing and Hard Hearted Hannah which Stephen Moyer sang so beautifully in episode 6.
4. Alan Ball – While it’s important to recognize Charlaine Harris for her wonderful and vivid imagination, Alan Ball has taken her creative and interesting universe and translated it to the small screen in a way that is absolutely amazing. It is true that he has made some changes from the books, but those changes have been in just the right places. When you add the fact that he has made wonderful choices of writers and directors, it’s evident that he is truly a genius and an artist of the highest magnitude.
5. The whole Vampire thingy – I can’t believe that I am so utterly obsessed by this world that I find I would love to live in it myself. Who would have thought that graveyard sex and bloody sex could be so hot and that the vampire/human relationship between Bill and Sookie and their love for each other could be so romantic and poignant? The vampires existence seems entirely plausible in the story and by the addition of the conflict that arises from those opposed to them draws us into their struggles. I want to know more and more about the life of the vamps and just can’t get enough of them. The show is so full and original that every week the envelope is pushed further and further open making me just want more and more.
Why do you think True Blood is so successful? Please tell us.