Taking a bite out of politics
There’s a lot at stake in the vampire realm, writes of
POLITICS is literally a bloody business on the US drama series True Blood. Its fifth season – which happens to coincide with a US presidential campaign – True Blood, explores political manoeuvring in the vampire realm between The Authority, a mainstream group that seeks accommodation with humans, and the Sanguinistas, fundamentalists who believe mortals are simply food for their vampire superiors.
‘‘We wanted to play with the politics/ religion angle, since that never seems to stop,’’ creator Alan Ball says.
‘‘Some of the things being said by some people during the Republican primary were so horrifying to me that I thought, ‘What if vampires wanted a theocracy? What would that look like?’ Whenever anybody thinks they know what God wants and wants to apply that to government, whether Americans or the Taliban, it’s kind of a terrifying thing.’’
Christopher Meloni, known for his longrunning role on Law & Order: SVU, plays Roman, the powerful and mesmerising Guardian of The Authority.
‘‘He’s a vampire wanting to change the system, fighting against what he sees as fanatics,’’ Meloni says ‘‘He’s a man interested in co-existence. ‘‘I think he’s a forward-thinking guy, this supreme example of a man of authority, and yet there are certain moments of him that are surprisingly childish.’’
Co-existence has long been a show theme, and a tricky prospect in a world populated by humans, vampires, werewolves, faeries and shapeshifters.
Roman holds the power of life or death over vampires Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), who killed The Authority’s representative in season four.
The two rivals must join to try to save their lives, offering their assistance in catching the suddenly resurrected vampire Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare), a thorn in The Authority’s side.
‘‘Russell is a pretty powerful vampire. He really represents chaos and anarchy. That is the one thing that my character just disdains, both personally and professionally,’’ Meloni says.
For Skarsgard and Meloni, the union of Eric and Bill represents a twist in the characters’ relationship. They must work together or die the vampire’s True Death.
‘‘Steve is a really close friend of mine, and I really enjoy the bromance,’’ Skarsgard says.
‘‘Eric hated Bill. He thought Bill was insignificant, a young, naive vampire.
‘‘Suddenly, he’s in a position where he cares about this guy. ‘‘He protects him and saves him. ‘‘That’s something new for Eric.’’ This time, Moyer says, it’s more than personal.
‘‘At different times in the past, things were about stuff going on for them individually,’’ says the actor, who married his co-star Anna Paquin.
‘‘This is on a different level. This is global.
‘‘They’re not just thinking about themselves.’’
This being True Blood, which is based on Charlaine Harris’s novels, vampire politics is just one story. Sookie (Paquin) must deal with the aftermath of the shooting of best friend Tara (Rutina Wesley) and her retaliatory killing of Tara’s assailant.
‘‘That sets up an entire universe of problems for Sookie, aside from the fact that she has no idea if her friend will live or die,’’ Paquin, whose character covers up the shootings, says.
‘‘There are a lot of built-in problems to clean up.’’
There is also the matter of the love triangle of Sookie, Bill and Eric.
Sookie, whose faerie blood is irresistible to vampires, turned down both suitors last season.
Wednesdays, 8.30pm, Showcase HD.
Alexander Skarsgard, Stephen Moyer, Anna Paquin and Joe Manganiello.