Tak­ing a bite out of pol­i­tics

There’s a lot at stake in the vam­pire realm, writes of

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

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.

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