Vampires out of the coffin and into society
WHEN the creator of your favourite show decides to move his caravan from the character-driven family funeral business that was Six Feet Under to the intrigues of Louisiana vampires in True Blood , there are two ways to react. Optimistically, or as I did, I am embarrassed to say, with a regretful sigh. Vampires? Is he kidding? Of course I understimated Alan Ball. You don’t make work as daring and original as Six Feet Under , and as potent as the stunning American Beauty , and then turn in a turkey with fangs. While it’s true that vampires are at the heart of True Blood , they are not the leaden ones we know so well who ‘‘ vont to zuck your blood’’. Nor are they the ludicrous, teen-friendly demons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer .
I think it’s fair to say that the vampires of True Blood are unlike any we have seen before.
They are a marginalised but organised subset of the general community. They have spokespeople who appear on television demanding consideration and tolerance for their kind. They date the daughters of regular folk. They come to dinner and regale guests with their stories of life at the time of the American Civil War because they live ( or are they dead?) for a very long time.
Ball has terrific fun with gay parallels, almost satirising that other marginalised community. The vampires in True Blood have ‘‘ come out of the coffin’’ because of the invention by the Japanese of synthetic human blood: a drop known as TruBlood, which just happens to be available at every gas station and drugstore in America.
With synthetic blood freely avail-
The lad is a vamp: Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer in able there is no need for vampires to feed on humans, hence their social emancipation. ( In a nod to gay hatred campaigns in the US, the stunning title sequence zooms past a banner that proclaims: ‘‘ God Hates Fangs!’’)
While the ensemble here doesn’t appear to have the narrative potential of the characters in Six Feet Under , they are nonetheless an engaging troupe. Anna Paquin who, as a child, won an Oscar for her role in The Piano , plays Sookie Stackhouse, an elfin but big-hearted waitress. Paquin’s southern accent is subtle and utterly convincing, like her performance. Sookie has a problem, though. She can hear the thoughts of others, sometimes all at once. While this is often handy in her line of work, it has played havoc with her love life, scaring almost everyone off. Until she meets the one man whose thoughts she can’t hear: Bill Compton ( Stephen Moyer), the new vampire in town.
By turns silly, creepy, seriously sexy, funny and occasionally poignant, Ball’s new concoction guarantees a bloody good time.
Today the great woman meets a 12-year-old who is 221cm tall ( that’s 7 feet 3 inches, in the old scale). Then, gasp, she brings on one of the world’s oldest living primordial dwarves. Nothing quite like appearing with a polar opposite to make someone really feel the force of their peculiarity. Daddy who? Yes, it has been a long time. Still, Daddy Cool, led by Ross Wilson, pictured, saw their eponymous debut album hit the top of the local charts in 1971. Recorded in a mere 21/ days, it eventually became the first Australian album to sell more than 100,000 copies, when a gold record was earned for sales of 10,000. You can look forward to personal interviews with the four founding members of Daddy Cool, as they take us from their first meeting in 1970 through to the Tsunami Concert of their 2005 reunion, their first gig together in more than three decades. Wait a minute. Wasn’t Seven throwing Eli on twice a week during summer as if it couldn’t wait to get rid of him? Didn’t I dream the network would show the fresh second season in the ratings period in single episodes? Goodness. Perhaps Walt Disney was right: dreams really do come true. Tonight Eli thinks he is having a vision when a beautiful brunette sings to him. But it turns out she is as real as the paper you hold, and her name is Grace.