Vam­pires out of the cof­fin and into so­ci­ety

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

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.

Ian Cuth­bert­son

True Blood

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.