True Blood Series - A Television Sensation

By Lynda Schwartz

Drawn from The Southern Vampire Mysteries book series written by Charlaine Harris, the HBO show True Blood has become a television sensation. After winning both a Golden Globe and an Emmy in the very first season, how could it be anything else but a smash hit? What is so ironic about this is that several well known critics panned the show initially including the New York Post critic that said, "everyone would be dying of boredom...[it] won't so much make your blood run cold as it will leave you cold". Clearly, critics are not always correct when it comes to deciding what the audience will like.

True Blood is set in Bon Temps, Lousiana, a small, rather backwoods town. Sookie Stackhouse is the mind-reading waitress at Merlotte's, a local bar. The adventures begin when Sookie meets and then falls in love with 173-year old vampire, Bill Compton. Turns out that thanks to technology and synthetic blood supplies, vampires don't have to prey on humans anymore and they can live just fine around people...well, at least at night.

The show is produced by Alan Ball, the man behind another well-received HBO series, Six Feet Under. Ball also wrote several of the early shows, as well as directing at least two. Our mind-reading heroine, Sookie, is played by Anna Paquin who won an Academy Award for her role in the film, The Piano. The creepy slash lovable vampire is played by Stephen Moyer who is best known for his role in The Starter Wife.

Other regular cast members include:

* Sookie's brother, Jason, played by Ryan Kwanten
* Her best friend, Tara Thornton, played by Rutina Wesley
* Her boss, Sam Merlotte, played by Sam Trammell
* The cook at Merlotte's, Lafayette Reynolds, played by Nelsan Ellis
* Det. Andy Bellefleur, played by Chris Bauer
* Jason's co-worker and friend, Hoyt Fortenberry, played by Jim Parrack
* Fellow waitress, Arlene Fowler, played by Carrie Preston
* Nordic vampire, Eric, played by Alexander Skarsgard

When True Blood premiered on September 7, 2008, viewership didn't look promising, with only 1.44 million viewers for the first episode. Compared to past HBO show premieres, like Big Love with 4.56 million viewers, it was anyone's guess what would happen. However, viewership has virtually exploded in the three seasons that True Blood has been titillating fans and now the series has become the most watched HBO show since the popular series, The Sopranos.

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