There was a time when we’d been nearly bludgeoned to death with the banality of Stephanie Meyer’s vampires. We wondered if the vampire genre would ever recover. We smirked appreciatively at ‘Team Spike’ t-shirts (but were too paralysed by not caring very much to buy one). And then came True Blood.
It had a little something of Anne Rice’s southern sensuality with a touch of humour. There was a grown up feel to it. It was like the real world with a range of somehow believable characters. I’m talking about the HBO series here, because the books (great as the concept might be and addictive as they are) seem to have unfortunately crappy prose. And there’s no excuse for crappy prose. By the way, all you Charlaine Harris fans out there should feel free to read my novel and label it crappy. Please, the link to Indigo is above. It’s free and everything. Go judge it.
When I saw the first episode of True Blood I felt so refreshed. It took me a while to watch it because, even though I make a point of watching everything with a gothic theme that I come across, I had seen the True Blood ads and thought it looked extremely trashy. And maybe I was right in some ways. How many shots of Alexander Skarsgard’s butt can we see? But it is also (perhaps for the same reasons) fantastic and addictive. As with Game of Thrones it’s partly the characterisations and partly the world building that’s so impressive. World building is deeply important to fantasy fiction. If you’re going to introduce something outrageously silly (yes, vampires are, and you know it) then you’d better make the world they inhabit as idiosyncratic and textured as possible.
Why is it better than Twilight? Because it’s for grownups and because it’s smart. I’ll let Alexander Skarsgard have the last word:
Reporter: ‘What do you think about the Twilight vampires?’
Alexander: ‘I think they’re cute.’
You must have seen this? It’s Lafayette and his AIDS burger. Lafayette is a great reason to try True Blood.
Can’t be bothered watching True Blood, but want to seem up with the times? Try True Blood in under 5 minutes. Spoiler alert for three entire seasons. You’ll have to research the rest on your own.