Monday, August 13, 2007

HBO Picks-Up Alan Ball's "True Blood"

Alan Ball is back in HBO's court, as the pay cabler has officially picked up the vampire series "True Blood."
Ball, who created the hit "Six Feet Under" for HBO, will exec produce and act as showrunner for "True Blood," which is based on Charlaine Harris' "Southern Vampire" novel series.

Net is still ironing out an episodic order and airdate, but the show is expected to go into production this fall. Ball, who wrote and directed the pilot, has already penned several more episodes.

Set in small-town Louisiana, series follows the world of vampires, who are able to co-exist with humans by drinking a Japanese-manufactured synthetic blood. The show contains a dose of humor alongside the horror.
The books, and perhaps more importantly, the world of the books are ideally suited for exploration in a TV series. The invention of this synthetic blood ("True Blood"--The Vamps want to be lied to by advertisers as much as anyone) allows the highly organized vampire civilization to to come out of the closet. Appealing allegory there, which Harris explosres vigorously (and I'm sure Ball will, too). Werewolves, witches, fairies and other magical beings are waiting in the wings to see whether mankind wipes vampires out--or accepts them.

Protagonist Sookie Stackhouse, a barmaid with a telepathic "curse," gets drawn into this world when a vampire--Bill Compton, who was killed in the civil war and reborn shortly thereafter--moves in next door, having decided to return to his familial home for ... a variety of reasons, which are revealed in the fullness of time.

Charlaine Harris clearly counts Buffy as something of an inspiration--and she acknowledges this in one of the early books when she has Sookie pop some Buffy tapes in the VCR to occupy a vampire with amnesia (who goes nuts over them--as people do). But, despite similarities, Southern Vampire is never, IMO, derivative of Buffy. (I would've turned on it instantly if I ever thought it was.) That said, there's also some inspiration from Anne Rice: New Orleans becomes a thriving necropolis -- the center of the vampire world -- as it was, secretly, before the innovation of True Blood. Only now it is choked with human tourists -- which is highly encouraged by the vamps, who want to make money as much as anyone, living or dead.

(Incidentally, the latest book in the series incorporates Hurricane Katrina.)

Of course, this show would be worth checking out solely for the fact that it's Alan Ball. (IMO, Six Feet Under was one of the finest TV series in the history of the medium.)

Anyway, production is set to ramp up this fall. Premiere date hasn't yet been set, but it's a good bet True Blood will bow next summer. Anna Paquin stars.

Source: Variety

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Blogger Ming_the_Merciless said...

How cool!! I lived for Buffy & Angel when they were on.

8/16/07, 3:05 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

You should check out the books -- I hadn't read them before 2 years ago, but when Ball inked the deal to develop this series, I figured I'd check one out. I ended up devouring the whole series.

8/18/07, 12:50 PM  

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