Most Overrated TV Show

Hint: It’s full of blood, gore and sex.

By Carin Rubenstein
Anna Pacquin in True Blood
Photograph: Courtesy HBO

A more apt title:  Truly Dentally-Challenged.  The show, set in Louisiana, features charming but goofy-looking Anna Pacquin, she of the giant front-tooth gap, as Sookie Stackhouse, a mind-reading, mini-skirt wearing waitress.  Her love, Bill Compton, played by her real-life boyfriend, Brit Stephen Moyer, is a vampire with a severely restricted social life (nighttime activities only) whose fangs emerge when he’s excited.  So do the fangs of all the vampires here, including my favorite, the 1,000 year old Eric, played by the mesmerizing Alexander Skarsgard, also the star of HBO’s 2008 riveting and seriously underappreciated Iraq war series, Generation Kill.  These vampires have pasty, white skin and red-rimmed eyes;  they sleep in coffins all day, and prowl by night, slugging an artificial drink, called True Blood, when the need for sustenance arises.  There’s a lot of social and political tension between vampires and humans, somewhat along the lines of gays and straights in this world.  But don’t mistake this show for any kind of deep allegory:  it’s mostly about lots of sex and gallons of blood and grisly violence.

This season, the supernatural cast has expanded from just vampires and Sookie’s mindreading.  There’s a half-beast and half-human monster, with large talons full of poison who runs really fast and kills people by attacking from the rear.  There’s Sam, Sookie’s boss, who sometimes turns into a dog.  And there’s the obviously sinister Maryann Forrester, played by the wonderful Michelle Forbes, 44, who was also on In Treatment on HBO.  She’s got some kind of mysterious power in which she shimmers in and out of focus, while kind of shuddering, thereby turning what was a normal social gathering into a full-out, hetero- and homo- orgy.  Also, she makes some people eat dirt.  (I don’t know what power this is, exactly, or why it’s useful, but I sure don’t want it.)

True Blood is based on a series of vampire books written by Charlaine Harris, 57, beginning in 2001, and it deals mostly with grownups and not teenagers, like the 2005 Twilight series.  Still there’s a token teenage vampire this season, a girl whom Bill “made.”  She’s tiresome and annoying and doesn’t know how to use her powers, just like many teenage girls who aren’t vampires.

I don’t have the patience for this stuff because it’s a big fat mess, a giant soup pot full of colorful characters with odd powers, lots of bloody violence, including neck biting and murderous rampages, and gratuitous sex of all kinds, both vampire and human.  The creator of this show, Alan Ball, was the brains behind the much more creative and entertaining HBO series, Six Feet Under, is this time pandering to a lowest common denominator.

If that’s your thing, sorry, but I just don’t find this stuff all that entertaining.


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