Ken and I have been really enjoying watching True Blood, Alan Ball's new vampire serial on HBO. It's fantastic: ridiculous, over the top, and excitingly garish. Everything a vampire show should be.
The premise is that vampires have come out of the coffin and walk among us. Good vampires mainstream and drink synthetic blood, but there's bad evil vampires who hang out in Shreveport nightclubs and feed off of human groupie fangbangers. Our hero is human but telepathic and she makes friends with the misunderstood vampire who comes to their little town. She's a great character, very girly and innocent but also strong and smart.
A big part of the pleasure in the show is the small swamp town Louisiana setting. A town just big enough to have a fascinating ensemble cast but still be seriously backwards kay-zhawn. I particularly like the assortment of accents the voice coaches assembled: young Southern belle, aging Southern belle, New Orleans sophisticate, Atlanta sophisticate, gutter swamp Cajun, proud young black woman, crazy black mama, queeny-but-tough black gay guy, dumb redneck white hick. All living in the same town, and that's not counting the gentleman Civil War vampire, the creepy Boris Karloffs, and whatever weird-ass verbal tic sheriff J.F. Sebastian has. The characters and setting are great for someone like me who grew up with the mythology of the South.
Alan Ball also wrote a lot of Six Feet Under. But where that show was sympathetic and mature and subtle, True Blood is outrageous caricature and silly vampire genre stuff. With some Civil War nostalgia and commentary on civil rights thrown in the mix. All done incredibly well and very fun to watch. Recommended.