Monday, September 08, 2008

Vampires Suck

I thought I’d post today to express my huge disappointment after watching HBO’s new Alan Ball-scripted series, True Blood last night.

First off, a bit of a history lesson:

Anyone who has come here for any length of time knows that I LOVES me some vampires. I love ALL horror, but if I had to pick a top three they would be (in order): Zombies, Werewolves, Vampires. But hey….. 3rd place isn’t so bad. I’ve read almost all of the Anne Rice books (until they just got too damn weird for me). Plus, when I was 14 I once let my fingernails grow long and then cut them into points (but now that I think about it, that was probably more a ‘werewolf’ thing… not to mention fucking creepy.)

Also, I think Alan Ball is one of the best writers today. His work on the 6 seasons of Six Feet Under cemented him in my mind as the BEST person today in Hollywood who can write complex, adult characters for TV. I adored SFU, and I’ve said it before here but I’ll say it again: The final episode of Six Feet Under was hands down the BEST SERIES FINALE OF ANY SHOW I HAVE EVER WATCHED. Nothing else even comes close. It left me breathless and unable to sleep, thinking about it until the wee hours of the morning.

In short, I like vampire stories, and I like Alan Ball.

So, when I had heard over a year ago that Mr. Ball was writing a new show for HBO that revolved around vampires, I nearly pooped my pants with glee. Usually when I poop my pants, it’s with shame and disgust, but not this time.

I’ve been reading up on True Blood’s development during the course of the past year, and I have been counting down the days until it was to premier, which was last night.

What a disappointment it was for me.

First off, I’m not thrilled with the premise. Vampires are not the creepy dudes hiding in anonymity that we are used to. In True Blood’s world, a Japanese company has developed a soft drink that simulates blood, so now vamps don’t have to kill people. They can just run to the local supermarket and pick up a 6-pack. Seriously. Vampires are presented as a new minority trying to fit into our bigoted society. Interesting, but NOT what I want out of my vampire stories.

As much as I’m not thrilled with the premise, I could have lived with it if Mr. Ball’s writing was up to his usual snuff. Where are the adult themes? Where are the complex characters and witty dialogue? It’s not here, that’s for sure.

No, in True Blood, Mr. Ball tries to make the whole affair a dark comedy of sorts, and fails miserably. Every character is a stereotype, and written as so stupid and silly that the dialogue reminded me more of an episode of the much-despised Desperate Housewives than a typical Alan Ball project. Really. If DH is your cup of tea, then you will convulse with glee over this show.

Friz bailed out after 30 minutes, preferring to go to sleep over wanting to see how the first episode ended. I should have done the same.

I am not ready to abandon all the respect I have accumulated for Alan Ball’s writing over one shit episode, however. I will commit myself to one more show, to which I had better see some BIG damn improvement, or else my Sunday night tv schedule will lighten up considerably.

Don’t fail me, Alan Ball.

p.s. As I was writing this, the curvaceous and trampy EARL wrote a positively GLOWING review of this very same show, while myself as well as just about every damn newspaper in the country wrote about how much it failed.. Please you guys…. Set him straight and help me convince him that it blew chunks!


Verdant Earl said...

Slyde, you ignorant slut!

Seems to me that your whole problem with the show is that it fails the "buy the premise, buy the show" theory. You are coming into it with a pre-concieved notion of what it is that you like about vampire stories and maybe you didn't give it a fair shot becuase it goes against the traditional grain.

Yeah, it's hokey. But in a good way. And it doesn't come anywhere near the vapidity (is that a word?) of Desperate Housewives.

If you can step back and try to appreciate the show for what it is trying to do with the (rather stale) vampire mythos, then you might enjoy it. If you can only look at it for what it "isn't", then you are doomed to hate it.

Slyde said...

earl: on the contrary. as i said, i CAN look past the premise which im not a fan of.

but the writing WAS just too hokey for me. Except for the foul language, i stand by my opinion that the characters acted and spoke as silly as and DH episode.

the "sassy" black bartender who "don' take no shit from no one!"... the flamingly gay chef/tranny... even anna paquins doe eyed, country bumpkin character were all too sterotypical and silly for my tastes..

Anonymous said...

I like my vampires too. But I like them typical old school scary/hot. I only saw a few minutes of this, but it doesn't seem to fit into the old school notions even a little bit. Oh well, I only caught it on the Diretv free preview weekend anyhow. So, no big loss.

Anonymous said...

Slyde, your dead on, hit the nail on the head, put the stake through the heart. It blew. It was a big disappointment. They certainly changed the whole "vampire mythos", but didn't back it up with any clever storyline or dialogue. It was almost goofy. I expected more from a primetime HBO series. Earl, did you watch the same program? When does the new season of Dexter start? that will occupy my Sunday night timeslot.

Mermaid Melanie said...

i saw a little snippet of this on the web today. This is one of the reasons i don't have cable anymore. I would have wasted my valuabale CHAT time watching this drivel.

I am going to put the 6 feet under series on my netflix list. fer sure.

Verdant Earl said...

Vampires as a proxy for minorities (gays, blacks, etc...), the grandmother excited to have a vampire speak to the Sons of the Confederacy, sexual politics, drug culture...

I'm not sure what "adult themes" you wanna see him tackle with this material. It seems to me that all the series is going to be about is using the vampire mythos and their new place in our culture as a metaphor to tackle social issues.

As for "complex characters"...dude! It's only one episode. Give it a chance. Were any of the characters from SFU "complex" in that first episode? If you only went by that first episode, Nate would have only been an dirty hippy and David would have been an uptight prick. The characters were fleshed out over the course of a few seasons. Not just one episode.

And while I agree that the stereotypes were a little annoying, it is anything but stereotypical to have a flamboyently gay and outspoken black man working at a redneck bar and grill in the South. I'm pretty sure I'm right about that.

I really don't know what you cats were expecting. But it sounds like you were expecting the same old same old. And that isn't what Alan Ball is all about.

Verdant Earl said...

One additional point on the dialogue.

Six Feet Under was Alan Ball's creation. Everything came from him.

True Blood is based on the novels by Charlaine Harris and she has some writing credits on the show. So it may be that he is sticking to the source material for some of the dialogue. I don't know, not having read the books.

Anonymous said...

Oh you two take your movies and television so seriously! LOL. Given the first episode was hokey, I'm thinking it could get better with time. Many new shows have that hokey uncomfortableness at first. I'd like to see a couple of episodes before I pass judgement on this one.

Slyde said...

honey: you've got it right... it doesnt fit into old school vampy stuff 1 bit.

abes: for once, i agree with you (and even remotely LIKE you)..

mel: agree! see earl? no one agrees with you.

Slyde said...

earl: not true. I GET that the vampire is being used to represent an oppressed minority... i just think that the way it was being written was a tad too juvenille and 2 dimensional for the likes of an Alan Ball.

Maybe the fact that he isnt sole writer DOES have something to do with it.

Slyde said...

teeni: missy, you aint seen nuthin!

Earl and i have been known to discuss for HOURS any NUMBER of crappy tv shows and movies...

Ali said...

I have absolutely nothing to say about the show, since I
a) didn't know it existed, and
b) AM a Desperate Housewives addict, so will be watching that instead on Sunday nights.

That being said - I love vampires. Definitely the sexiest of the horrors.

Verdant Earl said...

Slyde and I have spent hour upon hour discussing tv shows and movies. And he is always on the wrong side of the argument.

Except when he agrees with me. In those instances, of course, he is always right.

Angie said...

Slyde... call it a day and nibble on a neck... : ) all in good fun babe!!!
Sorry to say I didn't watch it, Sunday nights are devoted to Football...

Ookami Snow said...

Humm maybe I would be cranking up the BitTorrent-ma-bob after all. Need more reviews...

Queen of the Mayhem said...

"Usually when I poop my pants, it’s with shame and disgust, but not this time."

This made me laugh out loud! So you can see the highbrow nature of my personality!

We don't even have I cannot comment on the new show. Though I did see my fair share of SFU and it was good.

Michelle said...

Slyde dude just wanna point out that you used the word glee twice!!

That said, i did not watch it yet. YET!! But, you bet once i do i will weigh in here with some sort of opinion!

If your looking for something really intelligent and adult to watch Sunday evenings check out Mad Men on AMC!!!


♥ÐÅyÐяєÅмє®♥ said...

another vampire series..m gonna cry out loud..woohoooooooooooooooooooooo

Sweets said...

Slyde!!! SIX FEET UNDER was one of my favourite shows of all time too!!!! and that last episode... one word! brilliant... awwww now i feel all nostalgic :)

Tamara said...

I'll give you my opinion in six years' time when South Africa eventually gets this show.

Mrs. Hall said...

I have to say, I did once enjoy six feet under. But it began to invade too much of my life.

That show was like a earworm, only more of a brainworm. I wasn't really together enough to withstand the pounding. So I had to stop.

I stopped watching when the non-gay brother buried his wife. And when the latino guy started cheating on this wife. After that I was out!

I am not sure if this is the mark of a good writer or not, creating earworms. It will be interesting to see what happens when Mr. Ball applies a lighter touch.


Mrs. Hall

Bruce Johnson said...

I think the bigger question is this.....when you are full of 'glee', do you really poop your pants? There is therapy for that sort of thing you know.

Slyde said...

ali: a desperate housewives fan? ah, how could you? i thought we HAD something...

earl: its sad because its true... mostly.

sunshine: you supply the neck, and i'll supply the nibble...

Slyde said...

ookami: no you dont. MY review should suffice.

queen: SFU was indeed good. quite good. SUPER good, in fact.

michele: yeah i know.. ive GOTTA watch mad men.. i know its good.

daydreamer: dont cry for vampires!

Slyde said...

sweets: again, we are on the same page... :)

tamara: 6 years? in that time you could just move here during the season, watch the show for 4 months, then move back!

mrs hall: i beleive you will be dissapointed. those episodes you mentioned were some of the more powerfull topics on the show...

lotus: i dont know if theres therapy, but i know they have adult diapers..

Angie said...

) (
) (__
(.)(.)\ \
| \ \
| \ \

I supplied more than my neck...

Ali said...

Wait - you're writing me off for liking Desperate Housewives? For realsies?
Alright - I've axed it from my show list :)

Janine / Being Brazen said...

Did you ever see the vampire series "Moonlight" - that was cool - it was cancelled after only one season.

Slyde said...

sunshine: yes, you certaintly DID supply more.... you little vixen you :)

ali: ok then.. we can be boyfriend/girlfriend again. The best part of making up is the make-up sex!

brazen: i never watched it.. it was certainly on my radar last year, but i didnt want to get involved in another show, so i avoided it.

Anonymous said...

Good for people to know.