Friday, July 29, 2011

What's wrong with True Blood

(The following post contains mild spoilers. You are duly warned.)

So I've been watching "True Blood", and by now I feel qualified to say that the show just doesn't work...except as a soap opera, and even there it's got problems. Here's why I think so:

1) The characters never change no matter what happens. Sookie has been betrayed on multiple occasions by Erik Northman, and yet she insists upon trusting him. Bill Compton is either Sookie's boyfriend, her ex-boyfriend or her enemy in turns, at it never seems to faze him. Jason has been pro-vampire, anti-vampire, and vampire-indifferent all in a single season. It's crazy, and if your defense is, "Well, since the characters interact with monsters, they don't have to act like human beings" then you're missing the point of drama, which is study of the human condition. I'm not particularly interested in characters who act like something other than human beings.

2) The magic is confusing. If vampires can move faster than the human eye can follow, there's little chance a human could ever hit one, even with a bullet; the vamp could dodge out of the way before you could even pull the trigger. Shifters can apparently only turn into animals that are on hand, except when they can turn into any animal they want. Sookie can send people flying with the flick of a finger, except whenever she's actually threatened with danger, at which time she can do nothing. And don't even get me started about Sookie's "telepathy", which was not sufficient for her to discover the murderer in Season One despite the fact that she spends half the season in the same room with the dude. Alfred Bester (from "Babylon 5") would have tracked down the guy before lunch and had him killed and buried in enough time to catch "Project Runway."

Magic is an acceptable story device, but it has to have rules and it has to be consistent, or else it's cheating. "True Blood" cheats.

3) The show is just vulgar. Every bit of violence is as explicit, bloody and graphic as possible, and the same goes for the sex. Humans are not killed; they are raped, terrorized, beaten, mutilated and then killed. When vamps are staked/stabbed/shot, they explode in great gouts of blood and viscera. Evidently, the directors think they if they turn the volume up to 10 in Scene One it will keep everyone excited until the end, but in fact, the opposite occurs. You get numb during the first fifteen minutes, and to snap you out of it the show tries somehow to get the volume to 11. After awhile, it's all just noise. They'd do better to dial it back, and only turn that knob to 10 when they have a real point to make...and only once in a while. But when your characters are flat and your storylines contrived, I guess you go with the noise.

I could go on and on, but I'll leave off. I understand why people watch "True Blood", and I can myself enjoy a hit of the show now and again. It's fun. However, you to enjoy this supernatural soap opera, you need to shut down your brain, and honestly, I enjoy drama more when my brain is on.


Anonymous Anju Kanumalla said...

I'm kind of glad I stopped watching in the first season (via netflix, granted). I still might give the books a try, though. I've heard there's quite a difference between the books and the tv show.

Oh, and do me a favor and check out the links pages on my site. I list both you and Dan on two of them, and I'm not sure if it's done they way you'd want. (And links to your book will be there once it comes out, of course.)

7:27 PM  
Blogger TrackerNeil said...

The links looks fine, thanks!

11:11 AM  

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