It’s a while since we’ve done a fictional hoyden, and I’m enjoying the series Trueblood, in which Sookie is the primary character, so far (Episode 4 of Season 1, based on the Southern Vampire series of novels by Charlaine Harris). Firstly, here is an author-approved fanlisting‘s title artwork, which sums up the basics about Sookie:
Aiming for a spoiler free discussion here (whatever you do, if you want to remain unspoiled, do not read the Wikipedia articles on this character), so I’ll only mention a few things that are obvious within the first half hour of the first episode. Vampires are out in the open after centuries hidden in the shadows, because of the invention of a synthetic blood on which they can survive without victimising living people. Society (both the living and the undead) is still reeling from this and adjusting rather unevenly.
Yep, telepaths and vampires. And more besides. I like the way they deal with telepathy, that perceiving the thoughts of others is a terribly intrusive burden and that all Sookie wants to do most of the time is just block it all out, and allowing herself the intimacy of a boyfriend is out of the question. Until…(no spoilers!)
I’m finding Sookie immensely appealing so far, and her best friend Tara kicks arse. Two smart women without the benefit of a formal education who refuse to be pushed around. I really hope neither of them become wet and drippy as the series progresses.
Another side of the series is that there is a lot of sexay sashaying around the Louisiana bayou. Sookie and Tara both make their compromises with sexual objectification in order to be employed obviously resented without being horridly bitter about it, and issues of racism and class are explored as well. These layers of characterisation of Sookie and the supporting characters (including dead or alcoholic parents, drug addiction, prostitution, the alluring perils of vampire sex, rampant promiscuity in general and dire Southern poverty) are obviously what appealed to producer/adapter/director Alan Ball:
“Charlaine has just created this amazing world that’s funny and vibrant and scary and also a sort of social treatise, you know what I mean?” Ball says.
“The books are violent and that’s part of the appeal,” he says. “It’s visceral and predatory and unapologetically sexual. And it’s unapologetically romantic in the sense of an old-fashioned romance novel.”
The centuries-old vampire metaphor is “also about the terrors of intimacy, and about any kind of misunderstood, hated, feared minority — homosexuals, other cultures,” Ball says. “When I first pitched ‘True Blood’ to HBO, I called it ‘popcorn TV for smart people.’ “
It is more than a little popcorny. But I really hope I continue to enjoy it as much as I have so far.