This week my wife and I spent a few nights catching up on True Blood, the HBO vampire show with Anna Paquin that seems to be all the rage these days. Ratings are going through the roof and critics and fans seem to love the show something fierce.
Apparently I’m in the minority that just can’t see what all the fuss is about. The first 6 episodes I found an exercise in tedium. Sure, there are some relatively fine performances from both Paquin, who plays Sookie Stackhouse as a mixture of sincerity, smarts, and naiveté, and Stephen Moyer’s nearly 200 year old vampire Bill Compton. The two have real chemistry together (makes sense, seeing as how they’re engaged in the real world) and Moyer brings some real menace to his vampire. But storywise, the first half of True Blood Season 1 just dragged on for me. And as the show rolled on and the pace picked up a bit, the focus still seemed to be more on the swearing and sex then on giving compelling reasons to watch.
On that note, one thing that True Blood demonstrates to me in every episode is that just because you can do something on cable doesn’t mean you have to. Just because you can get away with saying “fuck” doesn’t mean you have to curse all the time. Just because you can show a bare ass or a nipple doesn’t mean every episode needs to be riddled with them, does it? Some consider True Blood to be the sexiest vampire show ever just because you get a few good sex scenes per episode. But I’d argue you don’t need to see it all to be titillated. Ok, pun intended.
After finishing up our True Blood marathon, I went back to watch a few episodes of what’s not only the best vampire series of all time, but also one of the best television series to have ever been broadcast, on network or cable. Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a superior show to True Blood in every regard. The writing is smarter. The acting is better. The villains are badder. The characters ring true and are multifaceted. The best episodes are a mixture of everything that makes scripted material work – love, lust, fear, anger, humour. And the show could be damn sexy without anyone taking their clothes off. Just check out the opening scene to Graduation Day Part 2, the finale for Season 3 of Buffy (arguably the best of the show’s seven year run).
No boobs. No butts. Just a bare neck, two fangs, and some droplets of blood.
Hey, I’m happy that so many people are hooked by True Blood. There were definitely some cool moments throughout Season 1, including the trial episode towards the end of the season. In my book, the more vampires on television and in theatres the better. But watching a few episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer the other day just helped remind me that when it comes to vamps on tv, there’s only ever going to be one Chosen One.
What do you think? Buffy or True Blood? Vote on our poll and let us know which show you think is best!