Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Saturday, 25 July 2009 12:16 UK

Vampire show goes for the jugular

By Peter Bowes
BBC News, Los Angeles

In the wake of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, society's enduring fascination with vampires has spawned another US TV show about bloodsuckers.

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer in True Blood
Paquin stars with British actor Moyer in the hit US show

Based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries novels by Charlaine Harris, True Blood is the brainchild of Alan Ball - best known for writing the Oscar-winning film American Beauty and producing Six Feet Under.

Set in Bon Temps, a fictitious small town in northern Louisiana, it is a coming-out story in which vampires are striving to be accepted in normal society.

Having recently emerged from their coffins, the bloodsuckers co-exist with humans with the help of a synthetic blood substitute.

The series, which has just received its British premiere on cable channel FX, stars Anna Paquin as a telepathic waitress who falls in love with a vampire.

"This is a pretty exciting crazy ride," says Paquin, who won an Academy Award for The Piano in 1994.

"All sorts of odd, weird, creepy and scary stuff starts happening as soon as vampires start emerging," explains the 27-year-old, who admits her violent, sexually explicit show is not for the squeamish.

"If you have a weak stomach you may need to close your eyes a few times," she adds.


The storyline focuses on the conflict between man and vampire and the varying degrees to which the monsters are accepted in society.

"I was just blown away by how funny and brilliant the script is," says British actor Stephen Moyer, who plays Paquin's 173-year old boyfriend.

Kristin Davis and Robert Pattinson
The stars of Twilight are currently working on sequel New Moon

"Alan has built this framework which just looks like a vampire story. But underneath it's a very intellectual take, in a very popcorn way, on what the vampire mythology is."

True Blood has been compared with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a television hit loved by critics that enthralled academics as much as teenagers.

Parallels have also been drawn with Twilight, the romantic fantasy film in which a teenage girl and a vampire fall in love.

"By the very nature of the overused term 'zeitgeist', when two things are thought of at the same time there's a friction in the air and everybody jumps onto it," says Moyer.

But his co-star Nelsan Ellis, who plays an entrepreneur who sells vampire blood, is quick to point out that True Blood "is not a family show".


"There is a lot of blood, a lot of guts and a lot of nudity," he says. "Twilight is very safe and you can bring the kids."

The love affair that audiences have with vampires appears to transcend cultures and age demographics.

Aidan Turner in Being Human
Vampires also feature in BBC Three series Being Human

"They are incredibly powerful," says Moyer. "They have a magnetism and they can hypnotise.

"Women are treated quite well but quite roughly at the same time. I think that's very romantic and sexy."

Although True Blood is in its infancy, its subversive story arc appears to be tailor-made for its main star.

"I didn't set out to push the boundaries, but I've never been particularly conservative in my taste," says Anna Paquin.

"If you're going to commit to a job for possibly seven seasons, it had better be something like this where there's a lot to engage."

True Blood airs in the UK on the FX channel.

Print Sponsor

Fans get Twilight sequel preview
24 Jul 09 |  Entertainment
New series for Being Human show
26 Feb 09 |  Entertainment
Buffy's final slaying
21 May 03 |  Entertainment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific