Daily Archives: June 21, 2014

True Blood and Why Vampires Are So Popular in Media?

Vampires – undead bloodsucking fiends who look at humans like walking Happy Meals. Occasionally, some of them have even been known to shout, “Bleah!”

For years now, even decades, it seems like every week there’s a new vampire book, movie or TV show. I’m not really sure where it all began, but personally, I feel as though I have not seen an end to the vampire craze since the early 1990’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer film, not to be confused with the much better Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show.

Anne Rice made vampires emotional with such books as Interview with the Vampire (or other works featuring her perennial returning vampire, L’estat de Lioncourt. Buffy made vampires funny. Stephanie Meyer made vampires wusses with her Twilight series of novels, though hey, it’s hard to knock her. With the level of success she has had, she must of done something right.

And now, True Blood has made vampires – well, dirty. So depraved actually that the only place you can see these vampires is pay cable.

Game of Thrones has ended, much like the Night’s Watch come sunrise. In my opinion, True Blood lags behind GoT but I suppose that argument is like comparing apples and oranges – or, maybe, dwarves and werewolves?

Bookshelf Battle HBO Viewing Schedule

If it’s Winter, I’m watching…True Detective

If it’s Spring, I’m watching…Game of Thrones

If it’s Summer, I’m watching…True Blood though
apparently not for much longer.

If it’s Fall, I’m watching…Boardwalk Empire

Bless you, HBO, for removing the crappyness for televison

For those new to the True Blood universe, “Truebie Newbies” if you will, The show is based on the The Southern Vampire Mysteries aka the Sookie Stackhouse Series of novels by author Charlaine Harris. Honestly, I’ve never read them, which probably is not a good admission for a book blogger, but oh well, if YOU are interested in reading them and want to let me know how they were, here is the reading order:

Reading Order for The Southern Vampire Mysteries Series by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark 2001

Living Dead in Dallas 2002

Club Dead 2003

Dead to the World 2004

Dead as a Doornail 2005

Definitely Dead 2006

All Together Dead 2007

From Dead to Worse 2008

Dead and Gone 2009

Dead in the Family 2010

Dead Reckoning 2011

Deadlocked 2012

Dead Ever After 2013

You have to hand it to Charlaine. She has been steadily churning out one of these vampire novels every year since the early 2000’s. I’ll probably never read them because, well, I’m a dude and I get the impression that with all of the vampire/human/werewolf/other assorted beasts lovers’ quarrels going on, I’ll get bored and fall asleep, leaving my neck prime real estate for some evil fanged creature to nosh on like I’m some kind of discount nacho plate sold at 7-11.

But like Stephanie, Charlaine must be doing something right, so by all means, read them and tell me what you think. Oddly enough, while the novels have not interested, I have been hooked on the show for quite some time now. Is it the exceptionally (and often ridiculously) gratuitous scenes of in flagrante delicto? Is it the exceptionally (and again, often ridiculously) gratuitous scenes of gore?

Nah. I like to think of myself as more evolved than that. For me, it’s the storyline. A good TV show grabs the viewer, makes him care about the characters and want to know what happens next for them so much that he has no choice but to tune in next week. That’s why I watch Game of Thrones and that’s why I watch True Blood.

If you’re coming into the show late, what are some things you’ll want to know? Well, for starters, the show takes place in a world where vampires have essentially come out of the closet. Since the beginning of time, they lived in the shadows, feeding off humans but not revealing their existence for fear of human retaliation. The vampires answer to a behind the scenes vampire government that punishes vampires for disobeying various rules deemed necessary for their safety. When a synthetic blood substitute called “True Blood” is invented that satisfies all of a growing vampire’s nutritional needs, the vampire government ends the years of secrecy and makes the presence of vampires known to the world.

The hope is that vampires and humans will get along and prosper together but the results are disastrous. Many vampires disagree with the decision to end their secret. They think True Blood tastes gross and prefer to eat humans for breakfast.

If I have one complaint about the show, it’s that the concept starts out similar to Alien Nation i.e. the human world suddenly learns that mythical creatures actually do exist and now everyone has to find a way to live together in harmony. However, what happens instead is that practically every episodes, the vampires kill, dismember, torture, eat or otherwise attack humans and then complain about why humans hold them in such contempt.

People hold a genuine displeasure towards beings that try to turn them into lunch. Go figure.

Overall, it’s a show worth watching though I think I’ll skip the novels. It has “jumped the shark” in recent years with plotlines and scenes that have become exceptionally silly as well as some scenes that, well, let’s just say push the limits of even pay cable.

Back to our original question – why have vampires become such a big part of pop culture? My two cents – it has something to do with the changes over the years in how vampires have changed. It started out with Dracula and Nosferatu – evil, hideous, damned creatures. Then you have Buffy, Twilight, and True Blood who live forever, go on various adventures, amass great wealth from having lived so long – heck, some of them even swear off eating humans and learn to live on fake blood and become not half-bad undead beings to hang around with.

Though the market is vampire saturated, I would say the interest must come from the fact that vampires are basically immortal and impervious, with a few exceptions (stake through the heart, fire, garlic, holy water, etc.) As humans, we have to watch what we eat, get lots of sleep, workout at the gym, take vitamins and the fear that we’ll all eventually sooner or later (hopefully a lot later for all of us) meet our maker makes the idea of getting lost in fantasy worlds where characters get to live forever appealing.

In conclusion, when you walked in the air went out.

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