The series "True Blood" debuted on HBO tonight. It's done a lot of second unit work in northwest Louisiana.
(Sorry for my unplanned two-week absence, folks, but a Gustav-related assignment in New Orleans kept me from blogging. I wish I had had some time to do some vampire research!)
It should go without saying that having a TV series set in northwest Louisiana -- even if it's shot primarily in L.A., as I understand -- is a big deal for the local industry. It keeps the state on an ever-competitive film industry map.
That said, the Southern gothic vampire series started out slow for me. It's full of style and mystery but not much substance yet -- besides the wonderful Anna Paquin as the series' heroine, Sookie Stackhouse. Of course, it's just a series debut and good characters take a lot of time to develop. Hopefully this one will find its hooks in the coming weeks.
What do you think so far? Like or no like? See any of Shreveport or Louisiana in the episode one?
I counted two Shreveport references plus two more to Marthaville and Monroe. (The cast needs to learn how to pronounce the last though: MUN-roe.)
Critics are split so far.
From The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley: "'True Blood' is based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries, a series of fantasy novels by Charlaine Harris that revolve around Sookie Stackhouse, a cocktail waitress who solves murders while playing hard to bite with a tall, handsome vampire. Mr. Ball has taken what is basically a quirky romance novel and turned it into an R-rated melodrama puffed up with erotic tension and campy gore. It’s creepy, steamy and funny at times, and it’s also a muddle, a comic murder mystery that is a little too enthralled with its own exoticism. 'True Blood' is outré, but it’s not nearly as eccentric and inventive as 'Six Feet Under' or even 'Big Love.'"
From the Orlando Sentinel’s Hal Boedecker: "After watching five episodes, I can say 'True Blood' stands out as one of the strongest new series in an uncertain fall. Alan Ball, creator of 'Six Feet Under,' has adapted Charlaine Harris' novels with wit, verve and passion."