Personally I never lost faith in the phrase “It’s not TV, it’s HBO.” While the loss of seminal shows The Sopranos and Sex and the City in 2006 and 2004, respectively, seemed to create doubt that HBO could keep the “groundbreaking, critically-acclaimed, smash hit” original programming train rolling along, they’ve hit another one out of the park this past year with my, and many other fan(g)s, newest obsession True Blood.
Steering away from the heavy, dramatic themes of his first HBO series Six Feet Under, Alan Ball’s latest is treading neck-high in the blood-soaked waters of the vampire mythos. Pulling from Charlaine Harris’s sudsy, southern gothic series of books and riding the waves of that other supernatural sensation concerning creatures of the night (who walk around during the day — really?) TB is leading the way in making HBO’s Sunday night line-up appointment TV and Monday morning watercooler talk again. In its second season premiere, TB received ratings that had not been seen on HBO since The Sopranos series finale, and continues to keep viewers hungry for more with nail-biting, jaw-dropping cliffhangers every week.
With vampires all the rage it’s not surprising the network that gave us a girl with all the gossip and a rebirth of the most well-known zip code in the country would follow the trend with their own adaptation of a living dead novel series as this fall The CW gives us the toothy(less?) Vampire Diaries.
Not to naysay on themes/storylines I find myself inherently mesmerized by — thank you Joss Whedon for giving me snarky vamps and wry werewolves — but try as they may The CW has not yet turned me to the dark side with its oh my guilty pleasure Gossip Girl or the resurrection of Kelly & Brenda on the new 90210. On this track record and seeing theTwilight re-hash sneak peeks I find myself incredulously investigating what appears less like a delicious spin on blood-sucking fiends and more a cliched weekly appeasement to Twi-hard tweens looking to tide themselves over until said movie series is back at their local multi-plex.
Make every effort to catch up on True Blood if you haven’t already been bitten – season 1 now available on DVD and iTunes, all previously-aired season 2 episodes now playing on HBO On Demand and new episodes every Sunday at 9PM Eastern/8PM Central until September. Jury’s still out on any tune-in worthiness of Vampire Diaries.