In 2008, it was the bite heard round the world. Vampires were all the rage and True Blood soared into popularity. Watching it back 13 years later, I still understand why. Talented plotting, character, and intrigue await a new or returning viewer.

Bill: “What are you?”

Sookie: “Well, I’m Sookie Stackhouse and I’m a waitress.”

The Premise

In this pilot episode, we learn of all the characters:

  • Sookie, our otherworldly waitress who can read minds and isn’t afraid of anyone. Sure, she doesn’t have a sex life and willing admits it multiple times, but she did help save a vampire’s life in the pilot of the show.
  • Jason, Sookie’s playboy brother. He’s a player, and may have possibly killed someone on camera.
  • Bill, the new vampire in town who has an alarming amount of allure to Sookie.
  • Tara, Sookie’s childhood best friend. Does not play around and definitely will cut you.
  • Lafayette, the sassy cook by night and construction worker by day. I’m over here wishing my fashion was as fresh as his. Did you even see his belted kilt this episode?
  • Adele, Sookie’s grandmother. Actually the best, sweetest grandmother character ever. She even wants Bill to tell her Descendants of the Glorious Dead group about the Civil War and his memories of it.
  • Sam, Sookie’s boss who is deeply in love with her.
  • The Rattrays, the local bad news drug dealers who are vampire drainers.
Sookie Stackhouse
Bill Compton

True Blood is set in a reality where vampires have “come out of the coffin” and live in peace with humans, drinking Tru Blood – a manufactured blood alternative. In Bon Temps, Louisiana, our cast of characters navigate a Southern life in which vampires live amongst them. Characters such as Sookie lean more progressively, not minding letting vampires live in her midst. Others like Jason and Tara feel that vampires are an atrocity, dangerous, and should be exiled.

The Plot

In this episode, Bill moves into town and is attacked by local vampire drainers, the Rattrays, looking to sell his blood for a pretty penny – $10,000 no less – and leave him for dead. Sookie saves him, sparking talk in the town and in Merlotte’s, the bar where she works.

Sookie’s brother Jason becomes involved with Maudette Pickens, who shares with him that she let a vampire suck her blood during sex for $1,000. So Maudette shows Jason the tape, where she is chained to the ceiling while the vampire shape shifts while having his way with her. The next day Jason is arrested when Maudette is found strangled at her home and a video tape showing Jason having sex with her the night before is discovered.

Meanwhile, Bill begins to haunt Sookie’s dreams and she sets up a meetup with him behind the bar after her shift at 1am. The episode ends with Sookie beaten by the Rattrays, blood dripping from her mouth as she curls inward on herself.

The Verdict

This pilot episode is saucy, dangerous, and leaves us with all the right cliffhangers. While some criticize the Southern dialects in the show, as a Tennessean, I find that all of the dialect and Southernisms ring true. Yes, grandma does always ask if you want sweet tea. And yes, some of us do have accents like that. Some of the characters do and some do not. All of the Southern atmosphere feels genuine and true to the setting. This pilot episode: a hit that makes you smash “Next: S1 Ep 2.”

Adele, Sookie’s grandmother
Lafayette – I mean the fashion is serious.

This pilot is a seriously good time that only gets better.

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5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)