I am willing to admit that a huge part of my problem with TRUE BLOOD is that, just like heroine Sookie, I cannot get past the lead vampire being named “Bill.” Now, I have nothing against guys named Bill, it’s just not a very vampirish name (which could actually be a compliment, depending on your disposition toward undead blood-suckers).”William” would be much more suitable, I believe. Besides an imposing moniker, the other thing it would be nice for the lead in a drama to have is…a personality. Bill was sadly lacking in the premiere — a sneer is no substitute. (If I were being mean, I could suggest that Stephen Moyer add another facial expression to his repertoire, but Bill was supposed to be unapproachable, and then mad that somebody tried to drain his blood, so he was probably directed to emphasize that attitude.) I have to admit that draining the vampire’s blood was a nice twist on the idea of vamps draining the blood of their victims, but the show needed something more.
What it could have used a lot less of was the heavy-headed rights-for-minority-of-your-choice motif. There is such a thing as not crushing your story under the weight of metaphor. Creator Alan Ball‘s SIX FEET UNDER was not always subtle, but I don’t recall the anvils falling this fast and furiously. Trying to distract viewers with nudity and an intriguing opening-credit sequence (okay, and great music) wasn’t enough. And could Tara be any more nasty and off-putting? I am willing to check out next week’s episode to see if things get any better — but somehow I don’t think that attitude is what HBO had in mind for its trademark Sunday-at-9 slot.
HBO’s current signature series, ENTOURAGE, took the summer off, and it turned out Vince spent it living a life of wine-women-and-song decadence for”$79 a day” on a beach in Mexico. While I can understand his reluctance to return to Hollywood after the unholy bomb that was Medellin, isn’t the entire point of this series the idea that Vince can score all the fabulous babes he wants and live like a Roman emperor in Los Angeles (or anywhere)? Why get so hung up on these particular beach bunnies, unless the actual point is that he’s hiding? Besides, nobody can live without a weekly dose of Ari Gold. The priceless Jeremy Piven was in volcanic midseason form just moments into the premiere. Vince was back in circulation by the end of the episode, which was good thing, because I was not going to tune in to any series called BEACH COMBER. (Beside, NBC has something called CRUSOE that should cover that demographic.)
MAD MEN covers the”people who want cool shows” demo, and last night was no exception. Ken got a slice of the spotlight due to his fledgling writing career, which attracted a lot of attention from Salvatore and his wife Kitty (played by Sarah Drew, whom it took me a while to place as Hannah from the late, lamented EVERWOOD).
Another soap veteran, AS THE WORLD TURNS’ former Lucy, Peyton List, got a chance to flesh out Jane as a little more just a hottie vacuum-packed into form-fitting outfits. Turns out she has moxie and a no-nonsense attitude. She dismissed the Rothko painting as”smudgy squares” — which it is. (The artwork may make a viewer think, but there’s no denying its simplistic composition.) It was clever of her to sashay by Roger’s office to enlist his help saving her job from Joan’s jealousy. And that job is working for Don, who recalled another job he once held: used-car salesman. While pondering buying a new Cadillac, Don flashed back to a mystery woman confronting a not-so-Brylcreemed version of himself on the car lot where he worked and accusing him on not being”Don Draper.” Hmmm, obviously she knew DD, so what are the chances of that woman showing up again?
Speaking of things that come back to haunt us, we now know whom to blame for the odious practice of product placement: Bobbie Barrett (at least according to this universe). Bobbie allegedly came up with the scheme for her obnoxious hubby Jimmy’s show. One last bit of”repeating”: Betty puking in the car! After Don obsessed so much over keeping it immaculate (to the point of refusing sex and then later inspecting the kids’ hands), Jimmy’s accusations made Betty sick to her stomach. You can bet that will also come back to haunt Don.
I hope you come back for the next installment of Night Shift…