‘True Blood’ Concludes First Season Tonight
HBO’s adaptation of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, True Blood, reaches its first season finale tonight. A second season has already been green-lit and in production for fall 2009.
With vampires all the rage, as witnessed by this weekend’s explosive box office for Twilight and other vamp tales getting optioned, the timing seemed serendipitous for the premium channel, which needed a hit.
The series, starring Anna Paquin, has seen its viewership rise by 66 percent since its debut in September, now averaging 6.8 million viewers.
"After Six Feet Under, where as an artist and a person I got to explore my whole relationship with grief for about five years, I just felt, OK, I don’t really need to spend any more time staring into the abyss," series creator Alan Ball told the Associated Press.
His pitch was readily accepted by HBO and the series quietly went into production. A viral marketing campaign, centering on Tru Blood, the synthetic blood substitute that allows vampires to come out of the closet, so to speak, launched over the summer and got mild buzz.
The series aired to good reviews but smaller than anticipated audiences. Yet, the numbers have been slowly but steadily growing with execs noting that despite airing throughout the week, the peak numbers have skewed towards the Sunday at 9 p.m. debut. This is the first series to generate that sort of attention in the timeslot since Sex and the City and The Sopranos.
Since then, the network has failed to create a show with similar cache.
"You start worrying," Michael Lombardo, HBO’s chief of West Coast operations said. "You see other networks putting on important programs on Sunday nights and you worry, `can you bring them back?’ What has been fantastic is to see the subscribers have been waiting for a Sunday night show they can make appointment viewing again."
Fortunately, the first season largely adapted the first novel with six more in print and another on the way. All feature Sookie, a southern girl who possesses ESP, making her unique in a world with vampires trying to integrate into society. The world also features shape-shifters and humans sipping on vampire blood get a better high than from any pharmaceutical. The core of the series revolves around the romance between Sookie and Bill Compton, a vampire returning to his homestead and played by Stephen Moyer.