A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this campy pay-cable vampire series from the creator of Six Feet Under is, like that show, very much intended for adults. There's lots of nudity, simulated sex scenes, gruesome fantasy violence, strong language (including "s--t" and "f--k"), drinking, drug use, and other mature content. That said, the show also explores the human ability to embrace and understand those who are different.
What's the story?
TRUE BLOOD takes place in a world where vampires have "come out of the coffin" and live openly among mortals. Anna Paquin stars as Sookie Stackhouse, a young Louisiana waitress known as the town's eccentric thanks to her telepathic abilities. She becomes even more of an outcast when she finds herself attracted to vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), who's decided to assimilate into the town's human community. As the townsfolk face their prejudices, Sookie's womanizing brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) finds himself mysteriously connecting with aspects of the vampire culture while striking up odd relationships with folks such as the colorful Lafayette Reynolds (Nelson Ellis) and, later, Sheriff Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer). Meanwhile, Sookie's best friend Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) and bar owner Sam Merlotte (Sam Tramell) have their own personal issues. And then there are the pesky non-conforming vampires who fuel the town's anti-bloodsucker sentiments, as well as werewolves, fairies, and other magical beings ...
Is it any good?
True Blood -- which is based on author Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries series and produced by Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball -- is a creative dramedy bolstered by both an unusual premise and strong, well-developed, colorful characters who add a touch of campy humor. That said, the show also uses vampires' mythic and rather violent sexual appetites as a way to explore human eroticism at various levels. So there are plenty of explicit conversations, over-the-top sex scenes, and obvious sadomasochist references.
Obviously, then, this show is meant for adults. And mature viewers will find that True Blood is definitely entertaining. It effectively weaves "everyday" topics such as romance and family dysfunction into a mystical fabric that results in some interesting and sometimes thought-provoking narratives. It also serves as a platform from which stereotypes and bigotry can be examined in an honest, open way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how vampires have been portrayed in the media over the years. Have those portrayals changed over time? If so, how?
What things do vampire-centric TV shows and movies tend to have in common? Why do you think so many vampire stories are intertwined with themes of sex and desire?
What messages does this show send about relationships and intimacy?
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.