Where are all my OG True Blood fans? Although it has not been officially announced, Variety has confirmed with their sources that a True Blood reboot is currently in development for HBO Max. This announcement brings out a mixed bag of emotions for me. True Blood was a groundbreaking series which effortlessly weaved together fantasy and reality without ever appearing goofy or campy. The series realized characters with an intriguing twist that I’d never seen portrayed on screen before it. It also wasn’t afraid to push the limits and give us both wild and thought-provoking imagery that still sticks out until this day. Over 6 years have passed since the show concluded, and somehow those episodes stand out through the lens of our ever-changing society. An attempt to reboot a series which has held such a strong hold on its fans is a very risky move, but is the move worth the risk? Let’s attempt to analyze this together and see.
One of the special aspects about True Blood was the show's ability to mesh the real with the unreal. Season One’s take on bigotry through the integration of vampire and human society was an amazing experience. Jargon such as “fang banger” was used with so much intensity that it could realistically be seen as a placeholder for any discriminatory attacks. The series’ southern setting, it’s drawl heavy accents, and its small-town character’s typical way of thinking were more than enough to substantiate its theme. There was the serial killer who was driven by a deeply embedded hatred for interspecies relations, the overprotective mother who hated her son’s love interest simply because of who she was, and then a sect of oppressed vampires who took extreme and deadly measures in combating humanity’s bigotry. It was so convincing that any of it could have easily been pulled from an alternate reality’s history book.
Now in 2020, perhaps the most divided, discriminatory, and controversial year in decades for many Americans, a rebooted True Blood has no shortage of inspiration to pull from. There’s the Women’s Liberation Movement, Black Lives Matter movement, Trans Lives Matter, Black Girl Magic, the fight for DACA rights, Defund the Police, and so much more. With all the debate raging from social media to socially distant dinner tables, how would oppressed and angry vampires, werewolves, witches and even fairies have added to these conversations? The very, surreal pandemic, which has left many of us trapped in fear, confusion and isolation, would serve as an excellent set-up to rouse the creatures of the night.
Current affairs have gifted so many topics to add to the enrichment of the True Blood lore, but that still leaves the question of whether these themes can be adapted in a way that would either complement or compete with the original series. True Blood was unapologetic with its satire on US southern culture. Would those same portrayals be able to survive the social justice sensitivities of the current world? Well, let’s take a look at some of the current most popular shows. If we consider Amazon Prime’s The Boys and its portrayal of Butcher and Homelander, we can gain some perspective on how to navigate a character’s antagonizing views throughout the landscape of today’s pop culture. If you’re going to push the envelope with offensive characters, the envelope has to be balanced and pushed both ways. If the True Blood reboot chooses to utilize a Trump-like character as the catalyst for the show’s action, it would benefit the show to set up an equally compelling character or concept as that character’s foil. Think about it? Can you imagine True Blood’s Lafayette slapping a MAGA militia in the dome with COVID burgers? I don’t know about you all, but I’d pay to see that.
Overall, I will say that I am excited about the news of the True Blood reboot. With HBO’s history of high quality storytelling, I’m confident that the show will only be greenlit with a fascinating script. What do you all think? Is the True Blood reboot a good idea or is the show one of those classics that shouldn’t be touched? What are some of your ideas for a rebooted concept? Sound off below with your opinions, and don’t be shy. Keep it Konkret!
J.E. Tyler is the author and poet of five published books. For more from this writer, please check him out at Amazon.com/author/jetyler