True Blood and Dexter

When I started watching back episodes of True Blood a few months ago, I did so on the heels of having watched back episodes of Dexter. Only the other night, having gotten through most of the third season of True Blood, did it occur to me that these were both shows about blood, about killers and deviants. What am I, some kind of psycho? I suppose I’m in plenty of company if so.

It’s not just blood the shows have in common, though. Both hooked me early with story lines that made me want to stay tuned. As the episodes began to pile up, they both also turned into soap operas, and I cringe now to watch them. Yet I continue to watch. I think it becomes a matter of my feeling as if I’ve invested enough time now that there’s really no going back. I don’t mean to suggest that I don’t enjoy the shows, but I do also find them frustrating.

What’s appealing to me about these shows initially, I think, is that they offer new twists on old themes. In Dexter, we see the forensic drama twisted back on itself with a forensic investigator who is himself a serial killer. In True Blood, we see vampires trying (some of them) to step out of the shadows and join human society (with a nice glancing side-commentary on bigotry on top of that). Maybe other shows have played with these conventions in similar ways; I don’t watch a whole lot of TV and so can’t say with any authority. I can say only that I think these twists are what draw me to these shows.

But ultimately the shows disappoint me. The novelty makes way for romantic melodrama that really chaps my hide. Still, I’ll watch. The next season of True Blood begins on June 26.

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