Paleyfest 2009: True Blood Panel
At 5 p.m. last Tuesday, the line for the True Blood panel at PaleyFest snaked around the Cinerama Dome toward the Arclight entrance. Many of the predominantly female fans of the HBO series had been camped out since early afternoon, traveling from as far as Texas and New York.
When the program began at 7 p.m. there were only a few empty seats toward the back of the balcony. The lights dimmed and, courtesy of The Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio), a 1967 excerpt from Dark Shadows - the cheesy low-production-values vampire soap opera - ran on the screen. The audience shrieked, although not half as much as they did when the highlights reel from Season One of True Blood followed, winding up with a two-scene preview from Season Two featuring telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse in peril, her vampire boyfriend, Civil War vet Bill Compton being dunderheaded as usual, and, best of all, a scary new supernatural creature!
The audience screamed again as the principal actors in the cast marched onstage. Alan Ball, creator of True Blood and the much-beloved Six Feet Under, explained that he was “sucked in” by author Charlaine Harris’ first vampire novel, Dead Until Dark, even though it wasn’t his usual read. He pursued the rights, and then HBO, until he got the green light on the series, which he noted has not yet been renewed for Season Three. “The best way to make sure this series runs forever,” he told the fans, “is to buy the DVD as soon as it comes out.”