True Blood is an American television drama series produced and created by Alan Ball. It is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, detailing the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional small town in northwestern Louisiana. The series centers on the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress with an otherworldly quality.
The show was broadcast on the premium cable network HBO in the United States. It was produced by HBO in association with Ball's production company, Your Face Goes Here Entertainment. The series premiered on September 7, 2008 and concluded on August 24, 2014, comprising seven seasons and 80 episodes. The first five seasons of the series received generally favorable reviews, being nominated for and winning several awards, including a Golden Globe and an Emmy.
The fictional universe depicted in the series is premised on the notion that vampires exist, unbeknownst to the majority of humans until two years before the series premiere, when the creation of synthetic blood ("Tru Blood") by Japanese scientists allowed vampires to "come out of the coffin" and reveal their existence to the world on the basis that they no longer need human blood to survive. This so-called "Great Revelation" has split the vampires of the world into two camps: Those who wish to integrate into human society (aka "mainstream") by campaigning for citizenship and equal rights, and those who think that human-vampire co-existence is impossible because it is in conflict with the inherently violent nature of vampires. Throughout the series, other supernatural creatures are introduced, among them shapeshifters, werewolves, faeries, witches and a maenad.
The series revolves around Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic human-faerie hybrid known as a halfling (not to be confused with similarly named, but unrelated creatures found in other fantasy works). Sookie is a waitress at Merlotte's Bar and Grill, owned by Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Sam is a shapeshifter, though this secret is kept hidden from most of the town. Other characters include Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a 173-year-old vampire who has returned to Bon Temps to take up residence in his former home following the death of his last remaining relative; Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), Sookie's tough-talking but insecure best friend; Sookie's womanizing brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten); thousand-year-old vampire and Sheriff of Area 5, Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård); and Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis), a short order cook, drug dealer, road crew member and medium.
The show explores several contemporary issues, such as the struggle for equal rights, discrimination and violence against minorities and homosexuals, the problems of drug addiction, the power of faith and religion, the control/influence of the media, the quest for identity and the importance of family.