Werewolf Fact of the Day

Werewolf Book 2e
ISBN: 9781578593675

What supernatural TV series has a werewolf as a main character?

  • It started playing on HBO in 2008.
  • It is produced by Alan Ball.
  • It has won a Golden Globe and an Emmy.
  • It features telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse.

True Blood (television series, 2008-)

The Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning series True Blood came into being when producer Alan Ball arrived a few minutes early for a dental appointment and, as he spent some time browsing in a bookstore, picked up a copy of Charlaine Harris's Dead until Dark. Highly respected for his Six Feet Under HBO series, which had run for five seasons, Ball sold the premium cable channel on a new series based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries novels by Harris, which features Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress who works in Merlotte's Bar in the fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps. When True Blood premiered on HBO on September 7, 2008, it depicted a world in which the existence of vampires, shape-shifters, telepaths, and other supernatural creatures are accepted as inhabitants of the real world.

As the first episode unfolds in Bon Temps, we learn that vampires have been walking freely among humans for two years because of a Japanese creation of synthetic blood that is marketed as "Tru Blood." When Sookie (Anna Paquin, the second youngest Academy Award winner for 1993's The Piano) cannot read the thoughts of bar patron Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), she realizes that Merlotte's is serving its first vampire. Later, she saves the 173-year-old Compton from a local couple who wants to drain him for his vampire blood (V Juice), which certain despicable individuals have discovered is a powerful narcotic for humans.

A romantic relationship develops between Sookie and Compton that by the end of the first season is complicated by Eric Northman, a vampire sheriff (Alexander Skarsgard) who is intrigued by both Sookie's attractiveness and her telepathic abilities. Fans of the series now had a Team Bill and a Team Eric to increase the sexual tension.

During the second season, social worker Maryann Forrester (Michelle Forbes) is revealed as a Maenad, an ancient entity who follows the Greek god Bacchus and who now demands tribute from all creatures, supernatural or otherwise, who serve alcohol. With her power to exercise control over humans, she is able to place nearly the entire population of Bon Temps under her spell. Compton and Eric visit Sophie-Anne Leclerq (Evan Rachel Wood), the vampire queen of Louisiana, to gain advice that will allow them to defeat Maryann.

It was not until season three of the series that a werewolf, Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello), entered the cast of supernatural characters. (One simply cannot have vampires for very long without adding werewolves, and, of course, vice versa.) In addition to a werewolf, the series also introduced Witches, a family of werepanthers, and revealed that Sookie comes from fairy heritage. Alcide was introduced in the third episode as a bodyguard hired by Erik to protect Sookie after Bill Compton has gone missing. Sookie suspects that the vampire sheriff has something to do with her boyfriend's disappearance.

In season four, beginning in June 2011, producer/creator Alan Ball promised that Witches, fairies, and shape-shifters will play even more prominent roles and add another dimension to the saga that began as a vampire series. Shape-shifter Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) and his brother Tommy (Marshall Allman) will up the ante by taking to the skies for a falcon-owl duel. Trammell told TV Guide's William Keck that in the new season "We're really going to be twisting the Real Unexplained of the shape-shifter."

Joe Manganiello has said that he was a fan of the series before he was cast as Alcide. He was also a fan of the classic films with Lon Chaney Jr., Boris Karloff, and Bela Lugosi. Halloween was his favorite holiday as a kid, and every year his mother would help him come up with an elaborate costume.

In True Blood, Manganiello does not undergo an on-camera transformation into a wolf, nor does he apply extensive makeup to become a Wolf Man. In the truest tradition of the werewolf, his character Alcide actually turns into a live wolf. His name is Thunder, the actor said. He is a giant North American timber wolf with yellow eyes.

The werewolves in True Blood do not move as freely in society as the vampires do. They must remain much more hidden because of their transformation that comes with the full moon. While vampires have been able to come out of their coffins and join human society, werewolves must still follow the ancient rules of their lupine past.

Manganiello remembered being told in Catholic elementary school that if one prayed to God and one's faith were pure, miracles could be accomplished. At that time, Joe was a little boy with Coke-bottle glasses, so he got up every morning at 5:30 and prayed for weeks on end that God would turn him into a werewolf. Nothing happened. But now, he said, twenty-five years later, he was being turned into a werewolf. His prayers were answered.

From The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings, Second Edition by Brad Steiger, (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R) Steiger's homage to the beast within provides meaty facts for the lycanthropic in all of us.

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