Last weekend, my roommate Will and I embarked on an odyssey that we won’t soon forget. Over a 48 hour period spanning Friday evening to the Sunday night premiere of HBO’s hit series “True Blood,” we watched its first two seasons, each with 12 hour-long episodes. Aside from two 8-hour periods of sleep, that left us with only 8 hours of the weekend for non-True-Blood-related activities, such as eating, going to the bathroom, or watching the Celtics beat the Lakers.
We planned out the weekend hour-by-hour, in order to make sure we saw the entire series before the season premiere (our planning board is below). We also knew we’d have to stock up on snacks (and cook for ourselves) because any time we spent eating (or running to the convenience store) would be time not spent watching the show. We didn’t really look into what effect this would have on our health, though we probably should have.
I won’t do an episode-by-episode breakdown of the series; however, we did live-tweet the marathon. You can see our general feelings about the show there, along with a whole lot of self-promotion (we got 15 followers!) Twittering the marathon was fun. When we had problems with our Comcast Digital Cable, we threatened Comcast over that we would switch to DirectTV, which got us a quick response that (mostly) solved our issue (We’re watching you, @comcastcares!). Eventually, though, the tweets basically devolved into obnoxious random hashtags (#selfreferential).
In the end, the marathon was totally worth it. We finished the show with forty minutes before the premiere, leaving us some time to watch the Celtics gain an early lead on the Lakers. What’s more, it helped me better understand the premiere, though I was slightly delirious. This isn’t the kind of show you need to watch every episode to understand, but knowing who all the characters are and when they’ve cropped up before is helpful. Will, Josh, and the gang have been considering more marathons as more season premieres come up (Entourage, Mad Men, and Dexter have been bandied about, fire up the Twitter engines…) I’m in favor: watching a series in succession really gives one a chance to consider it as an artistic whole. 24 episodes in 48 hours was a little extreme, though.
As for the series True Blood, I have to give it some props. The show is a lot like Dexter, and as Josh has put it, shows like Dexter can be very enjoyable, even when artistically mediocre. One may be deceived into thinking True Blood is an art series (à la The Wire or The Sopranos), with its irreverent parody of Southern culture and the gay rights movement (“God Hates Fangs”), but the show is a soap opera at heart. It does soap opera well. The constant flow of new subplots and sex scenes keep the show moving, and do a good job of balancing the light and dark comedy. It’s a great guilty pleasure, which perhaps explains why it’s one of HBO’s biggest successes since “Sex and the City.” It’s got something to offer for everyone: drinking, partying, drugs, sex, more sex, and weird vampire stuff too.
For what it’s worth, I appreciate the show even though I actually don’t think it was all that well suited for a marathon. Because it’s more of a TV-show–rather than an art-show–24 hours of True Blood began to run together and it became easy to lose my attention. It’s a fun show, but I’m sure it will be more fun now that I watch it once a week.
- @comcastcares is Comcast’s customer service Twitter account.
- True Blood is conducting a viral marketing campaign on Twitter. This was actually pretty impressive; we got Direct Messages from HBO-owned Twitter accounts of characters in the series. Very interactive.
- We made cod on Saturday