Saturday, August 28, 2010

True Blood's take on Euripides

Euripides' Bakkhai translated by Gibbons and Segal

I'm watching season two of True Blood right now, and I have to ask, is Alan Ball channeling Euripides?

It seems that indeed someone was – although not Ball, but Charlaine Harris, the writer of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, which the series is based on.

I've found the entire season so far (I'm up to episode four) to be reminiscent of Bakkhai, especially with the introduction of Maryann to be the Dionysos character. So interesting, I think, and at least all of the gratuitous sex has a little more of a purpose (maybe?). Anyway, I googled "True Blood Bakkhai" and, sure enough, a shout-out to Wikipedia for the wiki from the Maenad entry:

"Charlaine Harris' The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels and its television adaption, the HBO series True Blood (2nd season, aired in summer 2009), feature maenads in the characters of Callisto and her television representation, Maryann, respectively. In the show, Maryann wishes to sacrifice a supernatural being, (Sam Merlotte), in hopes of summoning her god, Dionysus.[17]"

Maryann aka Callisto summoning Dionysos in episode four of True Blood.

So, my suspicions were confirmed, although not exactly... I was seeing Maryann as Dionysos himself and not as a maenad. I'm interested to see if any more myth is added, especially in terms of the eating of flesh in a series based on vampires... I think Sam's character as a shape-shifter (who regularly turns into a dog) will make this fascinating to continue watching, and I'll be interested to see if the maenads, aka residents of Bon Temps, Louisiana, do rip Sam apart.

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