'True Blood' vs. 'Mad Men': Which Deserves More Acclaim?

More

With its deft blending of genres, mixing in elements of horror and romance with good old-fashioned soapy drama, there's an argument to be made that True Blood is more than the "gore and sex" HBO program that it's become known to be. It's expertly acted, cleverly written, and a watercooler mainstay. So, Slate asks, why isn't is as critically acclaimed as summer's other Sunday night TV buzz hog, Mad Men?:

Even though True Blood is a colossal hit, the biggest for HBO since The Sopranos, Mad Men gets more features, think pieces, and references from Maureen Dowd. If you doubt that it's the darling of the prestige press, take a look at Katie Roiphe's close reading in Sunday Styles yesterday, explaining how the appeal of Mad Men relies on "the thrill of casual vice, on the glamour of spectacularly messy, self-destructive behavior." It's a perfectly fine argument, but it would be much better if you replaced every mention of Mad Men with True Blood. The shows, both stylish and soapy and blessed with excellent actors work the same fantasy, but True Blood gives it to you with a splat.

It may be that old elite snobbishness toward lowbrow genres remains. Then again, The Sopranos earned acclaim for following and challenging conventions of the gangster drama, and the series did not shirk on the sex and gore either. And the period knowingness of Mad Men is no less heavy-handed than the political metaphors of True Blood.

The reason the vampire series has not been embraced as a must-see among the smart-set is, I think, its style of comedy. Its gleeful bad taste is part of the fun, but the sexual puns ("I want you to be my girlfriend, and I really want you to eat my biscuits") and sloppy violence may cost the show some effusiveness among critics, not to mention a few Emmys.

Read the full story at Slate.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Kevin Fallon is a reporter for the Daily Beast. He's a former entertainment editor at TheWeek.com and former writer and producer for The Atlantic's entertainment channel.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In