HBO Is Sending The True Blood Reboot Back To The Grave

Fangbangers everywhere, undo the clasps on your beaded chokers, un-smudge the thick ring of kohl around your eyes, and close the lid on your coffin for (probably) the last time. HBO will no longer bring "True Blood" back to screens in rebooted form. The news came down the pike this week from Variety, who reported the project's cancelation directly from the source. Casey Bloys, CEO of content at HBO and HBO Max, told the outlet that there were repeated attempts to kick something off with several scripts, "but nothing that felt like it got there."

Loose plans for a reboot were originally reported in 2020. "Riverdale" and "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was attached from the beginning, which was an incredible vote of confidence for the property. Especially on "Riverdale," Aguirre-Sacasa has been getting away with darker, stranger, and more audacious things on broadcast television than you can find elsewhere in the TV landscape, even on series made for premium streamers like HBO Max and Showtime. Incest, abortion, smut video blackmail, mummified twins, a covert wig factory — "Riverdale" may be the on-air series that shares the most genetic data with "True Blood," which could be relied upon to go further even after it had already gone too far. Alan Ball, the original creator behind "True Blood," had also signed on to executive produce the reboot. 

Not much story, concept, or cast-wise was known about the reboot in the years since it was announced. And now, like Gran Stackhouse, Lizzy Caplan's season 1 waitress Amy, fan-favorite Vampire League leader Nan Flanagan, and so many others from the "True Blood"-verse, the reboot has met an untimely death.

I wanna do sad things with you

Bloys' statement on the cancelation of the reboot is remarkably brief given the way "True Blood" once held the premium TV landscape by the throat. When "True Blood" premiered in 2008, the medium was in a bit of a creative rut. Juggernauts like "The Wire," "The West Wing," and "The Sopranos" had all come to an end within the past two to three years. "Mad Men" had already begun its meteoric rise on the AMC network, and "Breaking Bad" was about to chart the same trajectory, but no series had yet stepped up to fill the campy side of the TV void. 

Shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Charmed" earned legions of fans for combining sex with silliness and supernatural-tinged darkness with parodic, camp lightness, and neither sacrificed good writing to deliver the fun. Plus, where so much "prestige TV" not only centers on male protagonists but utilizes a grim, rational, and humorlessly masculine aesthetic, "True Blood" was like an oasis of sexy pulp in a desert of Very Serious Men. And because it was a product of Alan Ball, the mastermind behind "Six Feet Under," one of the new millennium's greatest TV shows, it never felt like just a delectable trifle. There were thrilling character arcs, intriguing political analogues, and some truly fabulous world-building.

Maybe it was too soon for a reboot. Maybe the time of the vampire has truly come and gone. I hope at least that "True Blood" gets the laurels it deserves in some way, eventually — reboot or no reboot.