Smart ladies love dumb TV, True Blood vs. The Southern Vampire Mysteries

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Books are always  better…

Is True Blood Dumb TV?  Absolutely.  Do I still watch it? Absolutely (it’s like crack).  The TV show  has 45 main characters and 20 main story lines (exaggerating but that often feels accurate).  It also has lots of nudity for pretty much everyone (which actually might be why it’s like crack).

True Blood Season 4 Promo

Season 4 Promo Art

True Blood is based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. The books are a first person narrative from the point of view of Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress, mind-reader, church-goer, and southern tough cookie–she is adorable.  The story takes place in the small town of Bon Temps outside of Shreveport, LA.   It is filled with supernatural characters and small town crazies.  Sookie goes to work, deals with the crazy supernatural world, and has man troubles galore.  Each book has one central mystery in which poor Sookie is either directly involved or asked to use her abilities as a way to solve said mystery.

The TV series was created by Alan Ball who created Six Feet Under.  I loved Six Feet Under but the weirdness of its later seasons turned me off.  I have a feeling Alan Ball is another Ryan Murphy type, show creators that don’t understand how to edit themselves.  Both have a tendency to throw every idea they have into their shows instead of, oh I don’t know, waiting for another season or when it makes sense for the character.   Often the story lines on True Blood don’t make sense AND don’t link up to the other story lines that are going on.   Most of the time I am embarrassed for the actors and myself for watching this crap but like Lost before it, I mainly watch to see what fucked up thing there going to throw at us next.

Ball has changed a lot from the book.  Many changes have been great (Lafayette and baby vamp Jessica) but most have SUCKED (all of Season 3 except Dennis O’Hare and most of Season 4 except Fiona Shaw).  I’m not saying Ball should completely follow the books, I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones, the TV show based on The Song of Ice and Fire books, of which I am also a fan, and the creators have had to deviate from the source material yet they always retain the basic plot.  Ball’s problems in seasons 2-4 is that he stuck to the plot just enough that his changes were either too sexed up, political, or just plain crazy.  He has done better when he has stuck closely to the books (season 1) or completely deviated from them (season 5).

His most egregious error is the waste of great characters and the waste of talented actors.   Anna Paquin’s Sookie has spent the first 4 seasons as more of a pawn then the lead character those of us who read the books have come to know as strong and resourceful.  Steven Moyer, the second lead on the series who plays “Vampire Bill” is a terrible actor who often looks like he just smelled a terrible fart or is confused as to what to say and do next.  Alexander Skarsgard (Fun Fact:  He totally went to a hockey game with Ellen Page which makes him even hotter), Carrie Preston, Nelsan Ellis and Kristin Bauer von Straton are the best actors on the series and try to make the crap they say campy (which I think there all supposed to do but some people, I’m looking at you Moyer, think this means being ultra serious).

Alexander Skarsgard

Alexander Skarsgard as Eric…RAWR!

If you like a good mystery and some southern sass give the Southern Vampire Mysteries a chance (seriously they’re really funny quick reads) if you like cray cray TV and lots of nudity watch True Blood.  It’s sadly as simple as that.  I will still be watching and reading (well, at least the next book because Charlaine knows when to quit).  I will also still send Melissa text messages of Joe Manganiello without clothes cause he is so pretty.

Joe Manganiello

Joe Manganiello without clothes…RAWR!

 

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