The Book Versus the Show

I have managed to fall even further behind in Mad Men, so I am officially giving up on Season 4 until the DVDs come out. Boo on me.

In the interim, I decided on the basis of many recommendations to start watching True Blood, which (in theory at least) is based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.

I say “in theory at least” because the show is quite different from the novels. I’m feeling ambivalent about the show, although I will go ahead here and admit I got to the episode where Eric makes his first appearance, and, OH MY. *fans self*

*This post contains what may be considered spoilers.*

First and foremost (and disagree with me in the comments if y’all want to): this is vampire porn. The novels, barring the sex scenes with Sookie and her chosen non-human boyfriend of the book, are not nearly so explicit. The TV show is pretty much straight-up (no pun intended) about sex. It’s not even vampirism couched as sex (the penetration of vulnerable skin with pointy fangs). We haven’t seen full frontal nudity yet (or a money shot), but screwing. Yeah, plenty of that. We’ve yet to get to Bud Dearborn (the sheriff) in the buff, but given the tone of the show, it can’t be long now. (Oh, please, no.)

That the books are not so explicit is a point I keep making to Dan lest he think I’ve decided vampire romance novels are a kink of mine. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) The books have sex in them, yes, but it’s not described in detail.

Second, the character development, if I can call it that. Lafayette and Tara in the novels are peripheral characters. (Dan’s quote upon seeing Lafayette: “That is one gay looking black man.” My response, “He is a gay black man.”) Jason, while central to the novels (as Sookie’s brother) doesn’t have the major role he has in True Blood (Season 1). And, although it is represented in the books that he’s quite the man-whore, on the show we get to see him in action. Lots and lots of naked action.

And where the hell did that vampire blood as Viagra story line come from? Ick. The “V-juice” as LSD story line is just silly, IMO.

I guess I’m adjusting to the differences in the novels (which I really, really enjoy) and the show. I think Anna Paquin is excellent as Sookie, capturing her innocence and naivete (for now) mixed with her innate sensuality plus her fascination for Bill. I love(d) Sookie’s grandmother. The effect when Sookie reads other people’s minds is very well done.

But I’m not sold on Sam or Bill, Tara or Lafayette. I am not fond of Jason. I’m not quite buying the chemistry between Sookie and Bill — I always pictured Bill a little neater and more clean-shaven in his appearance. (Another Dan observation, about Bill, “He’s really pale.” My response, “Honey, he’s a vampire.”) Although in Stephen Moyer’s defense, he does play a 173-year-old Civil War veteran-turned-vampire quite well; his turn of phrases can be very old fashioned. And he’s terribly protective of Sookie. Even while nakedly (figuratively speaking for now) lusting for her.

I’m only up to episode 5 of Season 1, and I have every intention of continuing to watch. I’m just trying to wrap my head around the differences between the show and the book, and see if I can come to terms with them.

Plus, Joe Manganiello stars as the werewolf Alcide in Season 3, and not only is he smoking hot, but he’s a Pittsburgh boy. So I’m extra motivated to keep watching.