True Blood…True to the Books?

Barbara Vey -- September 18th, 2008


I don’t have any television reception in my house, so when our ace book blurber, Joysann, said she watched HBO’s True Blood after reading all Charlaine Harris’ books, I asked her to write her thoughts on it. 
 
True Blood
  I was so excited when I read last year that HBO was making Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books into a series. I love the books, and have read them over at least a couple times. I was sure someone brilliant could bring those stories to TV quite well; there’s great stuff to work with. So now this long year later, True Blood has started showing! Do you know, we were considering cancelling our HBO subscription until we heard of this. We hoped it would be worth it, and, my stars, it is!

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer in True Blood   There’s been two episodes shown now, and, even though I know what’s supposed to happen next, I’m looking forward to seeing it. This one installment a week thing is a pain… I want it all NOW! True Blood stars Anna Paquin, who plays the lead character, Sookie Stackhouse, a barmaid in northern Louisiana. Sookie’s special "handicap" of hearing people’s thoughts makes her different and keeps her isolated. Upon meeting her first vampire (vampires have "come out the coffin" in Sookie’s world), she faces the disapproval of the community by befriending someone even more different and frightening than she.   As with anything that leaves the pages of a book to appear on a screen, some changes have been made to accommodate time constraints. Dialogue is compressed, and some characters are slightly changed or invented. But in my opinion, the essence of the first book is there, and the depictions of the key characters are fairly faithful. I’m not any hyper-educated or self-important movie critic, so I can’t judge the quality of the production, or nitpick the performances. And while, of course, there are things that I might have imagined differently, I’m willing to allow for them for now. Non-readers will have no comparisons to make, so I’m guessing they can be drawn into the suspense and mystery, and can find some exciting continuing entertainment. I hope it’s successful, because I’m really enjoying it. I’m planning ahead to Season 6 at least. 

Now we know Joysann’s take.  What about you?  Did you watch it?  Love it/hate it?  Other series that have worked or not?  What other book would make a good television show? 

Bottom Line:  Great…how long do I have to wait for this to come out on DVD?

33 thoughts on “True Blood…True to the Books?

  1. Lia Morgan

    Like Joysann, I have read the books several times. I have been waiting for this show and had and DVR set as soon as it showed up in the programing guide. I and more importantly, my husband loved it. It isn’t the book. They never are. But, so far, I think the screen writers have done justice to a series that I love.

  2. CHRISTINE

    I’ve read the books and am currently living the series vicariously through a friend with HBO (who’s also read the books). I’ve also read interviews with Charlaine Harris about the series, which she approves of, and it’s nice to read about an author who understands that there has to be differences between page and screen. Can’t wait to hear what my friend thinks when Eric the vampire appears (in episode 4 I think) ’cause the actor is hot!

  3. Bridget

    The show is a little darker than my imagination interpreted the books, but I still love it. I think it is well cast, for the most part. A friend who has read the books watched the first two episodes said, “I wonder who the killer is.” The poor dear. And it seems that book 1 is going to be season 1, so we’ve got a lot to look forward to, hopefully!

  4. Terri Brisbin

    Ever since my two other vampire series, BLOOD TIES and MOONLIGHT,were cancelled, I’ve been waiting for this series and, so far, I have not been disappointed. The characters are wonderful, the story is moving right along, the vampires and their world are different from the ‘standard’ just enough to keep them interesting and the tension between Sookie and Bill is luscious! The bad part of having it as a series is the once a week thing, but the good part of it being on HBO is I can go back and watch it over and over. I wonder what Charlaine thinks of their adaptation of her work? As an author, I imagine it’s difficult to watch someone change your work to fit another medium? So, two thumbs up from me! PS — having a hard time figuring out what in my notes are triggering a spam warning?

  5. joysann

    I cover my eyes when previews are shown, cuz I don’t want the spoilers. And I didn’t watch the pre-show specials until after I saw the first episode, for the same reason. I only caught a glimpse of Eric, but if that actor, Skarsgard, is as good as his dad, he’ll do. ;)

  6. Mike

    The real question is why don’t you have tv reception in your house? Do you live in a cave? Ever heard of cable? You must have a tv, unless you watch DVDs on a computer, certainly not the best way to do it. Anyway, I haven’t read the books but am enjoying the tv show. The first episode wasn’t that good, but it really improved in the second week.

  7. Barbara Vey

    Mike, alas, I have no cable, but I do have a tv set to watch dvds on. I have been able to watch some tv shows on the computer since I discovered Hulu.com I’d rather be reading anyway, but if there’s something good, I’ll eventually see it.

  8. Liz Kreger

    Funny. I just blogged about this over at MagicalMusings this past Monday. I was a little ambivalent with the first episode but have since fallen in love with the whole thing. Its a little rougher than I expected … but, hey, this is HBO. Can’t want for subsequent episodes and I agree with Joyce. Waiting for a week is a drag.

  9. Bianca D'Arc

    I read the books a while back and loved them, though they’re not really “romance” in the truest sense. I also had the pleasure of escorting Ms. Harris around a local convention a few months ago while she was the guest of honor. She’s a sweet lady and I really have to hand it to her – I think she’s done really well with not only her books, but she’s lucked out with a good cast and production team on this series. I think it’s going to be a huge hit! I do wonder what real southerners think of some of the accents though. ;-)

  10. Bianca D'Arc

    I read the books a while back and loved them, though they’re not really “romance” in the truest sense. I also had the pleasure of escorting Ms. Harris around a local convention a few months ago while she was the guest of honor. She’s a sweet lady and I really have to hand it to her – I think she’s done really well with not only her books, but she’s lucked out with a good cast and production team on this series. I think it’s going to be a huge hit! I do wonder what real southerners think of some of the accents though. ;-)

  11. Laura

    I love the books. I didn’t expect the show to follow them faithfully, so I couldn’t wait to see the changes Alan Ball would make. Well, I really hated the first two episodes. The Tara character is terrible. I also think Stephen Moyer was a bad choice for Bill. The show is much darker than I expected it to be. I usually like dark shows, but I think this is a bit heavy handed. Charlaine writes original vampire characters. Alan Ball is directing cliche vampires. I’ve read the episodes Alan Ball didn’t write are better, so I’m looking forward to them. Also looking forward to Eric.

  12. Rita

    I was crushed when they cancelled Moonlight, but I don’t have HBO. I hope this is successful because I’d like mainstream tv put on a quality vampire/shapeshifter/paranormal show. Joss Whedon come back…we need you!

  13. writeroffthelake

    I don’t have TV either, but it isn’t by choice (cables $10 a month and antenna’s don’t work). I’ve found my TV viewing is much more non-fiction than my book reading – news, JEOPARDY, Jay Leno’s opening monologue. If I have to choose one, I’ll have to go with books…but I DO miss not having TV.

  14. Sheila

    I have not read the books, but watching the show has made me want the books. Watch out! My Barnes and Noble card is just warming up! How many books are there? Wow! I better get to reading! lol

  15. bronwyn

    I love the episodes that I’ve seen! I haven’t read the stories yet, but I’m going to. Waiting a week is a drag, but it gives me something new to watch every sunday. I just watched the 3rd episode in the series “Mine” and cannot wait until Sunday. Thursday night HBO is playing all 3 in a row? Who’s watching it with me? I’ll pop the popcorn!!!

  16. Iamhis

    After seeing the first episode, I ordered the books and having read seven of them so far and I’m hoping HBO does not follow them….that would be an end to the Bill/Sookie relationship. I’ve seen Stephen Moyer is other rolls and think that he is perfect for the roll of Bill…..dark and smoldering (as shown in the last episode). If this relationship ends and/or Stephen is written out of the series, I probably will not watch new episodes but will definitely order any DVD’s of the first season.

  17. True Blood

    True Blood is an amazing show and I personally like it better then the books. Can’t wait for season 2 so while I’m waiting I’m trying to read all the latest news about the show at truebloodnet.com.

  18. Cortney Posch

    What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads. I’m hoping to contribute & aid different users like its helped me. Great job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>