Wednesday, December 03, 2008
I've probably mentioned it more than a few times, but I am a huge fan of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries. I've also probably mentioned that I was fairly excited when Harris' books were made into an HBO series called True Blood. One small hitch though-- we don't get HBO. I thought I was going to have to wait until "True Blood" came out on DVD before I would get a chance to see it, but it turns out that a handy website called TV Shack has all the "True Blood" episodes online. Oh happy day. And it only took me about 3 months after the show first aired to figure this out. So I finally got a chance to see "True Blood," and I gotta say-- HBO did a great job. "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" are about a waitress named Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie has what she refers to as a "disability" in that she can read minds. She's been labeled "weird," "stupid" and "crazy" her whole life because people are scared of her ability to know what they're thinking. So it's a shock, and relief to Sookie when she meets her first vampire, Bill Compton, and discovers she can't read his mind. Blessed silence for the first time in Sookie's life. The HBO series stars Anna Paquin as Sookie. Like the books the TV show starts off with Sookie waiting tables in Merlott's bar when Bill walks in for the first time. Bill is accosted by a couple of drug dealers, known as "drainers" because they drain the blood from vampires to sell on the black market. Vampire blood affects humans in all kinds of ways, making most people more attractive and virile, though it can make people crazy as well. Sookie saves Bill from the drainers and thus begins her relationship with "Vampire Bill" as she calls him. "True Blood" is grittier than "The Southern Vampire Mysteries." At least that's how it feels to me. The books are told in the first person from Sookie's point of view and I think it softens the violence a little bit. Sookie, despite hearing every depraved thought people think, is an incredibly sweet character and Anna Paquin is simply perfect in the role. But since Sookie isn't narrating the story and we see it from the camera-eye view, the action is more stark. Because it's a cable series the language isn't filtered and it has the kind of in-your-face sexuality that I've come to associate with shows on cable. I'm not complaining, but it is more frank than what you'd read in Harris' books. I also enjoyed the setting of the show. I've never been to Louisiana, so I could be totally wrong about whether or not the feel is right-- but it seems right. You can almost see the humidity as everyone walks around in their skimpy outfits and their glistening skin. And yes, everyone is way too attractive for the real world. But with the mix of Southern and Cajun accents, the dark atmosphere of the bar, and the constant buzz of voices in Sookie's head, the mood seems to fit perfectly with what Harris' was trying to create with her series. As a fan of the books, I really appreciated that. I've only watched one episode, but I think they've captured the essence of the books and Sookie's personality. I don't think you have to be a fan of Harris' books to enjoy the TV show. In fact I hear it's quite the hit among my husband's co-workers. The show may not be for those who don't like vampires, but if you're a fan of Anne Rice, or Charlaine Harris, I suggest you check it out.