Sookie versus Trueblood

I’ve been a Sookie Stackhouse/Charlaine Harris fan for years so when True Blood came out i was so there, and i’ve watched every episode since then. One of my main reasons for being a fan of the show i will admit is lying in the bath tub to the right. I’m a fan of the Eric character in the books and have been looking forward to Alexander Skarsgard getting more involved in the series as Eric becomes more prominent in the plot. Those who don’t read the books may not realize that Eric actually becomes more important than Bill. The series doesn’t follow the books real slavishly and Stephen Moyer is likely popular (to say nothing of engaged to Anna Paquin) so perhaps they won’t let Eric dominate. Even at his current level of involvement, i keep wondering why they don’t give Skarsgard higher billing, but that’s a different story.

What i want to say is that i like the Sookie Stackhouse books more than i like True Blood. The tone is so very different. While Harris writes a couple of fairly dark series, interestingly the Sookie books are not really among them. Even the titles, Living Dead in Dallas, Dead in the Family, etc, reflect the lightish, tongue-in-cheek nature of the books. A lot of bad stuff happens. People get murdered in gruesome ways. But Harris doesn’t take you deep into the mind of the characters to experience their horror or revulsion. For example in Dead in the Family, Sookie is watching Eric drink a fairy’s blood (yes, fairies come later) and thinks He wasn’t holding back at all, and it was pretty gross. The gulping, the blood running down Colman’s neck, his glazed eyes. See, she’s describing some pretty dark stuff, but we don’t see her emotions. She goes on to say Eric is looking rosier by the minute. There’s always this slightly light quality to the writing, a little comic and satirical. The one exception in my view was the murder of Sookie’s grandmother early in the series that came as a big shock in the context of these books.
Cut to True Blood. What they have to show in the TV series is the action and they revel in it. At first, the very over-the-topness of the gore gave it a satirical quality that was fun. But now i feel it’s just getting dark for its own sake. And the darkness is unrelieved. Interestingly , a man commented on this to me recently saying there wasn’t enough relief from the unrelenting darkness. I agree. I got so tired of the sequences with Maryann at the end of last season I actually found myself fast-forwarding through some of the scenes. And i feel the same way about the scenes with Jessica in the current season. I think the director would do well to go back to the source and give us a bit more satire and a little less horror — but likely some of you won’t agree with me.
That said, my absolutely favorite thing about True Blood is the credits. The song, the production values, the vision of it make these among the finest credits i’ve ever seen. I never fast-forward through those. : )