Time to kill the proverbial two bird with one stone... been meaning to do a post about one of my favorite TV shows and since I read the book that inspired it... it seems to makes sense to do a combo post, which means jumping ahead a few books in my book queue... scandalous I know, but I think you can probably handle it!
The show that I am talking about is HBO's True Blood. Yes folks, we're talking vampires! Again! And my regular readers by now, well know my obsession with them (though I have yet to see the film version of Twilight ... and have only read the first two books in that series).
The second series premieres this coming Sunday, but we spent the last week or so re-familiarizing ourselves with Season 1 has HBO had a bit of a 4-day marathon of past episodes. Didn't watch the entire season, just the first 6 episodes since that was the point that I forced Todd to watch it... vampires are definitely not his thing, but I was enjoying the series so much that I said just watch an episode or two and if you don't like it you don't have to watch it... and he was sucked (ha!) in as much as I was... well, I am a bit more fanatical about it.
But even if I didn't have this things for vampires, there's a good chance that I still would have watched it as it was created by Alan Ball who was the mastermind behind one of my favorite HBO series (and perhaps, favorite shows of all-time) Six Feet Under... and given his other claim to fame, the movie American Beauty, you know he has a unique, dark, satiric way in his approach to the word and that is certainly the case with True Blood. The show is sexy, funny (often in a wink and nudge way), violent, and usually a good surprise in each episode... and the cast is pretty awesome too...
One of the youngest Academy Award winnersr, the uber-likable/adorable Anna Paquin stars as telepathic cocktail waitress (yes, you read that right) Sookie Stackhouse... with a quite sassy friend Tara (think Rutina Wesley's take on the character as Wanda Sykes' cousin from Louisiana)... but the three selling points that really got me to get Todd try the show were:
Vampire Bill Comptom, Bartender Sam Merlotte, and Sookie's brother Jason Stackhouse
... or actors Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, and Ryan Kwanten....
And good news for the ladies and gay men (thank goodness Alan Ball is gay), all of them get naked... with Jason Stackhouse perhaps being the biggest himbo in television history... and they treat him as such with skimpy or as little clothing as possible (no complaints!). But they are all incredibly sexy in different ways... Jason for the obvious reasons... vampire Bill for the forbidden and you can see how he smolders in that pic above... and Sam, your average good guy who just happens to fill out a pair of tight jeans quite nicely, thank you very much!
Oh,on a sidenote, two of them are putting on their Southern accents to hide their true roots... Moyer is British... and Kwanten is Australian (*swoon*).
Anyhow, the TV series is based on the books known as the Sookie Stackhouse or Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. The 9th book was just published, so this creation certainly pre-dates the whole Twilight phenomenon. So after having the first season under my belt, I decided to give the first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, a try... and I am glad I waited as the book was pretty much the entire first season of the show.
That said, it was pretty much impossible for me not to compare the book to the TV series... and of course, I had all the visuals already in my head... typically I try to read the book before it comes out as a movie or TV show to avoid having those pictures in my head, but oh well.
I did enjoy the book. My expectations were low as I didn't really expect it to be a well-written book, ala Stephenie Meyer and Twilight... though this is written for adults... and the vampires certainly act like adults in this one... no viginity is safe and kissing just ain't gonna cut it with this group! So the writing was a nice surprise, though definitely "beach" material... light and entertaining.
But unlike a movie translation that would tell the story in approximately 2 hours (or less), the 12 hours of Season 1 allowed them to flesh things out (ha!) quite a bit... and while the main plot is similar between the book and the series, dare I say Ball seems to be more "inspired by" and taking things to his own direction. The book is told from Sookie's perspective... so that limits things and pretty major storylines from the series were not in the book as folks like Jason and Lafayette (a flamboyant short-order cook at the bar) barely make it onto the page and, to best of my memory, Tara has yet to make an appearance.
So while I enjoyed the book, this is one of the rare instances where I really prefer the TV series/movie to the original material. I hear that the upcoming season does borrow plot from Book 2 in the series, Living Dead in Dallas, but I am not still unsure whether I will read that one... certainly not before watching the show as I'd rather remain unspoiled... but I kind of wish the book and TV series were two separate entities, which granted they kind of are, but the show stilll seems to borrow enough from the book... and that ain't no fun knowing things in advance either, so it's kind of a conundrum!