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True Blood VS. Other Vamp Stories: From Buffy To "Blood"


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#31

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Posted Sep 19, 2008 @ 3:43 PM

Yet more vampires:

C.E. Murphy's Negotiator Trilogy: The vampires are one of five surviving Old Races (dragons, gargoyles, djinn, and selkies being the others). They don't have sharp teeth and are not shown drinking blood. They have the distinction, out of all the races, of being from another dimension. They're also immortal in that they can not be killed, only paralyzed. Their major power is speed, and sometimes they appear as mere shadows. They can do some amount of magic with their blood, including providing longer life and strength with it. Supposedly their true form is somewhat insectoid. These books center more around a human/gargoyle romance, but if you like a lyrical writing style, they'll probably suit you. Or endless barganing for favors.

Mick Farren's Renquist Quartet: I've only read the first two, and that was a while ago, but they have great internal vampire politicking, and some serious hunts for blood. The second book involves fighting chthulu and is somehow not cheesey inspite of it. It focuses on vampires nesting together for protection for the most part.

Christopher Moore: Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story. This is part Clerks and part vampire love story. It's largely about an accountant trying to survive after she's made into a vampire with no instruction manual on how things work. Speed, strength, and mist seem to be the major power componants.

One thing vampire blood seems to do often enough is provide superpowers to mortals and make them servants. Somtimes it drives them insane. And sometimes its the major force that turns them into a vampire at death. But the changing stuff seems to be classic Dracula. And the insanity is often based on Renfield.

#32

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Posted Sep 19, 2008 @ 4:28 PM

I just wanted to add my 2 cents regarding the Anita Blake series. When I first discovered it, I loved the books. The main characters were interesting and complex and but after the first six or so books the series devolved into soft core porn. The mystery element from the first half of the series almost completely disappeared and the Hamilton spent the reminder of the series moving Anita from one poorly-written sexual situation to another. I think the series can be salvaged but Hamilton should take an extended break to think of another interesting scenario for Anita and Jean-Claude besides my ardeur is flaring and I need to have sex with every male and were-animal around me.

#33

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Posted Sep 19, 2008 @ 4:39 PM

On the Anne Rice front, I have to admit that my first vampire novel was Queen of the Damned. I had no idea it was a part of a series and I loved it. I was somehow less impressed with Interview and the Vampire Lestat. Then again, I'm really wedded to female antagonists and there are a lot of interesting female characters in Queen. Which means my fave Anne Rice Vampire Chronicle book is actually Pandora, which is about a Roman woman who chafes at the restrictions of her society, eventually gets mercy vamped by the man she's intrigued with, and after centuries of him trying to 'teach' her, she can't take it anymore and leaves him. What I ended up liking most about her is even though she finds herself drawn into relationships with willful, interesting men, she eventually departs from them and goes at the world alone. The Wikipedia has this lovely line: Like many vampires, Pandora is a morose, despairing immortal who initially wanted immortality but soon regretted her choice and turns into a dark, indifferent cynic.

It's like a reverse romantic vampire story. (I know, I'm an odd girl.)

As for the Anita Blake series, I've more or less given up on plot but I do enjoy character profiles, which I've decided her novels are now instead of stories. (Except for the last one that somehow had twice more plot than any of the others I've seen in a while. Something about Edward staunches the sex, I guess.) I unashamedly love LKH's Faerie Sex books, the Merry Gentry series because the sex actually makes the plot happen. But that's neither here nor there vamp wise. "_"

Edited by Neka, Sep 19, 2008 @ 4:44 PM.


#34

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Posted Sep 19, 2008 @ 6:11 PM

Ah, selkie, thanks for reminding me of Nightlife! I still say, "Com' an' get me, feeend of the niiiiight!" sometimes, but only two of my friends get the joke.

#35

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Posted Sep 19, 2008 @ 10:34 PM

Which means my fave Anne Rice Vampire Chronicle book is actually Pandora, which is about a Roman woman who chafes at the restrictions of her society, eventually gets mercy vamped by the man she's intrigued with, and after centuries of him trying to 'teach' her, she can't take it anymore and leaves him.


I have not read very many vampire related books at all, but I have sampled the Rice books. Pandora and Interview were the only two that I read. I liked Pandora more for the same reason. I liked that it was a historical novel that went from early to late Roman history. It is kinda sad to see her all cynical by the end which is probably why I did not read anymore Rice books after it even if I did like Pandora overall.

#36

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Posted Sep 20, 2008 @ 6:17 PM

I still say, "Com' an' get me, feeend of the niiiiight!" sometimes, but only two of my friends get the joke.


It's gotta be done in the right accent like that for proper effect. There's also the good line bit about wanting a "Blood. Blood Lite!" at the bar.

#37

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Posted Sep 20, 2008 @ 10:33 PM

Don Simon Ysidro - that "Papist bastard", as Grippen calls him. Love him and his haughty, imperious ways. When everybody else was drooling over Lestat, I was drooling over him.


What series is this referencing? It sounds interesting. Thanks.

#38

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 1:58 AM

What series is this referencing? It sounds interesting. Thanks.


Not a series per se - there are two books by Barbara Hambly, Those Who Hunt The Night, and Traveling With The Dead, which feature Ysidro as one of the main characters.

#39

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 11:36 AM

The biggest thing that I've noted so far is that this is the first series I've seen, or read, in which vampires live openly, and are acknowledged openly by the human world. Most of the vampire stories I've seen or read have concentrated on the ways in which a vampire world, or society conducts itself. Usually there are marked differences, and a large gulf between the two. Now I haven't read the True Blood books, and like Paramitch have decided not to until the series concludes (I also made the same choice about Dexter, paramitch, so you aren't alone in that either!), so it is more than possible that my initial impression of vampires in True Blood is just flat out wrong, at this stage.

It seems as if this series is putting some of the similarities forward first, and not simply in terms of good. When Sookie spoke of people betraying the trust of those that have invested the most in them, it did make me think of what fed vampire legends. Vampires frequently were depicted as feeding upon the most pure, and the most innocent. In fact, the phrase "the blood of innocent's" is tossed around in a lot of vampire lore. It's always struck me as a little strange, because the question always seems to be: innocent compared to what? The vampire itself, usually. It almost seems as if vampires in stories are just a compilation of the things we fear most in life. Unbridled hunger, ruthlessness, etc.

In Buffy the entire "monsters as metaphors" thing was in play a lot, and of course it is a story told from the perspective of young people who value goodness, heroism, and human life tremendously. Buffy is sort of a White Hat, Black Hat world, with some dabbling in gray. The quest for empowerment, the quest for righteousness and the many barriers along the way. I know, that's incredibly simplified. So is saying the series Angel examines redemption, the need for it, and how almost no one is beyond redemption unless they choose, of their own volition, to be so. In Buffy evil was a very real force, in Angel, evil was frequently both a real thing, and a factor of choice.

I think everyone's scared of Anne Rice since she's "repented" her earlier writings and is on an extreme Christian path at the moment. Anne Rice did a lot to romanticize vampirism. It was really her, and the modern era where Dracula ceased to be read as purely an evil creature and became more of a path of escape for women in a restricted society kind of thing.


Personally Rice freaks me out a little because she's always struck me as being functionally insane, with the emphasis on the functional dropping with each passing year. However, I think she writes a hell of an interesting tale regardless of what series. I personally really loved the Taltos books because I felt they examined human failings, cruelty, and judgment in ways her other books didn't without slipping into being preachy.

Her vampire series has always interested me, even though I haven't read all of it. The thing that struck me was that she shifted the perception of what vampires had previously been in fiction. Not merely adding a societal structure, and an exploration into the the mind and the heart of vampires, but she did some very interesting -- she removed actual sex from the equation. Vampires were still highly erotic but I remember that being jarring the first time I read one of her books. Vampires that I had encountered in books before had been thinly veiled constructs to explore sexual appetite. In Rice's books I feel that in many ways that still remained, the drive, the need, etc. but it created a vampire that was so truly separate, and individual. Vampires that were wholly different from people.

I noticed that Bill seemed to distance himself from his human life in the two episodes of True Blood. Like I said, I haven't read the books so I may be very off base, but what I'm seeing so far is something that seems to be the best of Rice -- a separate entity, not the foe of humanity exactly, but very different from humanity and the best of a series like Angel, in which evil was less of an opposing force, and more a case of perception and choice.

Edited by stillshimpy, Sep 21, 2008 @ 11:39 AM.


#40

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Posted Sep 22, 2008 @ 7:23 PM

Neka: On the Anne Rice front, I have to admit that my first vampire novel was Queen of the Damned. I had no idea it was a part of a series and I loved it. I was somehow less impressed with Interview and the Vampire Lestat. Then again, I'm really wedded to female antagonists and there are a lot of interesting female characters in Queen. Which means my fave Anne Rice Vampire Chronicle book is actually Pandora

I really love Queen of the Damned, which is actually my favorite of the Chronicles, and which is a beautiful and fascinating look at both what it means to be immortal and what it means to be so in a world that is by, for, and about, men -- men, as in mankind, and men, as in, MEN. My favorite characters in that, though, were Maharet, six thousand years old and the matriarch of a human family, Jessica, and Marius. I loved Marius in Lestat and QotD (although I HATED the book about him), and to me he exemplifies the idea that immortals never really change, they just become more and more what they already were.

I think this theme is a big part of Rice's books, and very perceptive (so Lestat is the eternal debauched aristocrat, Marius the genteel Roman, etc.). And I see a lot of this idea in "True Blood" already and Bill is honestly a great example of this. He gives off a wonderful, courtly, remote vibe so far, and the soft Southern accent, the way he stands, the stillness he has, it's all wonderful. To me the implication so far is that Bill was a good man, and has attempted to remain so in many ways in his life as a vampire. Not everyone makes that choice, as seen in the latest episode, but it's very interesting to me that even as some use the transformation to break free of all human ethics or morals, Bill seems to have clung to them. Even the fact that he has come 'home' to his family's house echoes this idea.

Stillshimpy: Personally Rice freaks me out a little because she's always struck me as being functionally insane, with the emphasis on the functional dropping with each passing year.

Yeah, sadly I'd agree with that (bless her heart, as my Mom would say). I met her three times and she always struck me as being just so, so fragile. She means well. But she seems to have sort of been so removed from society for so long that she kind of... warped.

I personally really loved the Taltos books because I felt they examined human failings, cruelty, and judgment in ways her other books didn't without slipping into being preachy.

I loved The Witching Hour but in all of the ensuing books I went from being mesmerized to being conflicted and then actively repulsed. I had a really hard time with those because to me it's where we began to see Rice's obsessions turning disturbing, especially when it comes to children and sex or the ideas of childish beings and sex. I think I did finish the books but was very unhappy with them.

Meanwhile: I'm interested that Rice removed sex from the equation but that both Buffy as well as True Blood put it back in. On the one hand, it's redundant. Vampires don't really need to have sex since that's all the bite really is in some ways anyway, they're just making the subtext into text. But by adding it back into the equation, it does make for richer potential conflict as it lessens the distance from vampire to human (added angst and inner turmoil for vampires struggling to be good who also end up close to, and tempted by, humans) and it also makes the fact that they can feed on and kill what they sleep with even more disturbing.

I think that may even be the parallel in Jason's storylines in some ways. The way he treats women sexually does mirror the vampire's treatment of Maudette. I keep remembering a Tori Amos line (in her song "Blood Roses"), "sometimes you're nothing but meat," and here in "True Blood," this is literally true for humans where vampires are concerned in both senses of the word -- meat for them to screw, meat for them to feed upon. Or all of them at once.

Edited by Paramitch, Sep 22, 2008 @ 7:26 PM.


#41

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Posted Sep 23, 2008 @ 1:00 AM

I had a really hard time with those because to me it's where we began to see Rice's obsessions turning disturbing, especially when it comes to children and sex or the ideas of childish beings and sex. I think I did finish the books but was very unhappy with them.


God, I'd forgotten about that, it's been years. I tend to separate the Taltos stuff from the Mayfair witches in my mind, because that aspect of the Mayfair witches just grossed me out too. It's been so long I'd sort of edited that out of my mind. What I was referring to was the actual beings, the Taltos that intrigued me and made me question some things about human nature.

Rice's take on Vampires was interesting and I think really expanded the genre, but I'm also glad that subsequent depictions added sex back into the mix. In the case of Buffy, Angel, and this series it makes romance possible, and serves to explore emotional similarities and differences. Mainly I'm glad that it is there because I think it adds possible scope. Rice's vampires, while fascinating characters, were too far removed from emotional processes to which I could relate. They had a very alien feel to them, in my experience reading Interview with a Vampire and then The Vampire Lestat (I think that was the title).

Since so much about vampire stories seems to be about looking more closely at humanity, appetites, fears, drives, etc. I find that having characters (vampires) that can, and do form emotional attachments that makes sense to me, and to which I can relate, makes the story richer for me.

Rice's vampires were fascinating, but I had a high level of emotional detachment from them. I couldn't really emotionally invest in them, because I didn't truly understand them. I think she truly expanded the genre, and added a lot of interest. For me, the actual pulse wasn't there.

Edited by stillshimpy, Sep 23, 2008 @ 1:03 AM.


#42

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Posted Sep 23, 2008 @ 1:29 PM

I haven't read the True Blood books, so I didn't know there was an "Eric" coming, but this last episode, first then they talk about going to Eric, then "her," my brain switched to my favorite cheap vamp lit, the Queen Betsy series (Sinclair's first name is Eric). I know that Queen Betsy isn't the ruler of the vampires in *this* world, but just the idea was wickedly funny.

#43

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Posted Sep 23, 2008 @ 2:37 PM

I haven't seen anyone mention Mario Acevedo - he writes a series with a guy who was turned into a vamp while serving in Iraq. The series starts with 'The Nymphos of Rocky Flats' (the vamp is a PI and is hired to find out what is turning female gov't workers into nyphomaniacs) 'X-rated bloodsuckers' and 'The Undead Kama Sutra'.

Jeaniene Frost has a new series (2 books so far) with a female main character who is the child of a male vamp, and is fighting 'bad' vamps with her vamp lover, Bones. (Halfway to the Grave and One Foot in the Grave).

Karen Chance has a series with vamps that starts with Touch the Dark (3 books so far) and has a new series starting up with a book called 'Midnight's Daughter; Dorina Basarab, Dhampir' - again she is the child of a male vamp.

Keri Arthur's Riley Jensen series; Riley is the offspring of a werewolf/vampire and has a twin brother. They are part of a government agency (in Australia) that polices supernatural offenders.

Edited by red huntress, Sep 30, 2008 @ 2:34 PM.


#44

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Posted Sep 23, 2008 @ 3:59 PM

Dorina Basarab, Dhampir' - again she is the child of a male vamp.

1. I'm getting the weirdest deja vu thing.
2. I think the definition of Dhampir is child of a vampire (half human, half vampire). And it's probably more workable to have the father be the vampire half than the mother.

#45

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Posted Sep 26, 2008 @ 10:07 PM

Another reason dhampir usually had vampire fathers was because it was a way to explain a widow giving birth sooner than was seen as societally reasonable. The sons born of such a union were often trained to become vampire hunters, because it was believed that they had a better sense for where the vampires would hide themselves in the day.

#46

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Posted Sep 27, 2008 @ 3:36 PM

Christopher Moore: Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story. This is part Clerks and part vampire love story. It's largely about an accountant trying to survive after she's made into a vampire with no instruction manual on how things work. Speed, strength, and mist seem to be the major power componants.

I love Christopher Moore (Lamb, A Dirty Job, etc) but I haven't read any of his vampire stories yet. Where would I start?

I saw this Blue Blood series at Barnes & Noble, but haven't read them yet. Sort of a Gossip Girl for the darker set. I don't want to actually buy the books, but I'd like to find them at a book sale or something.

While traveling, I purchased, The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, which is a vampire story in the "Vlad the Impaler" vein. It's about search for the remains of Vlad and the historical roots of vampires in Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey. People who are in contact with maps and other sources about him have their memories erased about what they've read or seen. I'm a about 1/3 done, but since I've gotten home from my trip, I haven't read much of it.

There used to be vampire movies on Commander USA's groovy movies on Saturday mornings (according to the Wiki, it says afternoon. They started in the morning and lasted until mid-afternoon when I'd switch to Marquee Theater on PBS) back in the 80's that I watched. They were so bad (and good). I don't remember the specific movie names, but some of them are listed on the Wiki. I'm pretty sure they were filmed in Europe or Canada, but they seemed to be dubbed.

I read a few Ann Rice books, but couldn't get into them. Maybe I'll try Queen of the Damned. True Blood continue the gothicness of Ann with the setting in LA, which fits.

#47

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Posted Sep 27, 2008 @ 5:10 PM

LJ Smith: The Vampire Diaries. Another vampire love triangle. It's junior high level reading, and was extremely popular in its time. 4 books long, the series closed. Didn't really focus on powers much.

Her Night World series (barring all the true love / soul mate crap) was the better series for the complexity of the entire freaking society she created using witches, vampires, shapeshifters & werewolves. I see a lot of the same political stuff from Night World in True Blood.

I love Christopher Moore (Lamb, A Dirty Job, etc) but I haven't read any of his vampire stories yet. Where would I start?

Blood Sucking Fiends: A Love Story is the first book followed by You Suck!

#48

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Posted Oct 21, 2008 @ 5:58 AM

As much as I love vampire stories, I just could not get into Anne Rice's books. The only one I liked was The Mummy. I much prefer Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's St. Germaine series, but then I enjoy "historical fiction." I do agree, though, that sometimes she gets carried away with too much narrative and description of places, etc. I haven't read Charlaine Harris' books yet, but just picked up the first three after watching True Blood. I love the TV series, so am looking forward to comparing it to the books.

#49

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Posted Oct 26, 2008 @ 4:32 PM

I have a question about True Blood as compared to another show---and though it's not a vamp-themed show, I figured this was the most appropriate thread. (Bayliss, I apologize in advance if this isn't the best place to post this question!)

How would you guys compare the overall tone, mood and style of this show to Ball's other acclaimed drama, Six Feet Under?

I ask because I want to see True Blood so badly that I'm actually considering re-activating my annoyingly overpriced HBO service purely to get it. I love the clips I've seen, and the comments in these threads make it sound as if this is the kind of show with which I'll become deeply and pathetically obsessed!
However, I haaaated Six Feet Under. I found every single character unlikable and unrelatable, and just felt the overall tone was impossibly pretentious, self-serious and grim in this annoyingly self-conscious sort of way.

I'm really looking forward to your responses, so thanks in advance for helping a possible future True Blood fanatic ;)

#50

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Posted Oct 26, 2008 @ 5:03 PM

bookwrm74:

I may not be the best person to respond to you (and I also apologize if this isn't the right thread), because I was a huge SFU fan from almost the first episode on. I would agree that there were several characters that were unlikable (I personally was thrilled when Nate died in the last season, because it had gotten to the point where I almost couldn't even watch him on screen anymore, such was my hate for him) but I found a lot of redeeming qualities in others. My personal favorite was David Fisher, who I adored beyond all reason, but I also liked Brenda Chenowith and Claire a whole lot, in spite of their very obvious flaws.

But with respect to a comparison, I did read an Alan Ball interview where he made the point that this was a real departure from him. Whereas SFU was all about repression and grief, TB was thematically about abandon and vitality. I don't see any thematic similarity so far - to me, Six Feet Under was a meditation on how we deal with the fear of death and loss, whereas True Blood is (so far) more of an exploration on how we react to life in all of its scary, unknown glory.

It remains to be seen whether I'll be as enamoured with TB after five seasons, if it even lasts that long, but to me it is a completely different animal. I'm certain that the characters will be multi-faceted, and some may be unlikable at times, but I don't think they will be as introspective as those on SFU, with all the pretensions that sometimes entailed. If anything, this show is also more plot/action driven, which was not the case on SFU.

#51

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Posted Oct 26, 2008 @ 5:15 PM

I stopped watching 6FU toward the end, but I stopped caring about it somewhere in the third season. I really overidentified with Brenda Chenowith and couldn't handle watching her journey in the later seasons.

However, her character trope feels like it's been split between Tara and Jason, making them separately a lot easier to deal with than Brenda, and they're my two favorite characters, so...

I guess I like about TB what I liked about 6FU, but it's missing what I disliked, which was the complete lack of hope or kindness in its world.

#52

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Posted Oct 26, 2008 @ 6:28 PM

I do like that TB is different in its approach than most vampire shows.

It doesn't approach the subject in the same manner as every one else. I like that it has vampires out in the open and that it defies some cliched myths.

I also like that it is aimed more at adults than Buffy was originally.

#53

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Posted Oct 26, 2008 @ 6:37 PM

The other replies are more articulate than mine will be, but I wanted to give my perspective. I liked a lot about SFU but had to quit watching at various times too. David was the character I loved and related to most, but I found Brenda very compelling too. I liked best the mordant and insightful parts of the show, the funny and dark parts of every day life. But I found it got too over the top -- there were things that happened to David that made me quit watching for a while, and I thought that Nate was such a jerk by the end that I've never seen the last episode, sort of as a statement.

It is funny, because death is a favorite topic of mine, but somehow the show was too dark for me -- not the deaths, but how horribly people treated each other in life. It just isn't my life experience that people are that horrible.

Anyway, it shows how good AB is, because this is an excursion into a really different world. (Sookie, even though she is too cheery at times, makes me think there will always be some hope in TB.) I'm sure there will be some/a lot of darkness here, and I've been braced for that. On the other hand, my husband loved SFU, and never missed an episode, and yet can't watch more than a few minutes of this show with me (though I still plan to suck him in somehow).

#54

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Posted Oct 31, 2008 @ 5:35 AM

Bookwrm74, I had a love/hate thing with SFU. I loved the first season, and really enjoyed the second too. And the pilot was just about a perfect hour of TV for me, to this day. But the more it went along, I found myself hating the characters and their choices. That these people saw death every day yet treated each other the way they did... aghgh. Also, honestly, I began to find the show's format more and more difficult to deal with -- the opening deaths to be harder and harder to shrug off as the show began. I abandoned the show pretty much after Season 2 even if I found myself wondering how David and Claire were doing sometimes, as if they were people I'd actually met once. It was odd.

Jacob: I guess I like about TB what I liked about 6FU, but it's missing what I disliked, which was the complete lack of hope or kindness in its world.

This was what got me. Even when we saw love or happiness between people, it was like you could sense that the show was rolling its eyes; it so often felt like it was sneering at people, and for a story about the constant shadow of death, that was just too much to take.

Meanwhile Bookwrm74, True Blood is utterly different. It's dark and sexy and funny and baroque and violent. Over the top yet somehow oddly realistic. It's a nice slice of life in a small Southern town that's way more gothic and swampy than Northern Louisiana really is (it feels like it's a few hundred miles from NOLA frankly), but it's all awesome. The characters are interesting and vivid and really well acted. And there is this weird wonderful undercurrent to it. Like a fairy tale, opulent, baroque, yet with a touch of Down-Home. I love it. Best show EVER.

Irvington: (though I still plan to suck him in somehow).

Pun intended? :-P

Meanwhile, all these conversations have been making me think about vampire fiction and it's really weird because I don't read a lot of it. Most of it ultimately disappoints me because the books tend to be 'pulpy' so the writing is hasty or bad. I enjoyed Rice's early work (Chronicles 1-4 only) precisely because it was truly literary and unique, something I hadn't seen before. I also still love Dracula and think it's a fantastic book, and the atmosphere is just wonderful. Especially seen through the modern lens -- as the story of a modern woman (Mina) trapped into sexlessness and servitude by a well-meaning but weak man (Harker) and who is ultimately liberated sexually and otherwise by the monster of the story. But that's my take ;-).

I wouldn't mind reading the TB series but honestly I loathe spoilers so will wait to read them until at least after season 1. Meanwhile, a friend of mine's just started reading Twilight series but after hearing that it's awfully tweeny (and from so many people that it goes downhill quickly), I'm wondering if I should bother. Anyone?

You know, Stephen King did a pretty fun "through a glass darkly" take on Dracula with Salem's Lot, and I thought it was a truly scary vampire story although it kind of fell apart at the end. But ironically, I loved the original miniseries (not the remake!)... does anyone else remember it? The one with David Soul and Bonnie Bedelia? The effects were hokey but honestly some of it was just incredibly chilling.... the thing that killed me was the part with the little boy trying to glamour his brother through the window... eeek.

And the ending of that 1979(?) version was different from the book, and really really haunting. I actually thought it was better than the book's ending. That final scene stayed with me for days.

Edited by Paramitch, Oct 31, 2008 @ 5:39 AM.


#55

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Posted Nov 5, 2008 @ 4:36 PM

Ball's admitted in interviews that this series would be less "existentially exhausting" than Six Feet Under, but that the same care would be taken in exploring the characters and their lives, flaws and all (I expect nothing less from an HBO drama). I definitely got the impression from the first few interviews before and after the series had aired a few episodes, that this is his fun series.

I loved SFU, but moreso the first two seasons and the very last one. I didn't hate the Lisa year, Season 3, I know a lot of the SFU fandom had issues with that season. Where the series sorta went off the rails for a bit for me was in Season 4. There was a whole lotta good that year (and I'm in the camp that was fine with the David-specific episode "That's My Dog"), but Claire's college/lesbian-experimental stories that year were pretty bad and the resolution for Nate at the end was questionable. Nate was my favorite character though and, while some of his asshole behaviour throughout and his relationship choices toward the end were offputting, they felt true to the character that had been laid out in Season 1 and they wre things some people in real life actually do. I don't need the character to be relatable to enjoy watching their journey, stumbles and all. I liked David a lot too, especially when he brought the humor, but I think they emasculated him far too often later on. I didn't see the constant nastiness that others have alluded to, I thought the family and the supporting characters were pretty much "there" for eachother during most of the more important/traumatic times. There're a wealth of good Claire/Ruth scenes that remind me of mother/daughter issues and moments I've witnessed between my sister and her mom, my mom and my grandmother. The family dynamics never let me down in SFU, even if a few of the character arcs did from season to season. The fifth and final season brought it back to the quality I expect though and, while probably one of the more painful seasons, was arguably one of the most affecting after Season 1. And I know people go on and on about the series finale, but it is something. Very few long-running shows I've seen have wrapped up so well, which is why I trust Ball with True Blood (okay, American Beauty earned him some cred too).

I like the humor and the exploration of the enjoyments to be had in life with True Blood, but I wouldn't mind if it was as dark and down as SFU. Sometimes TB's felt a little too eager to gloss over the bad stuff. Sookie goes back to work way too quickly (the next day after Dawn's death, right after Gran's and Tina's too, though they did touch on her reasons in the most recent ep). I know folks do that in real life, life must go on, but aside from just Sookie's reactions, there has been a bit of an overall feeling from the show that the fantasy aspects might end up applying to how people react to events too, that they may come off as a little off or false. We'll see though.

#56

TWoP Bayliss

TWoP Bayliss

Posted Nov 5, 2008 @ 4:54 PM

I really, really liked AB's quote along the lines of, "6FU was about repression, TB is about abandon." They both lead to scary-ass places, but from opposite directions. Maybe I'm just an "abandon" boy and not so much about "repression"...

#57

random

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  • Location:Toronto

Posted Nov 5, 2008 @ 9:37 PM

Heh. I'm a repression person (I have a card and everything), and I was hooked on 6FU because in real life I'm David Fisher, if he ate Brenda and then sublimated the very memory of her digested remains. Whereas I'm hooked on True Blood because for a glorious hour*, I am lost to couch-based Dionysian revelry.

*Or six. Depending on how much I rewatch.

More than one way to skin a TV show, I guess.

#58

lyssla

lyssla

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  • Gender:Female

Posted Nov 10, 2008 @ 12:08 PM

Meanwhile, a friend of mine's just started reading Twilight series but after hearing that it's awfully tweeny (and from so many people that it goes downhill quickly), I'm wondering if I should bother. Anyone?


I read the Twilight series recently. There's a lot to say about the lack of realistic characterizations and the author's conflicting messages about love and choice and the whole vaguely fan-fic quality to the plot, particularly the last book, but I thought it was a relatively entertaining read. Definitely not fine literature, but worth checking out from the library, imo.

There's some interesting parallels between TB and Twilight, although I think TB is way better. I love Cleolinda's take on some the differences between the works, e.g., in Twilight Edward, the hunky vampire bf, is the one with the mind-reading powers, but they don't work on his beau Bella, so:

Edward Cullen spends all of the Twilight series being like I MUST PENETRATE BELLA'S MIND!!!!1!, and Sookie's like, Praise Jesus, it's a brain vacation.



Twilight also has a love triangle between the vampire/girl/shapeshifter-NOT-werewolf, which kind of made me squee last night. (spoiler for New Moon, the second book in the Twilight series)

Actually, Twilight might be worth reading just to really enjoy the lulz from Cleolinda's awesome Twilight recaps or Growing Up Cullen.

#59

JodithGrace

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    Fanatic

Posted Nov 10, 2008 @ 12:47 PM

You know, Stephen King did a pretty fun "through a glass darkly" take on Dracula with Salem's Lot, and I thought it was a truly scary vampire story although it kind of fell apart at the end.

You know, Salem's Lot was the first vampire story I ever really read, and I loved it. But thinking about it after reading many more vampire stories and watching shows like Buffy and True Blood, I realize that Stephen King was operating under a fallacy. King's vampires turned everybody that they killed. If that were the case, the world would soon be overrun with vampires, and there would soon be nothing left for them to eat. As it was, by the end of the book, they had overtaken the entire town of Salem's Lot and there were no humans left to feed on, and they had started on the local livestock.

Subsequent books, by people who had obviously given it a lot of thought, emphasized that turning a vampire wasn't something done at random, but was a deliberate act. Vampires compete with each other for food, after all, and having more wolves than sheep is a situation that doesn't work in supernature any more than it does in normal nature.

Come to think of it, Buffy had way too many vampires, also. Yes, Sunnydale was on the Hellmouth, which attracted vampires from all over, but I'm talking about new ones. Every night on patrol, Buffy would kill at least one or two..who was turning all of those vamps, and why? Why create more competition for yourself? Unless of course the newbies were created, basically as cannon fodder for Buffy to kill, thus keeping her away from the older vamps, like the Master, though, of course, she got them too.

#60

Lila82

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Posted Nov 10, 2008 @ 2:32 PM

For anyone interested in a very different take on vampire lore (read: nothing close to the usual parade of fetishized sex objects), I highly recommend the Swedish film, "Let the Right One In." It's lonely and bleak, but strikingly lovely in its portrayal of awkward teenage growing pains and social struggles and the desperate need for acceptance. Throw in some amazing cinematography set against the endless snowdrifts and empty landscape of Sweden and it makes for a very unique viewing experience.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine's just started reading Twilight series but after hearing that it's awfully tweeny (and from so many people that it goes downhill quickly), I'm wondering if I should bother. Anyone?


If you're in touch with your inner fourteen-year-old teenage self, then yes! I picked them up on a student's recommendation (I teach junior/senior high school history), and ended up getting myself, the majority of my students, and a several other teachers hooked on the books. I agree with other posters about the poor characterization and fanfic tendencies in terms of narrative, but there is some really cool stuff, particularly the vampire and werewolf lore Meyer comes up with. All her supernatural ideas, while not entirely original, are interesting; it's the characterization and cliche plots where she falls short. Still, Jacob and Alice -- two supporting characters -- are entirely awesome and the books are a zippy, light read. Although, I also took great offense with the final stop in Bella's journey and the message it sends to teenage girls.