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True Blood TV Series VS. Book Series: To Read Or Not To Read?


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#1

TWoP Bayliss

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Posted Sep 2, 2008 @ 2:13 PM

If you want to talk about the books, do it here or in the Spoiler thread.
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#2

Door

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Posted Sep 3, 2008 @ 4:47 PM

I've been re-reading DUD in anticipation of the pilot. One of the problems I had with the rough-cut pilot was that it was kind of trashy, but I've realized that there's a lot of trashiness in the book, too-- I just didn't notice it as much because I wasn't reading those things with a mind towards the visual medium. Now, if the new pilot can take that trashiness and make it fun like in the books instead of cheap like it was in the rough-cut, then I think that will put a lot of my trepidation to rest.

Edited by TWoP Bayliss, Sep 4, 2008 @ 9:01 PM.
Spoiler tags are for spoilers.

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#3

Futhark

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Posted Sep 4, 2008 @ 11:37 AM

I agree, Door. I feel like the show does not capture the essence of that part of Louisiana like the books do. Having lived there, I am quite a snob about it. Also, I did not think the vampires were very true to the book. I don't remember them being quite so creepy.

Edited by TWoP Bayliss, Sep 4, 2008 @ 9:01 PM.
Spoiler tags are for spoilers.

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#4

Door

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Posted Sep 4, 2008 @ 2:42 PM

Futhark, I had the same observation. Much has been made about how Alan Ball is using vampirism as a metaphor for homosexuality and gay rights.

Why is one of the first scenes showing that crazy vamp screwing Maudette? When the point of the book is about vamps trying to mainstream? That's something that should come in a later episode. After all, in the book we're allowed to get a little used to Bill before we meet the non-mainstreaming Diane/Malcolm/Liam nest. To be fair, I have read that that vampire is edited to appear less wild in the final cut.

Edited by TWoP Bayliss, Sep 4, 2008 @ 9:02 PM.
Fixed spoiler tags.

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#5

TWoP Bayliss

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Posted Sep 4, 2008 @ 9:09 PM

Sorry for all the edits, and for being unclear about the purpose of the thread -- let's try that again.

Just because you've seen the leaked trailer doesn't make everything in the leaked trailer a spoiler. Whether or not you thought the episode was "trashy" is not a spoiler, nor whether you thought the vampires were "creepy." See the pinned post.

And thanks -- I really think this comparison thread is a big deal, because of the passion people feel for these books, and for the vastly different approach Ball is taking, so I want to make sure we're all tiptop. Questions can go via email or in the Q&A thread.

Edited by TWoP Bayliss, Sep 4, 2008 @ 9:20 PM.

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#6

TWoP Bayliss

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Posted Sep 4, 2008 @ 9:17 PM

Refresh with the FAQ if you're having trouble remembering what constitutes a spoiler, if necessary: important details about unaired episodes not revealed in promotional materials or third-party news sources. Cutesy spoiler-tagging that manages to completely reveal what you're talking about are a huge pet peeve of the mods. If something's a spoiler, tag it. We'll spoiler tag only for From Dead To Worse in this thread.

In addition to book/show comparisons, this thread is meant to quarantine major book plots that may inspire the show writers. Spoiler thread is for Spoilers, Book thread is for Book stuff... that might turn into Spoilers. There's a lot of play between the two and we get that; just try your best. However, if it's one of the huger elements keep it here only, please. You know the ones I'm talking about (Bill's betrayal, Sam's stuff, other Supes, Sookie's lineage, her and Hadley's history, etc.) but if you don't, that's a good sign you ought to get out of this thread quick as can be.

Please also remember that this is a site about television. If you just want to discuss the books, there are sites available for that. You will probably find them by looking on the internet.

Edited by TWoP Bayliss, Oct 13, 2008 @ 9:26 AM.

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#7

Door

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Posted Sep 4, 2008 @ 9:49 PM

No problems here, TWoP Bayliss. I'm really looking forward to comparing and contrasting the series with the books, which I love.

Alan Ball said at ComiCon that he purposefully moved the timeline of the HBO series to post-Katrina Louisiana. I'm very curious to see how that decision will play out considering the huge effect Katrina has on the book series in All Together Dead and From Dead to Worse. I thought it was brilliant of Charlaine Harris to acknowledge Katrina in her universe. Should the series last long enough, all that resulting vampire upheaval and politicking is too great a dramatic plot point to ignore no matter how much they deviate from the source material.

Edited by Door, Sep 4, 2008 @ 9:51 PM.

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#8

HistoryGal

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Posted Sep 5, 2008 @ 1:31 PM

Awesome - a thread for the books! This is one of my favorite series. I just re-read From Dead to Worse and I think it is my favorite book yet. SO much happens, but it didnt feel rushed.

I saw the TV pilot (free rental from Blockbuster) and I wasn't impressed - but I didnt expect to be, because I'd heard about Ball's choice to capture the "essence" of the books (or something to that effect) rather than follow them closely. But I dont know, I might just tune in anyways to see if I can accept both of them as separate things, and I guess if he veers too far away from the books I can always stop watching and go back to waiting for the next book in the series to come out.
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#9

Door

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Posted Sep 5, 2008 @ 7:58 PM

Bubba's going to be in the show! I'm so excited! I wonder who they'll get to play him?
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#10

Shenanigan

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Posted Sep 6, 2008 @ 3:08 PM

Should the series last long enough, all that resulting vampire upheaval and politicking is too great a dramatic plot point to ignore no matter how much they deviate from the source material.


I hope so, because I really really really want to see Sophie-Anne and Andre translated from literary creations into flesh-and-blood people. (Well, vampires.) The casting for those two would need to be so perfect.
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#11

Unico24

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Posted Sep 6, 2008 @ 9:30 PM

I started reading the first book when I found out the series was based on it. I loved it so much that I ended up reading the first six books in the series in the space of two weeks. Actually it was about two weeks ago when I began reading the first book Dead Until Dark.
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#12

RandaPrince

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Posted Sep 6, 2008 @ 9:41 PM

Hoping this is the right thread in which to post this ... what does everyone think of the casting?

I think Anna Paquin is pretty good as Sookie (from the trailers and clips I've seen); I like the guy they have playing Bill too. LaFayette looks perfect, and I think Kristin Bauer is going to be a great Pam. I'm not at all sure about the guy they have playing Eric -- I guess I picture Eric taller, more muscular (not, like, body-builder type, but definitely kind of built) and better-looking. But maybe he'll sell it.

Anyone else?
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#13

TWoP Bayliss

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Posted Sep 6, 2008 @ 9:54 PM

I picture Eric taller, more muscular (not, like, body-builder type, but definitely kind of built) and better-looking. But maybe he'll sell it.

Check out the clips of Alex Skarsgard from Generation Kill, they should convince you he couldn't be much more built or better looking. (He was also voted Sexiest Man in Sweden like five years in a row.)

I really think Bill, Jason and Lafayette are perfectly cast, Lafayette being the most difficult since he has to be and do so much, while avoiding stereotype AND playing everything between the lines of "too campy" and "too creepy to deal with." Paquin could make me care deeply about her character if she were playing tofu, so the fact that Sookie is so likeable and idealized in the books is just icing on top.
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#14

cyberducks

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Posted Sep 6, 2008 @ 10:40 PM

I'm not at all sure about the guy they have playing Eric -- I guess I picture Eric taller, more muscular (not, like, body-builder type, but definitely kind of built) and better-looking. But maybe he'll sell it.

Anyone else?


Alexander Skarsgard is 6'4, not hit with the ugly stick - and he can act, which runs in the family - his father is Stellan Skarsgard.

I don't think you have to worry about him not being up to playing Eric.

I am generally happy with the casting, my main concern is whether the series can capture the spirit of the books.
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#15

AngelKitty

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Posted Sep 7, 2008 @ 7:26 AM

I have to admit I resisted getting into this series because the cover art shown in my Science Fiction Book Club catalog looks so cartoony but I had finished all the Anita Blake books, the Dresden books and the Rachel Morgan witch books so decided to take a chance and fell in love with Sookie and her world.

I have read all of the books and loved them. I even got my mom into them, unfortunately neither one of us have HBO...yet.

I've seen clips of some of the characters and so far it's looking pretty good.

(Another funny vampire story is Betsy the Vampire Queen by MaryJanice Davidson.)
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#16

ScarlettLynn

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Posted Sep 7, 2008 @ 11:54 AM

I just finished the latest book "From Dead to Worse" the other day. (I wanted to have them all read before the show began... so yay!... I did it just in time.)

The first I ever heard about these books was at the Comic-Con panel for "True Blood" that I went to because it was: a) a vampire show; b) a vampire show on HBO; c) a vampire show on HBO by Alan Ball; and d) a vampire show on HBO by Alan Ball with my gal Anna Paquin. Charlaine Harris was there and she was so nice and had a great sense of humor and then in the giveaway bag that they supplied they had the first book, "Dead Until Dark"... I read it that weekend and was totally hooked right away! It's probably my favorite vampire series that I've read.

I have to admit I resisted getting into this series because the cover art shown in my Science Fiction Book Club catalog looks so cartoony


I've forced the books on two different friends of mine and we all had that same hesitance about the cover looking so cartoony.

The one thing I've really enjoyed about the books is that they seem to get better and better as they go and that things are constantly changing. It's not like one of those serialized stories where every character stays the same and has the same adventure over and over. I would have never expected by the end of book one that Eric would be the character I was most excited about seeing interact with Sookie on the show. I've purposely avoided that leaked, rough-cut... but I'm so psyched to see these characters.

I hope so, because I really really really want to see Sophie-Anne and Andre translated from literary creations into flesh-and-blood people. (Well, vampires.) The casting for those two would need to be so perfect.


Oh I really want to see this too! It's definitely going to be a challenge to cast some really young actors who can also play that really mature, imposing quality. (But that'll be years off if they stick to some kind of book-a-season format.... which really makes me hope that this show just takes off because I SOOOOO want to get to some point where we see we see Claudine kick some Were ass. I totally love her!) (And of course seeing Claude couldn't hurt the eye-candy factor either...)
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#17

cyberducks

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Posted Sep 7, 2008 @ 12:13 PM

I love the book covers - I find them whimsical and I also like that they are different from most covers in the genre. It was actually the cover design of Dead Until Dark that made me buy the first novel on impulse years ago when the book series started.

As to Eric, it was sort of love at first read for me - I knew the character would be something special as soon as Harris introduced him.
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#18

Shenanigan

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Posted Sep 7, 2008 @ 1:20 PM

Oh I really want to see this too! It's definitely going to be a challenge to cast some really young actors who can also play that really mature, imposing quality.


Exactly! That's what I can't wait to see - how they manage to cast the "two most dangerous teenagers in the world" or however it was that Harris put it. I'm also curious as to who they'd cast as Alcide. I'm suddenly picturing Jeffrey Dean Morgan, myself. So far I like the people they've set very much. I was afraid I'd have issues with whoever was playing Sam, as he's always been my favorite, but Sam Trammell looks pretty damn good, if a wee bit younger than in my head.

So is that the plan - one book equals one season, more or less? Ugh. I don't know if I can wait that long to see some of these characters make their appearances!
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#19

Zengar

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Posted Sep 7, 2008 @ 10:06 PM

I was afraid I'd have issues with whoever was playing Sam, as he's always been my favorite, but Sam Trammell looks pretty damn good, if a wee bit younger than in my head.

I agree with you on this! Harris always describes her male characters in vivid details and although there isn't anything red-ish about Trammell's hair he's totally the Sam in my mind now.

I've only finished book 3. The country I currently live in, they only published three books translated in Chinese, so I might have to order the rest from Amazon. I want to read up to the one with Jason's main story in.

One book per season seems too big a stretch though. What I remember from Ball's interview is that the show will stick to book one closely, but I'm not sure what he'll do after that. I think he hinted there'll be some changes away from the book adaption.

Edited by Zengar, Sep 8, 2008 @ 6:43 AM.

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#20

TropGirl

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Posted Sep 7, 2008 @ 11:35 PM

One book per season seems too big a stretch though. What I remember from Ball's interview is that the show will stick to book one closely, but I'm not sure what he'll do after that. I think he hinted there'll be somoe changes away from the book adaptio


I think the first book can support a whole season, but I hope they condense or alter things a bit after that. I've only read the first three, and while I liked the third (Club Dead) the best, I found the second book pretty awful. I could see both of those being covered in a few episodes, whereas the first book needs to set up the series and characters, and it does have enough plot to occupy numerous episodes. I don't want them to totally dismiss the books, but I wouldn't mind it if certain things are altered or cut or reordered in order to get the best stories out there.

I hope they change at least one thing from the books: Killing off Lafayette at the beginning of Book Two. I really like the actor and I think the character adds something to the story, and the way he was killed off seemed totally without purpose or payoff.

I can't wait to see Eric and Pam. I feel like the show won't really start for me until they're in it.
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#21

ScarlettLynn

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Posted Sep 7, 2008 @ 11:44 PM

I think the first book can support a whole season, but I hope they condense or alter things a bit after that. I've only read the first three, and while I liked the third (Club Dead) the best, I found the second book pretty awful.


I didn't think the second book was awful but it definitely was my least favorite of the bunch. I could see that one being quite condensed easily without losing any of the story. (As long as all the Sookie and Eric scenes remain delightfully in tact then I'm fine with that.)

I hope they change at least one thing from the books: Killing off Lafayette at the beginning of Book Two.


I completely agree with this. He's a great part of the show and I think they could easily bring in some random "red shirt" to get killed if they still want to have that mystery remain in tact.

I can't wait to see Eric and Pam. I feel like the show won't really start for me until they're in it.


I can't wait to go to Fangtasia!
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#22

TWoP Bayliss

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Posted Sep 7, 2008 @ 11:44 PM

I completely agree about Lafayette and the Fangtasians, and I hope/believe that you're right, but I was actually posting to say that my understanding is that you're right, and they'll do the Dexter thing where it starts by going along with Book One, and then will grab things at random from the canon after that.

Which, I love the idea that vampires are only the tip of the iceberg -- and Sam's doggy appearance and the probable maenad this week hint that they're going there -- but I don't know that the full White Wolf push is really appropriate for the first season of this show. Trouble is, so much of Sookie and Jason and Hadley and Adele's history ends up tied into the greater Supes picture that it would be similarly lame if that stuff was ignored. At least we know there are weres (or in Sam's case shapeshifters) and maenads on the horizon eventually. I just hope it takes a while.
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#23

Zengar

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Posted Sep 8, 2008 @ 12:47 AM

I actually skipped the second book and went for the third, thinking it's the second book. When the books are translated it's hard to know the order. So I went back to read book two (thanks to TWoP posters) and after reading it I don't think I missed much. The 'reveal' at the end doesn't really need a whole book in my opinion.

If I may speculate, I can totally see Alan Ball letting Lafayette live longer in the show than he does in the book. I also hope the grandma lives so we can have more Stackhouse family scenes.

I missed the maenad hint this week. Going to read the recap to find out.
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#24

ScarlettLynn

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Posted Sep 8, 2008 @ 12:55 AM

I missed the maenad hint this week.


Yeah, I didn't catch that either.
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#25

RandaPrince

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Posted Sep 8, 2008 @ 1:42 AM

AngelKitty wrote:

(Another funny vampire story is Betsy the Vampire Queen by MaryJanice Davidson.)

Did those get better after the first one? I read it and did not like it. I thought the writing was poor, though the concept was good.

I gave up on Anita Blake (a series written by Laurell K. Hamilton) at about book 7, when it seemed (to me) to have turned into total porn. I'm no prude, and I'm just fine with sex in books, but the Anita Blake books seemed to devolve to a point where they weren't about anything *but* sex. (I also thought Anita became a bit of a Mary Sue.)

Of course YMMV.

Re: the dude playing Eric ... for some reason he looked short to me in the previews. Weird! If he's 6'4", I'd say he's plenty tall for the character. :-) I'll give him a chance; I hope he shows up next week!

Edited by RandaPrince, Sep 8, 2008 @ 1:41 AM.

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#26

nellyhug

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Posted Sep 8, 2008 @ 5:58 AM

AngelKitty wrote:

(Another funny vampire story is Betsy the Vampire Queen by MaryJanice Davidson.)

Did those get better after the first one? I read it and did not like it. I thought the writing was poor, though the concept was good.


I thought they got worse, I stuck with them through the first few books that were already in print, because it only takes a few hours to read them. But I think Betsy just got more and more annoying as the books got worse.

sorry back on topic

I missed the maenad hint this week.


Yeah, I didn't catch that either.


I thought that was supposed to be Claudine, and they took that out when Sookie was first fighting the Rats.
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#27

ScarlettLynn

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Posted Sep 8, 2008 @ 8:53 AM

I thought that was supposed to be Claudine, and they took that out when Sookie was first fighting the Rats.


Yeah, I didn't see anyone when Sookie was fighting the Rats.
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#28

smunky

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Posted Sep 8, 2008 @ 9:56 AM

There was someone hiding in the bushes when Sookie was fighting the Ratts off Bill. I thought it was supposed to be Claudine because the figure looked clean and dark haired where the Maenad was supposed to be kind of...rough around the edges and dirty.
It's really bothering me that Tara is working at Merlottes. What about Tara's Togs?

ETA: It's also really bothering me that they are not making Paquin wear blue contacts. All through the books are references to Sookie's blonde haired blue eyed look... and here we have these weird dark chocolate eyes.

Edited by smunky, Sep 8, 2008 @ 9:59 AM.

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#29

Janie1130

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Posted Sep 8, 2008 @ 11:22 AM

I can't wait to see Bubba munching on some stray cats.

Like the poster above, I too thought Eric looked short from the brief glimpses we have seen of him in the previews. I'm so hoping that he will fulfill my expectations of my mental picture of Eric. Eric is by far my favorite character in the books.
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#30

Nanuq

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Posted Sep 8, 2008 @ 11:27 AM

I can't wait to see Bubba munching on some stray cats.


I wonder if they might have some problems with that from the Elvis fans, not to mention his lawyers. It's one thing to have him as a cat-eating vampire in a book series, it's another to do it on television.
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