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Monday, February 18, 2013

True Blood

Based on a close friend's recommendation I started watching the HBO series "True Blood" a few weeks ago. All in all I've enjoyed watching the series, although I will admit to feeling a little uncomfortable at first during Anna Paquin's nude scenes as the only times I've seen her in anything she was just a child and it took a little time to wrap my mind around the fact that enough time had passed since "the old days" of the mid-1990s that this little girl was now a full grown adult woman.
     Upon learning that the TV series was based upon a series of novels by Charlaine Harris I made a point to check out the source material and read the novels. I was surprised by them, while promoted as "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" they don't seem to work as a classic mystery, the mystery of the stories is secondary to inter-personal relationships of the characters and the behind the scenes political dealings of the Vampires and the other various supernatural beings aka "supes".
     While I read the first couple novels I soon switched to the audiobook editions of the series, mainly because my work schedule limits the amount of time I can spend actually reading a book, and the audiobook versions allow me to "read" the novels while doing other things. The narrator of the series, Johanna Parker really brings the characters to life in a way that my own imagination couldn't.
     As a TV series, "True Blood" is quite good, but I have to admit that I'd rather spend time immersed in the world of the novels than the TV series. The changes the creators of the TV series made to the novels in bringing them to the small screen are in my opinion questionable, eliminating characters entirely due to possible legal issues(in the novels one of the supporting characters "Bubba" is a Vampire Elvis, revived by a vampire fan in the morgue in Memphis after his drug induced death) and relying on racial stereotypes to flesh out others(Lafayette Reynolds, in the only novel he appeared in he was a background character described only as a flamboyantly gay African American. He was the cook at Merlott's, the bar where Sookie Stackhouse works, but in the series, he's morphed into a drug dealing, male prostitute. Of all the options open to this character the creators of the series chose the easiest route, turn the only male black character into a criminal when there were so many other options open to them, why not make him a college student or anything else that wasn't a criminal?) I'm not a TV producer, or even that socially conscious but this irritates me. Though in fairness they have, as the series progressed, allowed Lafayette to grow.
     As I said, I like the TV series, and if someone were to ask me, I'd recommend it to them, with the warning that it contains a lot of nudity and bloody violence, but in the end as is often the case I like the books better.

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