Which is better – the hit HBO TV series, True Blood or Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse Novels (Southern Vampire Mysteries)?
Tom Barlow from the Forbes’ blogs weighs in on the discussion.
This is what he said;
Plotting: The books are richly plotted, with reversals and high-drama situations every few pages. The television series, however, has successfully added layers of complications and twists that make them even tighter and more entertaining. One example that comes to mind is Jason Stackhouse’s involvement with the Fellowship of the Sun Church in the second season, which made this plotline more satisfying. Point to True Blood.
Sex: Virtually every episode of the television series featured naked bosoms and bare derrieres. However, these scenes are usually brief and, as is the case with visual entertainment, we aren’t able to see inside the character’s heads to learn how they view their romantic episodes. Harris seems to relish writing love scenes and does them well. The glimpses we get from the character’s minds in these interludes enhance their depth, so point to the novels.Humor: Harris has a knack for witty dialogue, and the interplay between Sookie and Pam the vampire is very amusing (“You’re my favorite breather”, Pam tells Sookie at one point.) However, the television series keeps one tongue planted firmly in cheek, and allows characters like Lafayette to play broadly, giving them witty lines that both advance the plot and amuse the audience. Point to True Blood.
Tolerance:True Blood, with cast characters that are gay, lesbian and bisexual, has proven it has nothing to prove in this respect. However, it has a ways to go to catch up with the novels, in which so many characters cross the gender, species and mortality line in so many directions that Harris uses the term omnisexual at one point. Point, the novels.
So far, they’re tied…
Cast: The producers of True Blood did an excellent job in casting actors who are very consistent with those in the book, led by the effervescent Anna Paquin. Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton, Sam Trammell as Sam Merlotte, Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse and Alexander Skarsğard as Eric Northman are particularly well done. Having actors that capture the personality of those in the book, then add their own touches, gives a point to the television series.
Minor characters: The television series did a good job in upgrading a couple of minor novel characters (Tara, Lafayette) to major ones, allowing additional subplots to develop around them. Harris, on the other hand, is able to more fully develop minor characters, using the larger pallet of the novel to give them life. This point is a draw.
Setting: The television series stayed quite consistent with the description of the settings in the Harris novels. While Harris has the novelist’s privilege of creating settings at will, television must build a set or find a remote shoot for every setting, so even in a well-funded production such as this one it will face a challenge to meet expectations raised by the novels. This is a draw.
FYI: True Blood is ahead by one point!
Mortality: When it comes to life expectancy, actors not included in the core cast had better keep their cars running, because they’re likely to be drained, staked, shot or stabbed very soon. Both the television show and the book series are seriously bloodthirsty, but Harris has a wider pallet for wholesale destruction (such as the werewolf wars or the Queen of Louisiana’s wedding fete/fight), so I give the point to her novels.
Vampirism: Every writer has his or her individual rules for vampirism, and Harris has done an excellent job of establishing those with rich dramatic opportunity. The television show has remained consistent with those rules, but not explored them to the depth that the novels have. The TV show has done some backstory exploration (Eric’s turning by his maker Godric, for example), enriching the characters, but overall the point here goes to the novels.
Overall, the author gave the novels the win!
This is what he said about why he chose the novels over True Blood:
When it comes down to the question of which do I enjoy more, I have to plead a fondness for reading over viewing. The eleven novels, while uneven in quality, have an overriding arc that remains satisfying, and characters continue to evolve in a way that television is often loathe to follow. I’ll keep watching the series, though, for the clever plots and wonderful acting. I’m so very glad that both exist. If you haven’t read the novels but like the television show, give them a try.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with what he picked?
Share your thoughts below!