It’s been awhile since we’ve had a book vs the show discussion around here. I recently read an article which inspired this post, and I felt like I had to say something because I know some of you will agree. So, here’s the latest edition of Just My Fangpinion!
Flavorwire.com shared their list of 10 TV Shows Better Than The Books They Were Based On, and it got me riled up and feeling rant-ish ( if that’s a word?) in defense of Eric and Sookie, Charlaine Harris, her writing style and the Sookie Stackhouse series.
This is what they said about True Blood;
So, yes, we’ll be honest and admit straight out that we’re huge suckers for True Blood the TV show in all its absurd, camp glory — the accents, the supernatural silliness, the blood-soaked Lilith running around naked. We love it so much, in fact, that Harris’s books can’t help but pale in comparison, especially as they kill off our favorite character (we’re not saying who, in case you haven’t read them) relatively early on. The fact that Harris’s prose is kinda horrible — a problem we’ll encounter repeatedly on this list — doesn’t help matters any.
Now’s the time to brace yourselves…I feel a rant coming on…here goes.
Their favorite character is obviously Lafayette and his death isn’t enough of a justifiable reason to hate the books, IMO. I love his character too…but I still like the fact he was killed off in the books because it brought Eric and Sookie closer together in order to solve the mystery of who killed him. Who didn’t like the orgy Eric and Sookie went to during their investigation into finding Laffy’s killer?
From a more shallow perspective – pink spandex! Need I say more?
Strictly, from an Eric and Sookie lover’s POV…the show pales vastly in comparison when it comes to the romance between Eric and Sookie. The show has left out or changed so many great Eric and Sookie moments from the book series – it has turned many bookies away from the show, and to those of us who still watch…we have to look at the two of them (the books and the show) as two separate entities in order to find some kind of enjoyment; except for simply enjoying watching Alexander Skarsgård portray the role of Eric Northman – whether it’s the eye-candy he provides or watching how accurately he plays the character we love so much or both.
One major change was;
the shower scene oops, I’m sorry – I mean Eric and Sookie’s trip to Narnia. While I did enjoy watching the love scene in the big Viking bed (don’t get me wrong, I’ll take Eric and Sookie lovin’ any way I can get it), the dialogue had more cheese than a stuffed-crust cheesy pizza with extra cheese on top. I felt like I was on a bad acid trip from hell and all the colorful rainbows, dizzying effects and fuzzy bunnies all suddenly decided to come and attack me. I found myself deeply disappointed and felt like Alan Ball had given me one giant slap in the face, with his middle finger shoved up my ass – because I had expected something similar to how it was in the books. I could feel Alan Ball laughing at us and saying, HA-HA…GOTCHA! And his voice in my head sounded like that bully on “The Simpsons”.
How could we forget the threesome from hell? It started off great, but then Bill showed up. Why, why, WHY? The very fact that Sookie has a love-hate relationship with Eric for no good reason has disappointed me too. Having Bill save Sookie from Longshadow was only the beginning of the 1,000,000 changes they made. When Sookie told Eric she’d “rather have cancer” – not only insulted me (whose own mother died from breast cancer) but also pissed me off because cancer sounds more harsh and hateful than “fungus”. But I do love the long-drawn out angst…just like in the books…they give us Eric and Sookie in small doses. If Eric and Sookie were together right now…would we be as interested in them? Probably not – especially because in the books their story isn’t finished yet.
As an Eric and Sookie lover the show has disappointed me more often than not. What Alan Ball and the writers at True Blood have done is quite simply…made a mockery of the books and have turned Eric and Sookie’s relationship into one bad joke. Too bad I don’t get the punchline…
Shouldn’t a show that’s based on books be the visual interpretation of those books? Meaning, NO changes – other than to show different perspectives from the various list of characters? That’s what I interpret that to mean. Not changing roles, lines and making up shit as you go along.
I could name a number of TV shows and movies which are based on books, which are excellent in both writing and production and most of all…actually follow the same storylines that appear in their novels. Game of Thrones and Twilight (yes, I said it!) are just a couple of these good examples. Maybe it has to do with the fact that both authors from those series had a more “hands on” approach to the visual projects of their creations, whereas Charlaine basically allowed Alan Ball to do whatever the hell he wanted.
Funny, I should mention Game of Thrones…that show made their list too. This is what they said…
No, come on, wait. Are the books any good? Sure. Are they as hideously addictive as the show? No.
Obviously, they’re not big on reading, because I rather enjoyed the book series. In fact, I read the series as fast as I read the Sookie Stackhouse series. And I know I’m not alone in this either.
Alan Ball always uses the argument that he wants to surprise the bookies and leave them guessing. In this case, I don’t care about being spoiled…I really don’t. In fact, I would prefer knowing what’s going to happen, especially since he has turned the show into a mockery of sorts.
It pisses me off that they assume to know and don’t care what we as fans think. Well, if there’s one thing I learned in my marriage classes when I got married…is to never assume, because you make an ass out of you and me. I won’t even touch the numerous continuity errors and giant plotholes in this post, because they are just too numerous to count and badly, badly written…and they think Charlaine’s writing prose is bad??? Haha…think again!
As for Ms. Harris’s prose…while it’s not conventional, I really enjoy it. I’m not one of those readers who wants to have everything spelled out for them. I like to use my own imagination. The phrases and sayings in the series definitely have a “southern” feel to them and no wonder…it’s because Charlaine is…(now this will shock you) FROM THE SOUTH. Go figure! I find the way she tells her stories to be charming, humorous and to the point, which is refreshing, IMO. While she may not be the absolute best author in the world…you can be sure she can write something better than the True Blood writers have written so far. So, for them to attack her prose…well, to each their own, but I LOVE IT – SO STFU!
I found the whole Lilith storyline (like many of their others) held a lot of promise at the beginning…but it quickly turned into one big joke. It turned The Authority from something to be feared – into watching someone who passes out at a party and wakes up to find marker drawn all over their face or even worse…when you see embarrassing pictures of one of your friends, passed out drunk surface on Facebook. You can’t help but laugh and not take them seriously at all. The Authority members were so delusional and immature – they reminded me of a bunch of 5th graders. The Ifrit or smoke monster…REALLY? Why do I have flashbacks back to some “Lost” episodes? Judging from the tweets on Twitter alone, that was NOT a popular storyline. Absurb, yes, most definitely, but I wouldn’t call it – camp glory. I would probably call it – camp-DICK-ulous.
The accents…REALLY? Are they stupid or what? Of course they have accents, the town of Bon Temps and the whole show is set in (get ready for this)…THE SOUTH…Louisiana to be exact! OMG…how shocking?! (Although, those in the South probably don’t think they have an accent, and the rest of us do.) To say that the accents is something that appeals to them is laughable. For that reason alone…? They ARE easy to please. The books don’t contain supernatural silliness or Lilith…no wonder they prefer the show over the books. This was obviously written by a man…because only a man would enjoy watching a blood-soaked naked woman running around with a hairy bush. And now the women get to drool over a naked blood-soaked man (Billith) running around loose. *snorts* Yeah right…NOT BLOODY LIKELY! I’ll stick to Eric Northman, thanks.
Don’t get me wrong…there are many things on the show that I love too. For instance, True Blood has turned Bill Compton into much more devious, evil and pathetic creature than Charlaine could ever dream of! They aren’t off the hook yet though, because they gave Bill more of a starring role on the show and continuously remind us how B/S are “soulmates” and “first loves” and all that crap – well, I hate to break it to you but that’s just a load of BS.
King Queen Bill – really? Someone obviously decided not to follow their own mythology when it came to how Kings and Queens were made. Number one, you need to be OLD and powerful in your own Area, and Bill is relatively a “new” vampire and WTF was he before…? One of Eric’s flunkies and in fact, Eric has more power than him. It should be King Eric!
I also loved the creation of Jessica Hamby. Through Eric and Pam’s and Bill and Jessica’s maker/progeny relationships, you can see the vast differences between the two – and to me, Eric and Pam’s relationship looks much better. Loving, devoted, admirable and really really close. I enjoyed Jessica’s romance with Hoyt and her love triangle with Hoyt and Jason. The fact they took a minor character from the books, Godfrey – changed his name and turned him into Eric’s maker was a brilliant move too. His ‘goodbye’ to Eric on the rooftop is still one of my favorite scenes.
As I said before, I love Lafayette, but even now I can tell the writers don’t know what to do with him anymore. Pam – enough said. Her zingers always make the best quotes lists and makes everyone laugh. Until they turned Tara into a vampire, she was one of the characters I hated the most. I felt sorry for some of the situations she found herself in, but her bitching about everyone and everything really got to me. Now that’s she’s basically come into “her own” as a vampire, I find her much more watchable. I loved most of the “guest-appearances” of the season’s “bad guy”…like Russell and Franklin. I love Terry and Arlene as characters, and the ever-lovable Andy and his sidekick Jason. (Who knew Jason would be a great cop?)
The show has to appeal to everyone and because they’ve changed it from being in Sookie’s perspective, to everyone else’s…they had to make changes. I can understand that. The casting has been exceptional. Ahem…one Alexander Skarsgård as Eric Northman, comes to mind. Some of the Pam zingers have been legendary. I love the campy-ness too – in a weird sort of way and reading everyone’s shocked and stunned reactions online and talking about the show with others that evening or the following day. I love speculating about what’s going to happen too. To me, watching True Blood is like watching a train-wreck. You can’t look away. You either know it’s going to end really good or end really bad. My only wish is that they would show more Eric and Sookie and less of the rest of the cast in each episode, since they ARE who most fans want to see most. I know True Blood isn’t from Sookie’s POV, but she is supposed to be the one character in which all storylines and all characters intersect with. I know Anna was pregnant last season, but Sookie seemed more of a supporting character as of late. Enough with the boring side-stories that nobody cares about. (The Weres…zzzzzzzzzzz.)
As you can see, I swing back and forth between the show and the books constantly. I feel like I’m riding on a see-saw sometimes. Both have their good points and bad. I felt like I had to vent because overall and most importantly – from an Eric and Sookie lover’s point of view…the books are better and I felt I had to object publicly to this article on Flavorwire.
But hey…it’s Just My Fangpinion…what are yours? Share your thoughts below!
PS. True Blood isn’t the only TV series based on books they talk about. If you would like to read what they have to say about The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones, Dexter and other great shows, you can read it here.