I love vampires, so when “True Blood” was announced years ago on HBO, I was excited for the series. My husband and I both loved the show and it became our Sunday night viewing. We both fell in love with the characters, the mystery and the pacing of the show. Midway through the first season, I learned “True Blood” was an adaption of the novel, Dead Until Dark. Being the literary nerd I am, I snapped up the book and read the novel, that ended up giving me spoilers for the end of the first season, but I didn’t care. I loved the show and I loved the book. That winter, a smart friend gave me a gift certificate for my birthday and what did I do – buy the boxset of the Sookie Stackhouse series, which at that point was books 1-7, and I tore through them.
Season 2 began and I continued to love Alan Ball’s adaptation of the books. He made changes that worked for the narrative he was creating but was still true to Charlaine Harris’s work. Season 3 was much of the same, but it was midway through Season 4, that my love started to wane. My enthusiasm for the books had diminished as well. Harris’s 10th Sookie book, Dead in the Family was tepid at best and there was something about Season 4 that was just off. In fact, I’m still not too sure what rubbed me the wrong way, but when Season 5 started I wasn’t too excited about watching the show. In fact, I still haven’t. I also haven’t read the last 2 (or 3?) Sookie novels.
So, “True Blood” falls into both of my favorite and least favorite TV show adaptations, because I was a huge fan in the beginning, but now I just don’t care. I’m not rushing to get the DVDs from Netflix and not rushing out to read the novels either. I feel there are other shows that are much better written and are not using gimmicks and out of character actions (Tara, anyone?) to keep viewers interested. I’ll eventually watch Season 5 and Season 6; I’m vested now and unless the show really irritates me, I’ll stay to the end (as I did with “Lost”), but “True Blood” is no longer on my “must see TV” list.
-K. Imani Tennyson