Whenever someone takes a book or book series and makes a movie out of it, or, as in the case of the Southern Vampire Series, a television series, you’re always going to have the conflict between what are called “bookies” and fans of the show/movie arguing pro’s and con’s. True Blood is no different. The bookies are split between being really happy with the show and angry that Alan Ball has taken such departures throughout season one.
By definition, “bookies” are the fans of the books that want things to remain exactly like the books were written. There’s nothing at all wrong with that, except when it comes down to parts that do not translate well to the screen. Bookies will be a lot happier and less frustrated if they could settle on that fact. They may even be able to enjoy the show a lot more. I mean no insult to bookies in any way. They deeply love the books and that’s a credit to Charlaine Harris’ writing. They are fierce defenders of their beloved author.
We here at True-Blood.net try to smooth the feathers of angry bookies to the best of our ability. We try to calm storms in our forums as well as on our radio show every week. We tell them to remember that the show is only based on the books by Charlaine Harris. We tell them that Alan Ball is as big a fan of the books as they are, and to trust in his talent as a story-teller. We tell them that Ms. Harris herself was happy with Alan Ball as being the one who would take Sookie’s world to television.
They are happy for a time, until something new turns up that departs from the books. New characters, different locations, different clothes, different hair color (or length), even rumors for season two. Matt Roush at TV Guide mentions this recently in answer to a reader’s question:
Question: Got two HBO questions; I understand that in the Sookie Stackhouse books that True Blood is based on, Bill doesn’t play as big a role and vampire Eric comes out as the major love interest. Will Bill continue to be Sookie’s gentleman caller, or will Eric shake that love story up in Season 2? And what’s on the horizon for Tara? It’s clear that Michelle Forbes’ Maryanne is up to no good in that mansion of hers. And what are your thoughts on The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency? I hear good things about the show, but I worry how the show will fare without Anthony Minghella at the helm. The clips I’ve seen look charming, and Botswana is beautiful.— Stephanie
Matt Roush: First off, I really liked Ladies Detective Agency (you can find my review from the magazine repurposed in the Daily Review column online), and I felt this coming Sunday’s first post-Minghella episode nicely lives up to the promise of the movie pilot. As for True Blood, your questions tread dangerously into spoiler territory, although I can appreciate how caught up you are in the story. So let me duck the what-will-happen-next stuff by saying that I’ve read five of the Sookie books so far—they’re a blast—and if season 2 holds true to the second novel (from what I remember), Bill will still play an important part in the story.
[SPOILER ALERT] It’s true that Bill and Sookie don’t remain together as the books progress, although he’s always lurking in the back of the stories and she never really gets over him. Where Eric is concerned, his storyline with Sookie takes such a great twist in one of the books that I can only hope the series will go there at some point. [END SPOILER ALERT]
But honestly, given the chemistry of Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, I expect Sookie and Bill will have plenty to do with each other as the series progresses, and I also hope that Alan Ball will develop the series so that it will find its own voice and not stick too closely to the letter of Charlaine Harris’s books (just as Dexter has wisely and smartly veered from Jeff Lindsay’s novels).
I have to agree with Matt here. I have read all the books and eagerly await the next book, Dead and Gone, due out in May. However, should Alan Ball decide to depart even more from the books, that only means excitement and adventure for me. I would love it if True Blood evolved into something totally new. Charlaine Harris has filled her Stackhouse series with so many interesting characters that there are just so many stories to tell. The “what if’s” are endless! In Alan’s capable hands, even the bookies can be comfortable leaving behind the books and climbing aboard the roller coaster ride with us.