Coming from a fascination with Six Feet Under, especially the first three years, I couldn't wait for True Blood. For me, HBO has been starved for a great series since the end of The Wire.
True Blood was marketed just right; the fan sites play the best music from the shows; who could top Bad Things by Jace Everett as a theme song. I ended up reading the entire series several times and sending it to friends for Christmas. Just plain sexy fun.
Ball has brought out nuances of each character with so much love and attention - I don't even mind this attempt to cover all possible demographic groups to keep the series alive. Especially with all the great characters and the actors playing them.
Though losing Lafayette - what a loss! What a great character Ball wrote and what a fantastic actor! Nelsan Ellis deserved an award for this. Steven Moyer is so sexy, and can seemingly play anything given the range of parts he has handled since his days as Prince Valiant. Alexander Sarsgaard as Eric is a brilliant piece of casting. Sam Trammel as Sam IS Sam. Ryan Kwanten is beautiful, funny and fantastic as Jason. Rutina Wesley as Tara keeps me watching to see who she is going to insult next - and how is she going to escape notice. Only Sookie herself leaves me less than satisfied.
Sookie in the novels is a shy, confused, sexually inexperienced "crazy", who blooms through her affair with vampire Bill Compton. But Sookie under Anna Pacquin seems more crazy and fearful with each show. She screeches fearfully, loudly and long with each body discovered - her encounter with a murderer - her rape. In the novels, she becomes aware that her finding bodies is less scary with each as she observes what has happened. Her rape is rationalized as Bill's expression of terror. She questions whether she is becoming Vampire due to her lack of emotion, or is she just wiser as an experienced human. She doesn't scream, though she may still faint.
I keep seeing Sookie Stackhouse as Katherine Heigl. In the novels, Sookie can be downright selfish and mean as time passes. She defends herself as needing to stand up to vampires, werewolves and shape shifters and ruthlessness. Anna Paquin looks like she might hit at a vampire with her well muscled arms, but her facial expression of anger seems only to be a sneer which is neither sexy, strong, nor scary.
I'm still recommending the series on TV and in books. But part of me hopes Katherine Heigl shows up one day, maybe hooks up with Eric, and never leaves.