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June 30 2009

True Blood is biting into the Buffy effect according to the Guardian. True Blood is debuting on British screens and this blog post talks about the effect of Buffy.

I think one of the biggest differences between the two series is that in True Blood's case, the show is grounded more in reality and has less fantasy and metaphor. Not that I don't like those concepts (it's one of the things that drew me to Buffy in the first place), but it's interesting to see how everyday and often mundane events are contrasted with the mystique of vampires and the supernatural.

I'm glad the author touched on the comparisons without bashing either show. Usually when I've seen articles like this, it fall more along those lines. Also glad urban fantasy got a mention; that's probably one of my favorite genres.
*I* liked the part where the author basically said that Twilight is an insult to the genre without actually saying it. :)
Been waiting so long for True Blood to start in the UK. I recall the trailers looking pretty cool.
TB and Buffy - two of my favorite things.

Other than both having vampires involved, both combining different genres (horror, comedy, soap opera, etc.), and both having a female lead, I don't see them as very similar. Buffy and Sookie are very different (I like Buffy more as a character). I think they are very different shows... but I love them both. Oh and they are both very quotable shows with handsome male vampires...maybe they are very similar ;)
Great show but they could have done without the nudity. Especially Anna Paquin, it felt cheap.
Good article. Haven't seen True Blood yet (no TV), but the more I hear about it the more intrigued I become. (I may have to move it up on the Netflix queue.) And props to the author for mentioning Let the Right One In, which is, after Buffy, my favorite vampire thing ever.

I think he's a bit off on Twilight, though. He says, "the conservative, just-say-no dynamic between Bella and her bloodsucking squeeze, Edward, deliberately desexualises urban fantasy." Judging from the first book, I'd say the denial (or at least deferral) of sex actually served to heighten the book's eroticism. Forbidden fruit and all that.

ETA: Not that I like Twilight; I just thought this particular criticism unfounded.

[ edited by erendis on 2009-06-30 19:59 ]
Ditto Let the Right One In. But unditto the comment on Twilight; I thought she went easy on the book series, which I find hideous. True Blood I like a great deal and watch each week with my wife. She likes Eric; I like Tara. What is it with me and Taras? :-)
*I* liked the part where the author basically said that Twilight is an insult to the genre without actually saying it. :)


I second this CarpeNoctem =)
The trouble with shows that get compared to Buffy is that they seem to fizzle out by the third season. Give it 3 years and then get back to me with True Blood.
What other shows were Buffy-esque? Seriously, I'm having a brain fart and can't think of any.
Veronica Mars was the prime candidate. Other shows that got tagged were Joan of Arcadia, Tru Calling, Hex. People went mad for Veronica Mars during its first season here. So much so that if we added the show as a category at Whedonesque, people would have welcomed it with open arms.
I really don't think any of the shows that have been compared to Buffy really deserve the comparison. Just because TB is a vampire show with a female lead it is compared to Buffy? I don't think that is a good criteria for a comparison.

The themes in the two shows seem different to me. I see Buffy more about family and friends and doing the right thing, etc. TB has various messages but I don't get those same themes from TB. I get more themes about hypocracy, descrimination, and being true what you are. But then TB changes as the stories continue so messages are likely to vary as time goes on...
True Blood is also a mature show, I wouldn't let children see it. It's way too graphic.
Thanks Simon. I was in college when MV was on the air and didn't have cable, or a TV, or a life.
Simon, I can see True Blood passing Year 3 okay. But the big help to that is the season only has 12 episodes. It takes almost twice as long for that Year 3 unshiny-ness to happen.

Plus, unlike in the Buffyverse, new evil creatures aren't taken care of. They stay there, grow roots, and live with them.

My impression is that True Blood is the world where Buffy doesn't exist... but the monsters do.
I wonder if there aren't former demon slayers in hiding in True Blood... I know they have the religious sect against the non-humans but it would be interesting to bring in someone who knew about the demons before they outed themselves.
True Blood, which I like a lot, is really more like a (ruralized, southern) Angel than like Buffy, IMO, as to the issues the characters deal with; they are all youngish adults- or became vamps as young adults, and they are dealing with jobs, regrets over past actions,and making their places in the world,etc, as well as the issues of exclusion, stereotyping, et al.

It is also more actually scary,in a spooky way, than either Buffy or Angel, and it has that whole southern gothic stylishness, which is fun. The second season looks to be getting into character more- I think it's growing into it's premise and getting going nicely.

I agree with Dana re: Let the Right One In. I recently read the book, which is good, but I think way less impressive than the movie, which is more subtle, ambiguous, and powerful, I think.

[ edited by toast on 2009-06-30 22:12 ]
For what it's worth, Dana, I detest Twilight too, for all kinds of reasons . . . I just found it odd that someone would criticize it for being "desexualized"--that's not how it struck me at all.

I've been curious about the book, toast but hadn't gotten around to reading it yet . . . maybe I'll just buy the movie instead. :-)
Get them both, but see the movie of LTROI first.

True blood also has the excellent Michelle Forbes in it now, playing what I think is a maenad. She is scary good.
The moment a new show with vampires comes around there's always the Buffy comparisons. Then you get the brain trusts who automatically assume that Whedon fans will flock to it. No one can duplicate a show about a girl with a funny name dating a vampire. Wait a minute.
One of the people that went mad for Veronica Mars was Joss himself, which might be one of the reasons it was so popular around here. The quality was a bit unsteady at times in season 2 and 3, but I've just watched S3 again and it still was more than a decent show. Made me release how sucky it really is that it's cancelled.

For me Alan Ball's name was more of a pull than the fact that there were vamps in True Blood. Then again, I never watched Buffy for the vampires either. Right now the second True Blood season is my favourite thing on tv. That's quite easy, with it's off-season airing, but still, it really is quite good. Last episode was astounding.

And I have to mention it in this Ball related thread: I just finished Six Feet Under tonight. I thought I still had two episodes left, but then, sadly, found out there was only 1 episode on the last disc. Man, that show was one hell of a ride. And the finale was pitch perfect.
My girlfriend and I are both obsessed with BtVS, then later Six Feet Under, but were both skeptical of True Blood. We ended up watching the entire first season on DVD over a week, sometimes needing to do two-in-a-row because it had us hooked. Still, we both agree--not as good as the two formers, for many reasons. We're still not sure if anything will ever be as great as those two shows. But True Blood does have some great characteristics that sets it apart from Buffy rather than being a blond girl with powers, with blond and brunette vampires after her love, etc. Like Passion said above, Buffy and True Blood's messages are very distinct.
Buffy exists in the True Blood universe, just on TV. Which ultimately led to one of my favorite lines that occurred at an anti-vampire Christian fundamentalist camp when one of the main characters was role playing an interaction with a vampire sympathizer who "transforms" into a vampire. He then snaps a flag pole into a stake and forces her to the ground with it. This later prompts his roommate to ask him why he acted "like a Muslim Buffy with a dick." I couldn't stop laughing for 5 minutes.
Hell, if a new book comes out that happens to have vampires in it there are always automatic comparisons/call backs to Buffy. Buffy has become such an iconic, cultural touchstone that I think people/writers/P.R. departments lazily reference it solely for its ability to guarantee attention.

For example: I remember when the Hendees' "Nobel Dead" series started and it was billed as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" meets "Lord of the Rings." It wasn't either of them. It was its own unique thing, but those were the sexy, cultural icons and so...
I was the same bedukay, I loved that quote and the acknowlodgement it gave to buffy. And it was so true, the snapping of the pole, classic buffy move!
The moment a new show with vampires comes around there's always the Buffy comparisons. Then you get the brain trusts who automatically assume that Whedon fans will flock to it.

Heh, my mom thought I for sure would want to see Twilight, because it had vampires in it and I'm into that stuff... had to explain (nicely, of course!) that I don't really watch Buffy for the vampires.
bedukay, Wilgje-Buffy was mentioned in the first season as well, when Sam was talking to the dog and said, "You know what this town needs? Buffy or Blade..."
I do wonder why nobody has yet mentioned "Earshot" or the comment by Ball that he has never watched Buffy. Or both in conjunction. :)

Anyway, I'm with CaptainB that TB is still miles away from what Buffy and SFU eventually became, and the main reason is neither the setting (which is really awesome and one of the best ideas I've seen on TV recently) nor the message (which is at times very Buffy-eqsue, imo) but the the very same thing I disliked about the first three Buffy-seasons: The Buffy-Angel-relationship. I really don't get it. Sookie and Bill are just the same in that regard. I don't get it that professing love equals redemption, and if Sookie accepts him in one more time after A Very Bad Thing He Did I will lose the tiny bit of respect I have left for her character.

Now, Tara, Lafayette, Sam, Maryann... awesome characters, cool storylines, great show. Glad I'm watching. Hope the main characters can catch up.
Great show but they could have done without the nudity. Especially Anna Paquin, it felt cheap.


It's HBO. Nudity is practically written into the contract. :)

But seriously, I stopped watching after they killed off Grandma. Damn shame.
Spoilers much? I know most people attracted to this have to have some interest in the show already and have probably seen it but then again, this is an article from the UK about it just premiering so those blokes probably haven't seen it yet.
Yeah it definitely was mentioned in the 1st season as well but that one didn't bring me to tears like the 2nd mention did.

I will grant their are some superficial similarities. Blond female main character, gay character, supernatural setting, etc but the themes are different as others stated before which in my opinion is fine as it is hopefully the writers on this show writing what they know.
I get the same thing re: vampires. If something has vampires in it family and friends assume I will like it. If there is a strong, independent and snarky heroine, color me interested. I read the first few of the Twilight series and got progressively nauseous with each one and couldn't finish. Give me Buffy or Anya any day.
wisengrud- in the series, Sookie does not end up with Bill forever- but that is in the book series and the show has already diverged from the book (in the book series, Lafayette bit it in book 2). Just saying.

Rutina Wesley is way cute as hell. Plus she looks strong enough to beat Angel up with his own arm. :-)
Wow this thread really should have a spoiler warning on it.
OK, I'm a big Charlaine Harris fan. I read the Sookie series LONG before True Blood was a twinkle in Allan Ball's eye but no way would I compare it in the same breath with Buffy. Buffy was a hero's journey, nothing like that going on in True Blood {which I'm enjoying more this season} not even in the book verse and CERTAINLY no hero's journey in Twilight, if anything Bella de-evolves as the series goes on. Now there ARE Urban Fantasies where the lead does evolve, Dresdan Files {books not series} but I honestly can't think of another Vampire series, TV or Books that did what Buffy did.

If you want YA Urban Fantasy that falls into the coming of age realm of Buffy go for the YA series of Otherworld, Darkest Powers by Kelley Armstrong. She also has another Joss connection as she wrote one of the Angel comic arcs. It's no Buffy BUT it's more Buffy than True Blood, Sookie bookverse, or OH GOD Twilight {which shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as Buffy. Must go make an offering in pentance to my shrine!}

Is it bad I want to carry a cattle prod to zap anyone who tells me how good Twilight is? Or hide behind the 3 Twilight shrines {yes 3} in my bookstore and zap people looking?

Anyway, I do think Buffy is a big reason for an upsurge in Urban Fantasy. Sadly, I talk to people reading this stuff and many, especially younger people don't even know Buffy? I have two pimp sets of DVDs and I try to educate.

Oh edited to say, don't even get me started into the porn that is Laurell K. Hamilton. Mentioning Anita Blake and Buffy together, I might have to burn my house down.

[ edited by Vinity on 2009-07-01 05:25 ]

[ edited by Vinity on 2009-07-01 05:25 ]
For the spoilers that keep popping up in these comments... folks, WHEDONesque has some nifty tags that allow you to create invisible text. Using these tags will preserve the awesome surprises for the folks who haven't seen the episodes yet.

Just check out the "How to tips". Thanks.
wisengrud- in the series, - but that is in the book series and the show has already diverged from the book (in the book series, ). Just saying.

I don't quite understand what you're saying here.:)
Are you saying that I shouldn't be mad about because it's not everlasting? Just like wasn't?
But seriously, I stopped watching after they killed off Grandma. Damn shame.


Really? So you didn't much like the show to begin with. Just say that then.

I love when people say they quit watching a show because someone was killed off, let alone a very minor character. Sheesh.
I'd like to think people can say why they don't watch a show anymore without posters laying into them.
When I first watched the True Blood pilot, I just dismissed it as being boring. Then fast-forward a year later I gave True Blood s1 another chance because I was bored and the 2nd season was about to begin.

Now I absolutely love the show. The intro-sequence of the show is like one of the best things ever. Also it's funny, graphic(hello nudity and gore)and has great characters, although I don't really care for Sookie, but she's forgiven because I like the way vampire Bill says her name.

And it gave me Lizzy Caplan in the nude, thank you HBO. ;P
Heh, my mom thought I for sure would want to see Twilight, because it had vampires in it and I'm into that stuff... had to explain (nicely, of course!) that I don't really watch Buffy for the vampires.

I do. ;) (Well, mostly.) Still don't want to see Twilight.
Despite the superficial similarities, I don't think Buffy and True Blood (which I love) have much in common. Starting with the contemporary take on Southern Gothic. A small backwater town in the deep south has about as much in common with suburban SoCal as ....well, they are just two different worlds.

Which is one thing I like so much about TB. It captures the flavor of the rural deep south in the same way that Buffy captured the flavor of L.A.'s outlying suburban towns. The characters are just as authentic, in terms of the regional culture, as Buffy's characters were authentic for their region.

Speaking of .... can someone explain to me what I'm missing about the term "urban fantasy"? because I don't see how it relates to TB. Urban = a large city, and TB is set in a tiny, rural town.
Color me clueless. ;)
wg- nope, was just saying that things happen in the Sookie world. No other real point there.

The bext vampire fiction right now is in the YA realm. There are a couple of excellent series: the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead and featuring Rose Hathaway is very good, and so is the House of Night series (with Zoey Redbird) by PC Cast and her daughter. There are others, but I find these the best of the bunch.

And while I know each new vampire series is always compared to Buffy, I think we should just move past that and enjoy or not enjoy each series on its own merits. I really like True Blood, hate Twilight, etc.
I second Shey. I'm not getting the meaning behind the term "urban fantasy" as it's been used here either.
Doesn't urban fantasy relate to magic and fantasy elements in a real world setting, as opposed to fairy lands and such?
I'd like to think people can say why they don't watch a show anymore without posters laying into them.


Was my response particularly rude? I didn't think so.

But I can be rude if you'd like. That reason for stopping watching a show is just so... dumb.
Doesn't urban fantasy relate to magic and fantasy elements in a real world setting, as opposed to fairy lands and such?
redeem147 | July 01, 16:23 CET


Thanks redeem147.Is that it? (because you sound a little uncertain). If so, it doesn't really work for me. Urban still = big city, so including fantasy that occurs in a real world setting that happens to be distinctly rural, like True Blood, creates a total misnomer.
Angel's L.A. is a distinctly urban setting, but not even Sunnydale could be considered remotely urban.

Ah, fun with language. ;)
redeem147 is right. Urban Fantasy means a supernatural story set in real world. Most Vampire stories are gonna fall into that category.
I would use urban fantasy to mean a certain kind of contemporary fantasy. I think being in a familiar and modern realistic setting covers a broader set or stories than urban fantasy.

Granted these categories drive me crazy so 5 minutes from now I might think they're all meaningless anyway.
Was my response particularly rude? I didn't think so.

But I can be rude if you'd like.


Good for you. Be rude somewhere else.

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