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September 10 2009

10 things that "True Blood" owes to "Buffy". If you're familiar with both shows, you've probably noticed some similarities between the world of True Blood and that of Joss Whedon's Buffyverse....

Some of this is kind of a stretch...
The article was so so. But I loved all the comments.
Oh, it was funny. And, Tara!
Sacrificial tower = Meat Tree, LOL. I love the Meat Tree.
Season 2 big bad was Angel, no? Also, the entire town of Sunnydale did not go haywire like it did in Bon Temps.

Other similarities:

Cordy/Jason = the loveable airheads.
Both had a maternal figure killed off.
Sam is totally the Xander to Sookie's Buffy in terms of unrequited love.
Whoa .... SMG "had very little to do with the success of Buffy"?? That just can't go unchallenged.

I'm speechless, beyond WTF??? How could anyone with any familiarity with BtS, actually believe that?
Shey~ "very little" is a stretch, but the show would not have worked without the cast it had. I love SMG as much as the next slayer lover, but it was one of those indefinable bits of TV magic that don't often happen. That Joss was able to keep such an amazing cast, despite killing off and introducing new characters is a testament to his skill as a director.

I'm speechless, beyond WTF??? How could anyone with any familiarity with BtS, actually believe that?


A lot of people do overlook what Sarah brought to the show. I don't think it could have worked as well with anyone else as the lead.
I agree, Sarah gave a lot of herself in the show, and there is a reason why she became so famous. Plus she is extremely talented, which is not something I can say of Anna Paquin.

But I love True Blood, and there are definitely big similarities with BTVS that I enjoy.
"Overlook" is the right word. While Buffy is by no means one of my favourite characters, SMG as Buffy made the show for me and is the reason why I have almost zero interest in any Faith, Spike or Ripper spin-offs and why I am struggling my way through Angel.
Hmmm, personally I think Jessica is a combination of Dawn and Harmony. She's hilarious.
I think SMG was actually so good for so long that people sort of took her for granted. She just went out and nailed it every time (with the exception of "Prophecy Girl," where she was even better), and in a way she became the baseline. Doesn't leap out at you, but dang, take it away and the whole song falls apart; all those pretty melodies and harmonies (no pun intended) just crumble!
BlindHawkeyes said:
"Cordy/Jason = the loveable airheads"

Cordelia was apparently actually pretty smart. Remember when Xander is taunting her toward the end of Season 3 about what colleges she got accepted to and she shows him the acceptance letters, then says something like "Read 'em and weep" ? And he's all, "These...these are good schools." She was also a lot more aware and observational and called some of the characters on their bullshit (telling Buffy in the Season 2 premiere to get over herself in order to keep the few friends she has).

Jason is comparatively much more shallow (at least in Season 1) and not so intelligent...just someone who hasn't had to do a lot of thinking in his life, or maybe isn't naturally inclined to. He's had some trials in his life (parents dead when he was nine or something like that, more recently being a suspect multiple times for murder, losing more family, etc), but he's also gotten by on his looks and charm (although fair point to him, when cop Andy is listing his problems with Jason in the most recent episode, Jason points out that he works out like a motherfucker to get like that).

They are both loveable though, agree there. Harmony was Buffy's airhead.

Re: what True Blood owes to Buffy

Certainly doesn't owe its Big Bad to Buffy, since the first couple books True Blood is based on were published in 2001 and 2002 and I assume Maryanne appeared in those just like she has the first and second seasons of TB. Plus having god-like villains in fantasy TV is nothing new (Glory's the god though, Maryanne is a god-worshipper).

Same argument for the brain-sucked henchpeople. Publishing dates and Buffy Season 5 airing from Fall 2000 to Spring 2001 = Charlaine Harris probably writing her first few books before the first publishings in 2001 and not copying or likely even being inspired by Buffy.

Same for sacrificial tower.

"The Key"--villain having sights set on a specific object of sacrifice is nothing unique to Buffy. Air dates/publishing dates and all that too.

The article already points out that the love triangle between two vampires was present in Charlaine Harris' books (really, she's gonna fall in love with Eric instead of just being infatuated with him due to the tricked-into-drinking-his-blood ? Thanks for possibly spoiling that, article, that goes beyond the TV series). Heh, plus Spike ain't a natural blonde, Eric is.

Dunno about the Weapons Expert thing. Did that happen with Jason in the books ?

And the rest, okay whatever, although the Anya/Maryanne origin comparisons isn't something I thought of. Maryanne appears to be far more ancient (her origin seems to date her as such, 'cause I'm pretty sure folks weren't still believing in the Greek patheon of gods in 1000 AD). If Maryanne weren't so set on controlling everybody and thinking so highly of herself/her goals, she and Anya would probably be able to have some interesting talks.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-09-10 18:46 ]
I find the shows to be very different, especially in tone.

I think a lot of these "similarities" are actually just necessities of writing these kinds of vampire/magic stories. You need a big bad to give the show focus, big bads have henchmen, evil people sacrifice humans, etc etc. Joss didn't really invent any of this, it is just inherently in the stories and mythos of these kind of shows/stories. I'm pretty sure you could compare Buffy to any show and find all the similarities of characters and their relationships, except those shows won't use vampire mythology, so know one would claim they took it from Buffy. Everything mentioned in the blog is either a necessity for this kind of show, or a coincidence (see: towers). This is not to say there aren't shows that did directly borrow from Joss, but TB is not one of them, I don't think.
They remebered about the two Taras, but forgot of the 2 Dawns.
Kris I think the article is mostly comparing Alan Ball's version of the Sookie Stackhouse story than Charlaine Harris. The maenad (MaryAnne) storyline in the second book was very minimal and completely different. So i could see the similarities from Buffy on that one, but i still think its a stretch.

Jason never has to "man-up" with the weapons in the books, though he does get upgraded supernaturally ;) in the books. Don't know if they are going to follow that plot line in the show though.

Read the books; they're a lot of fun.
Whisper-I don't know about Kris, but I'm not reading the books anytime soon. I want to enjoy the series as is and don't want to spoil myself.
I think the show is going to veer off drastically from the books, so even I don't know whats going to happen and I have read all the books. For instance, I have no clue about the finale this weekend because the storyline is so different than the books. It is fun though to see the elements that Ball uses versus not and the things that are original to the show. IE: Jessica doesn't exist; Jason's V storyline never happened; Tara is hardly in the books at all. So there are quite a few new elements that make the show take different paths than the books. It's truly only "based" on the books not a direct book to screen copy.

Like I said the books are fun and Sookie is 10x stronger/ more self-sufficient and 100x less irritating.
I will read the books eventually, borrowed the hardcovers off my dad (they seem to include one or two stories each). I was gonna read them after Season 1, but never got around to them, so at least I wasn't spoiled any for what Ball may've adapted in Season 2.

During Season 1, up to and including the finale, Ball maintained that he would be following the books very closely. This may have been how he felt at the time, or he may've just been trying to fake everyone out over the fact that Lafayette survives.

Damn, no Jessica in the books ? Without having read them, I imagine the HBO series at least has that over the originals.

I wonder what the average fan of the books thinks of the show, whether they appreciate that there are surprises and expansions of previously less exposed characters, or wishing for a more faithful adaptation.
I really like Jessica and think its definitely a plus of the show. My biggest gripe is that the show is making Eric into the big bad wolf when he really isn't in the books.

Overall I like them both. I like the show because its different enough from the books to keep it interesting but I do wish the show would stop changing the central story. The can add all the subplots and new characters they want, but I hate that they are changing the Bill/Sookie/Eric dynamic from the books.
Maybe it'll be worked back into how it is in the books, although maybe a bit more of a strained dynamic between the three.

Re: Eric, I'd like some more backstory on him. And while I don't need to see him wallowing for many episodes in self-pity, after Godric's death we didn't see him for an episode (only a dream version of him in Sookie's mind), then we see him back to normal at Fangtasia and later plotting with the Evan Rachel Wood's character. There was a bit of a disconnect between grieving Eric and back-to-usual Eric. Plus if I'm not mistaken, wasn't Eric supposed to go and help Sam ? But instead he stayed at the Queen's place and didn't look like he was in any rush to leave. Bill, Sookie, and Sam took care of Maryann just fine without him, but I still wondered about that during the finale.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-09-15 21:18 ]

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