'True Blood' Season 3: What I Love & Hate About the Show

I'm looking forward to this Sunday's premiere of True Blood Season 3 as eagerly as I devour the latest Sookie Stackhouse book the minute author Charlaine Harris gets a new one on the shelf, which for me needs to be a lot quicker than the rate of about once a year, 'kay Charlaine?

Since I read all the books first, watching the story re-unfold in a TV drama has its challenges and drawbacks. So far, the HBO series has deviated only slightly from the original storyline. I pretty much already know who abducted Bill and why, what his secret arrangement with Louisiana vampire Queen Sophia-Ann is, what is lurking after Jason in the woods, what that weird bull head in Sam's truck means, and all about Sookie's magic powers.


But the director is definitely doing something right, because I do not watch television, but I am so hooked on this show I cannot begin to tell you. I plan my Sunday around it, making sure the kids are fast asleep well before 9 p.m. to avoid the time one of them came downstairs asking for water in the middle of one of Bill and Sookie's sex-fests. Definitely don't want to try to explain away that one again.

As I spent the last half-hour salivating over True Blood Minisodes and Trailers, the literary purist in me couldn't help do what I always do: compare the book to the show. I know, it's annoying, but that's what bookies do.

I came up with a list of things I both love and hate about the show. (Some spoilers below, so proceed with care.)

Things I love about True Blood:

1. The sex

Oh, it lives up to the descriptions in the book, alright. Confession: I get a bit uncomfortable watching explicit sex scenes with my husband (he's hooked and watches with me, too). But as kinky, raw, visual, and explicit as these scenes are, the producers treat them with a dark arftulness that makes me feel like I'm not watching porn (though that's kinda what it is).

2. No sun tans!

In the book, Sookie is a suntan addict. She's famous around Bon Temps for her bronzed skin, and frequently visits tanning salons. In one scene in the book, she's lounging outside in her bikini slathered in baby oil just minutes before killing an evil fairy with a garden trowel.

Yuck. To me, tanning is akin to cigarettes. I'm so glad they decided to downplay this character trait of Sookie's. Plus I love Anna Paquin's fair complexion.

3. Eric Northman

Gawd, he's not how I pictured him in the book -- he's even better. Thank you, Alex Skarsgard and whoever cast you, Mr. Sexiest Man Alive in Sweden several times over, in that role. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. Just please go shirtless with jeans a lot more -- like in the book.

4. Lafayette Reynolds

A minor character who gets killed off in the first book, Lafayette is one of my favorite characters, thanks to the brilliant acting of Nelsan Ellis. I wish he were my cousin in real life -- minus the drug dealing habit.

Things I hate about True Blood:

1. Sookie's eyes

The book character has blue eyes. The author constantly mentions her lead character's blond hair and blue eyes, and it's a significant parallel to the strong Eric-Sookie bond. I know it's minor, and Anna Paquin rocks the role, but it would be like having a blue-eyed Edward Cullen in Twilight. For some reason a brown-eyed Sookie really bothers me.

2. Eric's hair

Just let him grow it back, will ya? And even longer than shoulder-length, huh, please? In the book, Eric Northman's hair is long and golden down to his waist and one of the sexiest things about him. Not that I'd throw him out of bed the way he is now, but his current haircut is too lounge lizard.

3. Tara

She's just whiny. Would you please shut up already? Yeah, she helps to feed the storyline, but in the book she an almost irrelevant character, and I can't get over it. She's also white, the owner of a dress shop, and married to one of Sookie's high school friends. If Sookie needed a girlfriend, I would much rather see the witch, Amelia, who comes into play further into the series. She's much more interesting and likable.

4. Sam

Oh, I love the character -- both in the book and on the show. Sam Trammell is pretty spot on for the Merlotte's bar owner in Harris' novels. But they've gone a bit overboard in how he absolutely fawns after Sookie. He comes across as desperate and wimpy at times, and that doesn't do the character justice. The book Sam is a lot more aloof and confident.

So, five days, 5 1/2 hours and counting. While you wait, check out my favorite of the Minisodes above, featuring Eric and Pam conducting dance auditions. I love you, Eric.

Book readers, talk to me! Are you with me on this?!

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