True Blood vs The Vampire Diaries

February 10, 2010 in Best Of, Entertainment by pacejmiller

Looks like a musical, doesn't it?

Thanks to Twilight, vampire books and TV series are everywhere now (well, they’ve always been around, but are finally being noticed).

I recently finished watching Season 2 of HBO’s True Blood, and I am up-to-date with Season 1 of CW’s The Vampire Diaries (13 eps).  So which is better?

(to read the verdict, click on ‘more…’)

It’s hard to compare the two, despite their obvious similarities (ie vampires, small town, pretty young girl torn between two vampires (a good and a bad one), younger brother, black girl as best friend, etc).  True Blood is hard core – blood and guts, f-bombs galore and uncensored nudity and sex.  The Vampire Diaries, constrained by network requirements, is much more sanitised, but I have a feeling they are doing what they can to ‘push the boundaries’, so to speak.

Season 1 of True Blood was released to much acclaim, though I must admit it didn’t do a whole lot for me.  Maybe it was a combination of the southern twang, the obnoxious characters and the constant swearing and sweating…that made everything feel dirty, messy and…coarse.  Perhaps that’s part of the appeal of the show.

To me, the best thing about True Blood is that the romance is not everything - there is so much other stuff going on that is juicier and more exciting

Season 2 of True Blood, on the other hand, had me hooked a lot more.  Most of the characters were still obnoxious but they started growing on me.  They were beginning to find themselves and develop interesting and dare I say endearing character traits.  It’s still grotty and sickening at times, but bloody hilarious – especially Jason’s stint in the religious cult.  I really liked introducing Eric to the mix – he brings a whole new dimension to the show.  Sookie still annoyed me most of the time, and I totally got over that crazy Maryann orgy business towards the end, but on the whole it was very solid, entertaining television.  I will be there for Season 3.

As for The Vampire Diaries, well, it’s a whole different type of show.  It definitely has that teenage drama thing happening – that “I love you this week, you love me next week, this is all so wrong” feel to it.  Some episodes have a look that remind me of the early seasons of Smallville (back when it was an awesome show…sigh…).  Stefan Salvatore (like Bill Compton) has a bit of that Edward Cullen thing going for him – that “too good to be true” good-hearted vampire business.  Actually, it’s more accurate to say Edward has a bit of the Stefan and Bill thing going for him, considering The Vampire Diaries was originally published in 1991 and the first of the Sookie Stackhouse series was published in 2001, whereas Twilight didn’t come about until 2005.

The clean-cut cast of The Vampire Diaries

However, it is his bad boy brother Damon that keeps the show afloat.  He brings an edge to the series that was missing in the early episodes before he arrived.  Unfortunately, the subplots are nowhere as good as the subplots in True Blood.  Matt, the new history teacher, will probably keep things interesting for a little while longer, but the show needs some new steam to maintain the momentum.  Hence I would say the show is so far, so good, but we will need a twist in the direction soon.  Hopefully we’ll see that.

The verdict?  True Blood is the much better show – it’s edgier, funnier and more addictive.  But if the series is too ‘full on’ for your liking, then the more sanitised The Vampire Diaries is not a bad alternative to get your vampire romance fix until the next Twilight movie.