True Blood vs Twilight Essay

The year 2008 saw the book-to-screen translation of two human/vampire love stories: Twilight and True Blood. True Blood, a television show on HBO, is a single volume of the book series Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. Twilight is an adaptation of the book series by Stephanie Meyer that has transformed into multiple motion pictures. Twilight is set in Forks, Washington where vampires are merely a myth to humans, and True Blood is set in the fictional town Bon Temps, Louisiana, where vampires have come out of hiding to try and cohabitate themselves into human society because of the invention of synthetic blood.

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When considering the legend and lore of vampires, the characters, and the actual production value of the story, True Blood and the Twilight series run as two dynamically opposite tales. The mythology of vampires puts forth the notion of the undead and their supernatural abilities. True Blood respects the original vampire culture by never straying too far from it’s familiar conventions, such as having fangs, requiring blood for nutrients, burning when exposed to sunlight or silver, and having the ability to fly.

As for the under-played Twilight version, the mocking ability of a vampire’s skin sparkling when they step into the sun is almost as threatening as “My Little Pony”, and taking away the monstrous quality of having fangs completely destroys the classic horror theme. Another over-dramatic trait of Twilight’s vampires is that they do not require sleep, yet they have an immeasurable amount of strength.

True Blood holds the more logical approach that vampires must rest during the day or else they will get weak and develop a condition known as “the bleeds,” where they bleed out of the orifices of their face. Besides the physical characteristics, Twilight has stunted the belief that vampires are an “equal race”, by giving each of their characters a different ability. For example, in the Cullens family (Twilight), Jasper has the ability to calm a room, Alice can predict the future, and Edward can read humans’ minds (except for Bella’s).

Despite these enchanting traits of a rather vicious creature, True Blood keeps it simple and understandable by all of their vampires having the same ability to “glamour” a human, or mesmerize them, and have super speed and strength (when well rested). Twilight’s “glamour vamps” lack excitement and originality while True Blood’s vamps wear their entire being on their cold, lifeless sleeves. A crucial component for building hope and suspense for a reader would consist of having well-suited characters that add spark to the story.

Twilight tells the viewers about the potential plot that could unfold, leaving no suspense, whereas True Blood’s viewers have a visual component, making it easier to connect and empathize with the characters. Twilight’s Bella Swan is a self-conscious, introverted human teenager, while True Blood’s Sookie Stackhouse is an independent, strong-willed human waitress. Both heroines seem to find themselves fascinated with the vampires they each encounter and eventually struggle with their lovers’ “dark side”.

When Bella first sees Edward, she is instantly attracted to him but does not outwardly express it and does not initially insert her interest in any way, unlike Sookie who strikes a conversation with Bill as soon as she sees him and later saves his life all within the first episode. Twilight’s Edward Cullen seems to be an egotistical snob that talks a big talk but takes action demonstrating his “vampire” abilities, especially when compared to True Blood’s Bill Compton, who will use his supernatural powers to any extent when it deems necessary to him, even though his being a vampire shames him.

Edward only speaks of being a threat to his lover, Bella, while on the other hand, Bill stakes another vampire in the second season to save Sookie’s life (a criminal act worth the death penalty in the vampire world). Both vampires demonstrate their love, but Bill clearly acts on his feelings and instincts as a supernatural creature rather than Edward, who basically sits and complains about his negative self image.

True Blood, being a television show of three seasons, has had the luxury of thirty-six hours of run-time to shape their story, describe their world, and add depth to their characters, whereas Twilight has had less than eight hours (including all three motion pictures) to evolve it’s repetitive love story. While Meyer’s story revolves around teenage angst, True Blood caters to a more mature audience by giving them heaping doses of adult content, like: sex, violence, and tons of blood.

By True Blood integrating vampires into a modern-type society, it allows the show to tackle things that are normally controversial like racism, segregation, and religion. In contrast, Twilight simply keeps vampires hidden away from the human race, spending most of their budget on special effects and young, attractive actors, serving to the youth culture. Twilight strains its ability to genuinely connect with the audience by having one of the main characters, Bella, narrate the movie from a first-person perspective, limiting the audience to her emotions and point-of-view.

Although Sookie Stackhouse is the main character of the story, the plot is not limited solely to her perspective; True Blood makes sure that there is plenty of time spent developing the other main characters’ story lines that solidifies the show’s strong ensemble cast that includes: Sookie’s younger, air-headed brother Jason, her strong best friend Tara, Tara’s gay cousin Lafayette, Sam the bar-owning shapeshifter, and Eric the vampire sheriff of Louisiana. When diving into possibilities of a fantasy on screen, there is always a pinch of realism needed in the story in order keep the viewer grounded in reality.

By basing the series on the possible outcomes of vampires and humans incorporating their worlds, True Blood stays true to the egregiousness of the vampire reputation. Twilight minimally does the same thing every year or so, while lacking the excitement that True Blood gives it’s viewers on a weekly basis. True Blood is a fiendishly fun and breath-takingly baleful series featuring insane characters filled with life and thrill, while Twilight is a teen centric sulk-fest filled with silence and shame.

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