10 Things ‘True Blood’ owes to ‘Buffy’

14Oct09

Check out this great article at http://www.afterelton.com/blog/dennis/ten-things-buffy-true-blood

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. And not simply the obvious things (i.e. vampires), or similarities that were already present in the Sookie Stackhouse book series. I’m talking about characters, plot elements, and general themes that weren’t ported over from the Charlaine Harris books and instead seem borrowed from Buffy. And in particular, Buffy season 5.

Don’t believe any Buffy/True Blood similarities are intentional? Here are 10. You decide whether or not these parallels are simply coincidence.

1. The Big Bad

Every season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had its “Big Bad”: A major foe who percolated throughout the season before boiling over and being ultimately vanquished in the finale. There was The Master (Seasons 1 & 2), The Mayor (Season 3), Adam (Season 4),  Glory (Season 5), Bad Willow (Season 6), and The First Evil (Season 7). True Blood has its very own Big Bad in the form of Maryann. Her ominous storyline has run through the entire season and clearly the upcoming finale will culminate in a big showdown with her. Maryanne is strikingly similar to season 5’s Glory. Both are immortals who can’t be killed and both are attempting a ritual that the protagonists are trying to stop.

2. The Crazy Henchpeople

Glory sucked the brains out of many of the citizens of Sunnydale. For the most part they just ran around acting crazy, but towards the end the crazies become her henchmen, helping her prepare for the coming ritual. Maryann does the same thing.

3. The Sacrificial Tower

In Sunnydale, Glory had her minions build an ominous metal tower for her. Maryann makes hers of meat.

4. The Key

Glory needs to bleed Dawn. Maryann has her sacrificial sights set on Sam

5. The Love Triangle

Sookie is torn between good vampire Bill or blonde bad boy, Eric. Does this triangle sound familiar? (Although, to be fair, this similarity was present in the Charlaine Harris books)

6. The Weapons Expert

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander had no particular skill set so, as if to compensate, in a bit of a plot contrivance he was made a “military weapons expert.” Jason gets the same military upgrade in season 2 after a brief stint in the Children of the Sun compound.

7. The  Vengeance Demon (origin)

Okay, this one may be a stretch, but in season 5 of Buffy we learned more about Anya and how she got her start as a vengeance demon. Back in Viking days, the human Anya had a boyfriend who cheated on her, so she gives up her humanity to become a vengeance demon and turn him into a troll.

In last week’s True Blood, the vampire queen explains how Maenads like MaryAnn came into being: “You’re a wild young girl who is married to some jerk who treats you like property and is also f#*king some 14 year old boy….”

8. Tara

Okay, aside from the name, which is surely only coincidental, both the Buffy Tara and the True Blood Tara lose themselves to the Big Bad, And saving them from the Big Bad becomes a major motivation in taking on the seemingly invincible foe.

9. The Teenage Ward

In season 5, Buffy gets a little sister seemingly out of nowhere. (Well, actually out of nowhere come to think of it.) And when mother Joyce dies, Dawn becomes Buffy’s obnoxious teenage ward. In True Blood it’s Bill who gets the ward, in the form of Jessica. And just like Dawn, she’s dealing with typical teenage issues (although being a cable show, Jessica’s are far more R-rated).

10. The Scooby Gang

A lot of Buffy fans (myself included) think the success of that show had very little to do with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy and far more to do with the cast of supporting characters – Buffy’s gang, her Scoobies, without which she would never be able to defeat the Big Bad. This season of True Blood is shaping up to be similar, with weapons expert Jason, the vamps, the shifters, and Sookie herself all working together to defeat the otherwise invincible Maryanne.

So, True Blood watchers, what do you think? Any similarities between Buffy and TB that I’m missing? Do you think these similarities are intentional and Alan Ball is using Buffy as a sort of playbook?

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