Different Vampires, Same Fan Love

February 22, 2010 by  

Most of us know that True Blood is not the first show or movie to feature vampires. After all, the concept of vampires dates back to Ancient Rome, if not earlier, and vampires can be found in all sorts of texts, as well as some earlier movies. However, some vampires affect us more than others, and as we’ve seen, True Blood has several great vampires, like Bill, Eric, Godric, and Pam, who all have strong fan followings. They’re not the only ones, though. After all, who doesn’t remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Angel and Spike? Or even The Vampire Diaries and the Twilight saga? How about the vampires from Moonlight? After all, the lead vampires of Moonlight had a similar fan following to what I see here on TrueBloodNet.com, with people in love with the vampires and the world they survived in.

Actually, True Blood and Moonlight have a lot in common. That’s probably why people like myself wish we could tune into Moonlight on Friday nights, then have Sundays to enjoy True Blood. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen any time soon, as Moonlight was canceled after only one season, while True Blood is thankfully still on air. However, the two shows still have much in common, and if you’re really in need of some good vampires while we continue to wait for Season 3 of True Blood, renting or purchasing the season of Moonlight may help you survive the vampire addiction we all share until True Blood begins airing again in June.

Moonlight is a show that vampire fans everywhere should be able to sink their fangs into. First, like True Blood, when it first came out, there were instant comparisons to another show. Unlike True Blood, which was compared to the Twilight movies, Moonlight was considered by those who didn’t watch it to be a direct rip-off of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer show’s spin-off, Angel, simply because the lead character, Mick, was a vampire P.I., like Angel was.

Even with the charges against it, Moonlight and True Blood have a lot more in common than any of the shows or movies they’ve been compared to. Let’s begin this comparison with both shows in general terms. Both are, as I’ve stated before, shows about vampires. However, there are many different “rules” to both universes. In the Moonlight universe, vampires can go outside during daylight (unlike the True Blood universe), but need to wear sunglasses and take general precautions to protect themselves from the sun, including staying in the shade while outside. Plus, if a vampire in Moonlight is outside too long, they require a lot of blood to replenish themselves from the nourishment they have lost. Another difference between the two shows is the writing and plotlines. Moonlight focused on episode-centric arcs, with only a few season-long arcs, which is very similar to a crime drama. True Blood focuses more on season arcs, like the Maryann story arc, which was the majority of Season 2.

Another similarity between True Blood and Moonlight are their lead characters, Mick St. John and Bill Compton. Both vampires are very similar in the physical way, and often carry very similar attitudes, wishing they could be closer to their humanity again and yet reveling in their strengths as vampires, since that strength allows them both to save and protect others. Both men also have saved their heroines in the past, and also see them as great assets. (Mick has Beth Turner, a young woman whom he saved as a child from another vampire, and Bill has Sookie, of course.) It also turns out that both Mick and Bill were turned by their makers unwillingly, as Lorena forced the vampirism on Bill, and Mick‘s own wife, Coraline, did the same to him, but instead of on the way home from war, it was on his wedding night.

That’s not the end of the similarities between the two, though. Both are also quite young in terms of vampire age, and both also have to work as underlings for another vampire. Bill works for the vampire Sheriff, Eric Northman, and Mick works as an underling to his mentor and friend Josef Kostan. However, the relationships between the men and their “bosses” are very different. Where Bill and Eric often squabble and seem to respect yet dislike each other, Mick and Josef are very close friends, and Mick often turns to Josef when he needs help. Both vampires also have girlfriends. Bill has Sookie, starting with the instant connection between them the first time they meet. Mick, on the other hand, has to wait a bit longer for Beth, who is dating a DA when she first meets Mick. For most of the series, Mick and Beth are playing the “I want you but I can’t have you” game, until circumstances change towards the end of the series.

The similarities between the shows don’t end there. Even the leading ladies are similar! Sookie and Beth are both beautiful women. They’re blonde, smart, and able to think on their feet. Both are also great supporters of their men, with Sookie helping Bill and Eric using her skills, and Beth helping Mick solve crimes by being an observant reporter and noticing minor details that not everyone would see.

Other similarities between the two women are not quite as pleasant. Sookie and Beth have both survived a lot. Beth was kidnapped as a child, though luckily found and saved, and Sookie lost her parents in a flash flood. Later on, when both women were adults, they both suffered even more loss via murder, Sookie from the loss of her grandmother and coworkers, Beth through the loss of her boss. However, each woman has the strength and fortitude to get back up whenever life trips them up, and that saves both of them numerous times.

Beth and Sookie are incredibly strong emotionally, and neither feels the need to be turned into a vampire. However, their human strength is nothing compared to a vampire‘s strength, which is why they both also get protection of sorts from the friends and allies of their boyfriends, namely Josef and Eric.

Josef and Eric can both be very suave, and they’ve both experienced centuries of history. Eric was a Viking, and Josef was alive to see the French Revolution take place. In many ways, both men are old-fashioned, believing that some of the traditions of their lengthy pasts over current practices, like drinking blood. Eric and Josef are both purists, preferring a direct source for blood, unlike Mick and Bill, both of whom practice modern alternatives (Bill drinks TruBlood, and Mick drinks bags of donor blood).

There are also days where a fan watching either show can alternatively love and hate Josef and Eric. Sometimes, you’re just irritated by how they act, but other days, you see the “mask” each of them wears. An example of this was in Season 2 of True Blood, when viewers were shown Eric‘s deep and abiding love for his maker Godric, then his grief at losing the man who had been there for him for a century. In Moonlight, the example of Josef‘s “mask” being off was an episode where we were introduced to Josef‘s girlfriend, whom he tried to turn. Unfortunately, Josef‘s attempts only brought over an immortally comatose woman. Moments like the ones above, as well as flashbacks for all the characters on both shows, help us see past the “masks” as to what they are: a singular prism through which to see mere facets of the characters.

Both Moonlight and True Blood are strong shows that are easy for the average viewer to feel emotionally connected to. They remind us that even if someone is a vampire (or anything else for that matter), there are still challenges to face in daily life, and sometimes even though immortality is a good thing, there’s more to life than just drudging through it. Besides, nothing is ever what it really seems to be on either show. There’s always something new brewing on the horizon for the characters to deal with.

(Photo credit: IMDb.com)