See also: 10 TV Shows That Should Be Canceled
In season one of the TV show, we got to meet Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress at Merlotte's in fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana. We find out later on that Sookie is also part faerie, which explains some of her (borderline) super powers. Anna Paquin, who won on Oscar at age 11 for her supporting role in The Piano, was easy to root for in season one as the perky social outcast who decides to hook up with vampire Bill Compton (Paquin's real life hubby, Steven Moyer). All hell breaks loose, of course, and folks start (screwing and) dying right and left.
The main storyline followed the murders happening in Bon Temps, as it did in the first book (Dead Until Dark, 2001) but several characters were either created for TV or had their roles expanded on the show. Tara, for example, is merely a bit character in the first book and has very little presence at all until book three, and even that is only, again, a small part. The TV show needed another strong female character, so Tara (played by Rutina Wesley) was transformed into a major player as Sookie's best friend. The baby vamp, Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) was not in the books at all, but I'm guessing HBO must have wanted another attractive young lady in the cast, so poof, let's make a vampire. Book purists be damned.
After a slow start, momentum picked up for the show, and quickly True Blood was on its way to being one of the more popular HBO series. It was bloody, it was sexy, and it had vampires and shape shifters and tits. It also had a fantastic opening sequence that was hard to take your eyes off of, at least until the 10th time or so that you saw it. It spawned a whole new genre of supernatural TV shows that have followed in its path, but as the seasons wore on, it started to become almost a parody of itself.