Here's the thing: I don't like vampires. I'm not interested in stories or movies about vampires. I have, nonetheless, developed a habit of paying attention to shows about women who are in love with vampires, having been sucked (har!) into the genre because Buffy the Vampire Slayer was so good.
I understand that Season II of True Blood starts tonight. If I had HBO I would probably watch it. I'm about half way through Season I on dvd, and I like it well enough to keep going. Before starting the show, I read Dead Until Dark, the first novel in Charlaine Harris's series about southern vampires, also known as the Sookie Stackhouse books.
I admit I paid attention to True Blood only because I felt obligated to do so, given that I write about Buffy and that I'm going to write about the loathsome Twilight series. But it's... interesting. I'm interested. Dead Until Dark was about 50 million times better than Twilight, on every level: better prose, stronger character development, more realistic attraction between the main characters, and WAY more compelling supporting characters. (Though one of the nice things the TV show has done is make those supporting characters even more compelling--I didn't realize how much the story needed more from Tara and Lafayette until I saw more of them.)
True Blood isn't as good as Buffy, at least not so far, but it sure as hell doesn't suck. (Well, OK, it sucks in the vampire way. It doesn't suck in the bad way, of, you know, sucking something besides blood from a jugular vein.) But despite the fact that both shows focus on pretty young blonde human females with supernatural abilities who fall in love with vampires over a century old, they're so different that they're hard to compare.
I started to provide some background and analysis of TB, but also started worrying about spoilers, since I know I have quite a few readers in Europe where the show has yet to air, and besides, if you really want to know about the show, there are websites that already contain more information can I could provide. So I'm just going to make a few non-spoiler observations.