Now that Charlaine Harris has closed the door on the Sookie Stackhouse books there is something that we need to address. No, not the ending. If you're bitching about that then frankly you didn't understand the series in the first place. No, it's the fact that some of True Blood is actually better than in the books.
Oh don't get me wrong, some of it is worse. I'm never really going to get behind Sam Trammel's Sam Merlotte. He's a great actor, but the character he plays is nothing like in the books and not in a good way. Alcide is also extremely unlikeable, and fond as I am of Kristin Bauer van Straten the fact that her Pam is no friend of Sookie's ruins some of my favorite scenes.
However, there are five characters that have only improved for being played differently on the show. Now we can enjoy them with no guilt.
Tara: In the books, Tara is barely a character. She's Sookie's best friend for sure, but the only reason we ever know that is because we're told that fact. Mostly she's a screw-up that manages to land herself in all kinds of outlandish trouble, only to be glumly saved from herself by the end.
The television Tara is a presence. She's got depth and grit, and while I think her becoming a vampire was a little ridiculous it's not outside the realm of her character arc. She's a train wreck most of the time, but in that she tends to serve as a dark mirror to Sookie's own existence, like Faith did to Buffy on BTVS.
Lafayette: In the books, Lafayette may as well not even exist. His character doesn't even survive the first book, and his death's only real purpose is to set up a long running joke about the disposability of Merlotte's employees.
In the show he's a scene-stopper. At times Nelsan Ellis plays his flamboyantness to the point of parody, but just the AIDS burger scene alone makes him an unforgettable force. As a drug dealer, a gay man in the south, and a meddler in the affairs of the witches it's hard to believe he's survived six seasons, which is proof enough to the strength of the role.