We get it, HBO. The third season of True Blood premieres Sunday, June 13 and your marketing department is doing its best to make sure everyone who enjoys programs with premises based around mythological creatures and at least one softcore sex scene per episode tunes in. Your crew did an amazing job promoting the series last year. That “Gawker buys Blood Copy” campaign was genius. It was a brazen attempt to shake up the intersection of advertising and journalism and got you a ton of press in the process. But given all the heat you took, I can understand wanting to tone it down and rely on the basics of billboards, bus ads, and minisodes. The only problem with that tactic is your minisodes suck.
You’re promoting your weekly, six-episode A Drop of True Blood series as a way to lead viewers into the new season before the premiere. You’re not shy about saying all the minisodes are written by showrunner Alan Ball and feature Alexander Skarsgard, Anna Paquin, and the rest of the main True Blood cast. But let’s be honest. The minisodes have very little to do with season three. And the reason you’re able to say they’re written by Ball and star all familiar faces is because they’re mostly likely deleted scenes that were only picked up off the cutting room floor when an intern found an opportunity to put them online.
HBO, it’s totally okay if you want to throw deleted scenes on the web, but then let’s call them “deleted scenes.” What you’re doing now is disrespectful to your fans, and we deserve some respect. Sure, we complained about the make-up you and Ball borrowed from a local elementary school’s Halloween carnival for the Six Feet Under series finale, but not too much. You need to treat us better.
Take some tips from Showtime. University of Andy and Dexter: Early Cuts are online series that compliment their broadcast television shows, but could stand alone without them. When hardcore True Blood fans are downing bottles of your 99 calorie, blood orange flavored, carbonated beverage in between seasons, you should give them something better to watch than scenes that should’ve probably never seen the light of day.