Has HBO Quietly Canceled ‘True Detective’?


A current HBO GO advertisement promotes original programming both past and present, utilizing a unique vocabulary for each that may give viewers a clue to ‘True Detective’s’ future on the network.


A quick Google of True Detective shows that there seems to be a never ending supply of rumors regarding the once celebrated then almost universally panned HBO series. But keen viewers of HBO GO’s pre-show advertising may have picked up on a subtle hint regarding the future of the show at the network.

 Putting aside for a moment the fact that showing commercials before programming on a pay-to-view service is insane, the HBO GO ad in questions consists of a clip show featuring various original series and feature films the network has available. Movies such as San Andreas, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Jurassic World pass by without commentary.

However, whenever an HBO Original Series is previewed, it’s accompanied by the phrase “Every Episode.” You may think that there is nothing particularly exciting about that and you’re right – although I think being generally excited about Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley is a healthy and intelligent way to go about your day.

The key here, however, is that all of these shows featured in our handy little illustration above are still on the air and still airing new episodes. I believe there may be more than one promo and that another may feature other popular HBO shows such as Last Week Tonight and Girls, but the wording remains the same, “Every Episode.”

 Yet when HBO spotlights one of its former glories we find a different headline cozying up over the title, “The Complete Series.” Boardwalk Empire, Rome and Deadwood are all dead and gone (though those wonderful, hopeful Deadwood movie rumors keep gloriously circulating) and so their bits of the promo are presented in a different way to the casual viewer.



Bringing us to the main point. When HBO shows True Detective it doesn’t carry the “This show is still alive!” bit of advertising accentuation as the others with “Every Episode.” Instead, the once acclaimed series carries the mournful “Let it go you poor damned fans” banner of “The Complete Series.”


Is this jumping the gun? Is this looking too deeply into what may just amount to some poor copywriting from HBO’s advertising department? Not necessarily. Consider that the hand of content creation commonly has no idea what the hand of advertising is up to. A Rey action figure spoiled plot points from The Force Awakens before the film’s release. Also this thing happens with comic book companies all the time.

 While it’s certainly possible that HBO meant for the word “Series” to be read in the British colloquial meaning (where they refer to each season of a show as a “series”) it is doubtful that there are enough anglophiles in positions of power at the network to make such a bold move. Even taking into account that the show is an anthology show, whereby it could be assumed that the network meant each “season” is a complete “series” requires a sizable leap of disbelief. That would really be asking the casual viewer to do a lot of mental math to piece that one together. Occam’s razor says that “The Complete Series” is the tag for shows that have finished their productions and “Every Episode” belongs to those with a future.

 If it’s true that HBO has already dropped the axe on True Detective then what are they waiting for? Maybe the network’s stock gets a bump every time a new batch of True Detective rumors hit the web. Maybe they’ve made their decision but are waiting for the right moment to break the “bad” news, wherein they could buffer it with good news about, let’s hope against hope, the return of Deadwood?