The ratings for the season 3 premiere of True Detective last Sunday night were low, which has to be disappointing for HBO.
HBO went all-in with the True Detective premiere by adding the short trailer and release date for the final season of Game of Thrones before the episode aired.
Despite that great lead-in, as well as overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics heading into the premiere, the episode’s viewership was down.
According to Deadline, the True Detective season 3 premiere brought in 1.44 million viewers for the episode and that number dropped to 1.19 million for the second episode, which immediately followed it.
Why were the True Detective ratings down?
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The big news to report here is that the number was down from the season 2 premiere, which brought in 3.2 million viewers and 4.3 million for the same-day viewings.
It was also down from the first season, which brought in 2.3 million viewers.
There are a couple of reasons for these results.
The first is that it has been two-and-a-half years since season 2 aired. There was only one year between the first and second season and the quality dropped as a result.
Nic Pizzolatto and HBO wanted to rebound with season 3 and they did so, as the first two episodes were fantastic premium television viewing.
While the delay was all for the better in terms of show quality, the low attention span of today’s viewers is not enough to carry them to still care about a show after almost three years.
Those critically acclaimed shows only brought in 1.5 million and 1.1 million respectively.
Why True Detective season 3 deserves more viewers
With Oscar and Golden Globes winning actor Mahershala Ali in the lead, the third season of True Detective started off with a great story and an interesting non-linear timeline amping up the mystery.
In the premiere, two detectives are called in to investigate the case of two missing children and it ends with them finding the body of one of them. The second episode has them start to break down some clues and investigate possible suspects.
The show takes place between three time periods — the first is when the case occurred, the second is when it was reopened when they learn the missing girl from 1980 is still alive and the third is 2015 when the man detective is being interviewed by a true crime documentarian while clearly suffering from dementia.
Ali was especially great in the first two episodes, as a young detective who wants to crack a case, a veteran detective who is tired and beaten down and as an older man who is haunted by a past that he is slowly forgetting.
Are you watching season 3 of True Detective? What are your thoughts on the story so far? Let us know in the comments below.