Can you believe we’re already half way through the year? A few more months and it’ll be that time when Calendar Clubs start popping up, and book stores will start putting out calendars for 2013. Now that I’ve owned a few, I thought I’d give you my thoughts so that for those of you who haven’t purchased one before can decide if 2013 is the year that you’ll take the plunge.

First, the good:

– Given that a lot of True Blood merchandise can often be priced a bit higher than what you might expect for it, the calendar is competitively priced at $13.99. Plus, those with patience can get them for less as they go on sale. Wait til Christmas and you can get anywhere from 40%-50% off making this a good deal.

– The production quality of the calendars is good: the calendar is on the larger side and made on heavy card stock.

The neutral:

– Pictures are always a season behind. That mean for the 2013 calendar you can expect to see Marnie, but no Roman (sorry Chris Meloni fans!). This seems to occur across various shows, so I have a feeling this is simply the result of the production schedule. Still, it can be a disappointment if you’re expecting to see a certain season-specific character appear.

The bad:

– I can’t help but shake the feeling that HBO doesn’t put in much effort when it comes to the calendars. I say this because not only are the calenders made with what essentially screen caps (stills from an episode), but they often don’t even choose flattering pictures of the given actors. To whit, here are the six of the twelve months of this year’s calendar:

Jessica, and to a lesser extent Sam look more than a little off in their shots. I find it difficult to believe they couldn’t have found a better picture to use. I will say that this years calendar is an improvement – for 2011’s “Men of True Blood Calendar” they actually cropped pictures so everything was in an odd letter box format. Not appealing at all! Now, I don’t blame True Blood for going the screen cap route – they’re far from the only show that has done so, but for a company that’s so promotion driven it just seems odd that they can’t do more. And more can certainly be done. Below is a picture from the last calendar that Heroes put out before it was ultimately cancelled:

See the difference there? The main photo is a promotion-quality photo (part of me wants to say the shoot was done specifically for the calendar, but don’t quote me on that), the smaller photo is a screen cap but one well chosen that fits with the theme. Speaking off, each page feels like a page out of a comic book, appropriate given the nature of the show. They even go so far as to give you information about the character, in this case his name, his known aliases, powers, previous jobs and relationships. In short, it’s obvious that a fair amount of thought and effort was put into the production of it and at at the same price price point . When I compare the two, I just can’t help but feel that there is no comparison to be made and it makes me wonder why HBO couldn’t do more when it’s clear they can do amazing things when they try.

Am I going to buy the 2013 edition? Maybe. I bought the 2012 version because I couldn’t find anything else to grab my interest. Whether I’ll buy this year’s version will again likely depend on whether anything else captures my eye. I’d suggest that you do the same. Otherwise, if you’re going to buy it regardless, wait until it’s on sale. HBO can do better. Let’s encourage them to try.