‘True Detective’ Season 2: New cast, setting, same grim self-seriousness

November 3, 2013 – 04:22 pm

We could all use a little distance from “True Detective’s” first season. Perhaps you found the HBO series to be the most brilliant TV-watching experience you’ve had in some time. Others (including me) couldn’t help but notice that, in spite of some good acting and impressive technical moves, “True Detective” had some undermining flaws, particularly when it came to the writing.

Hank Stuever has been The Post's TV critic since 2009. He joined the paper in 1999 as a writer for the Style section, where he has covered an array of popular (and unpopular) culture across the nation. View Archive

By the time it reached its slightly anticlimactic eighth-episode finale, “True Detective” functioned almost like a test of the senses: In the show’s dialogue, fans heard an elevated, poetic form; others heard one ridiculous clunker after another. Some were enthralled; others were bored. You raved; I sighed. And Matthew McConaughey, who turned in such a memorable performance as Detective Rust Cohle in Season 1, collected his trophies and was last seen murmuring to himself behind the wheel of a new Lincoln.

More than a year later, as promised, creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto has relocated “True Detective’s” setting from Louisiana to Southern California and, in Sunday’s premiere, readies us for a different mystery that involves a trio of detectives who are just as haunted and damaged (perhaps even more so) than either McConaughey’s Cohle or Woody Harrelson’s Detective Marty Hart.

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It’s clear from the first new episode (there are eight again this season) that “True Detective” is taking full advantage of the opportunity provided by the show’s anthology format to move on and remedy some of Season 1’s problems — or, at the very least, head some of its critics off at the pass. The anthology concept can work wonders when it comes to contained stories; FX’s “American Horror Story” sets a refreshing example, adding to it by drawing on a repertoire of players. Anthology can reward devotees with a familiar style and vibe while enticing other viewers to give the show another shot. More TV dramas ought to consider it.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

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  • avatar What 1993 detective series was cancelled after one episode?
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