There are no two ways about it – “True Detective” Season 2″ was just about the most complicated and difficult to understand installment of any TV series. The season started with great anticipation, riding on the success of Season 1. But midway through, critics and audiences simply gave up on it.
Many felt cheated that a simple cop-killer story was projected as something very mysterious. The characters had no definite arc and were out of sync with the story. The drug cartel shootout and the sex-party scenes were distractions in an already muffled-up screenplay.
Still the “True Detective” brand is too big to be just given up. The series can be revived because every season can have a different story, a fresh new cast and terrific writers to infuse new energy into a lethargic series. It’s plus point is that it does not depend on particular actors, story line or themes.
HBO’s president of programming Michael Lombardo seemed to be positive about a “True Detective” #Season 3 in the near future. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Season 3 is a possibility with Nic Pizzolatto as Nic already has a theme for Season 3.
HBO’s ambitious “True Detective” Season 2 didn’t live up to its stunning predecessor’s glory and most thought that there would be no Season 3. But it seems HBO is not about to shelve the brand and is considering a Season 3.
No series is more familiar with this process than True Detective. Season 1 went down a storm, and generated a ton of social media buzz which helped it grow its audiences as it went on. Season 2 became a phenomenon for entirely different reasons – and although audiences figures declined, social media buzz exploded. Apparently, people love to talk about shows they hate.
We don’t know yet if True Detective will return for #season 3. The show is written entirely by one man, Nic Pizzolatto, so even if he has started writing another chapter of his bleak noir anthology, it could be a while until we see it on screen. Bearing in mind some of the louder criticism season 2 received, let’s take a look at a few of the ways season 3 could reinvent itself.
This is a pretty big one. The first season buried its mystery deep in the wilds of rural Louisiana, whilst the second found misery in the overwhelmingly corrupt city of Vinci, Los Angeles. Both of these locations played a big part in defining the character of their respective seasons, but both felt quintessentially American in their worldview. So maybe it’s time to travel overseas and find a new character in the mafiosa heartlands of Southern Italy or the cocaine empires of Colombia. The United States is a big place, but the rest of the world is a whole lot bigger.
Now I don’t believe for a moment that Pizzolatto would actually do this – he envisaged True Detective as an anthology series with a new storyline each time around – and Rachel McAdams might have her hands full with Doctor Strange.
The rise of social media has proven to be possibly the ultimate double-edged sword for television. Everybody has an opinion, and they’re ready and willing to broadcast it on Twitter whilst the episode goes out. When a show is going down well, positive buzz is generated. But when there are flaws on display, the vultures taking pleasure in picking at them, and the buzz turns negative.
To be fair, this series doesn’t really make fun of True Detective. There’s so much out of whack dialogue in season two, however, that’s it’s almost a shame that it doesn’t. We’ll just have to sit tight and wait for another fan to come along and take care of that. Until then, Awkward Detective is a fine way to pass the time.
In case you don’t keep up to date on the internet shenanigans of True Detective fans, Awkward Detective is a short series of clips taken from the series with dialogue swapped out. It can be hit or miss, but when it hits it highlights the overly serious tone and adds a welcome surreal element. The short series will presumably run through the entire season, but may not be eight episodes long.
The second episode can be found right here. In case you were curious, it’s not necessary to watch any of these in order. Having seen the season, however, would likely increase your enjoyment. You can follow along regularly over at Reddit’s True Detective community.
Let’s be honest: regardless of how you feel about season two of True Detective, there is a lot in there that can be poked fun at. Fortunately we have a new season of Awkward Detective. Awkward Detective, the fan created gif series, has returned to insert inappropriately awkward dialogue into True Detective. The first season got the same treatment, so it’s only fair for season two to get a piece as well.
Read more at True Detective’s Awkward Detective Returns
Warning: Spoilers for Season 2 of True Detective Ahead
Season 2 of True Detective was already at a disadvantage by the end of the first season. It was so good that there was no way a second season could top it. The first season took HBO by storm, gathering both a huge audience and glowing critical #reviews. The show became so popular that the first season finale crashed HBO Go when it was released, a feat thought only accomplishable by Game of Thrones. When the second season was announced, fans were cautiously excited. Could creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto possibly come up with a story as compelling and characters as memorable? A star-studded cast and a plot that promised to involve more conspiracies and twists had fans and critics drooling.
While season 2 was chock-full of subplots, murders, and tortured characters, it lacked Season 1’s elegant simplicity and style. For starters, the show’s number of lead characters doubled from two to four between seasons. Credit has to be given to Pizzolatto for trying to expand the show and refusing to retread what made Season 1 so memorable. His attempt to bring the viewer something new was well-intentioned, but the season soon collapsed under its own weight.
Colin Farrell’s Ray Velcoro was arguably the season’s best character. Farrell expertly showed the effects of Velcoro’s tortured past on his ever-worsening present–his past relationship with his family weighs on the character throughout the season. The subplot involving his divorce and the fight for custody of his son was effectively conveyed through Farrell’s performance, and was brought to a satisfying conclusion. In the end, Velcoro’s love for his son is what causes his flight into the mountains and his eventual death. Perhaps it was the character’s simplicity that made him the most relatable: it was easy to understand Velcoro’s motivations (trying to find the man who raped his wife), and his relationship with his son was well-written and well-acted (the final shot of the audio file failing to upload was heartbreaking).
Vince Vaughn’s Frank Semyon met a fate as terrible as Velcoro’s, but his character did not garner the same empathy from the audience. The casting of Vaughn was a bold move: Vaughn is known mostly for his comedic turns in movies like Wedding Crashers, and fans were understandably apprehensive when his role in the far more serious True Detective was announced. Fortunately, Vaughn knocks it out of the park in Season 2. Unfortunately, the writing of Vaughn’s character does not. Frank’s storyline gets roped into the central murder mystery, and becomes so convoluted and complicated that it was nearly impossible to follow. There were simply too many subplots in the air for Vaughn to handle: Frank’s relationship with (the woefully underused) Kelly Reilly, the Mexicans running girls through his clubs, his relationship with the murdered Caspere, his relationship with Osip, etc. Vaughn’s valiant efforts are undermined by tangled storylines and Pizzolatto’s insistence on giving Frank as many monologues as possible, to the point where they become tiresome (and none give the viewer lines anywhere near as memorable as McConaughey’s “time is a flat circle” ramble). By the time Frank’s death comes around, the viewer feels sorry for the character, but can’t help wondering exactly what happened to bring the story to that point.
One of the few criticisms of Season 1 was its portrayal of female characters. Pizzolatto did his best to remedy this flaw by creating Rachael McAdams’ character, Bezzerides. McAdams portrayed Bezzerides as a hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners type of cop who gets roped into the murder investigation that forms the centerpiece for the season. McAdams does more than a serviceable job, as her performance was highlighted by her entrance into the orgy in Episode 6 and the resulting trauma from that experience. Bezzerides’ character is Pizzolatto’s writing at some of its finest, as her tortured past is slowly revealed throughout the season. The only issue is her rushed romance with Velcoro: By the end of the season, it felt unearned, tacked on only to give the characters an emotional arc to resolve.
Finally, Taylor Kitsch’s Woodrugh got the short end of the stick, as his character was killed off suddenly and disappointingly at the end of the penultimate episode. Kitsch does his best with what he is given, but Woodrugh’s character is derailed by a number of pointless subplots, such as his military past, the incriminating photos, and his toxic relationship with both his mother and his girlfriend. All of these are swept away with his death, and his character feels like wasted space by the time the finale rolls around. It was time, and writing, that could have been better spent developing another character further or trying to work out the rest of the convoluted story.
The season, as a whole, can’t help but feel as if it was overstuffed with everything. Trying to decipher the story was incredibly difficult to do, and the number of characters became overwhelming. Season 1’s simplicity allowed for symbolism to flourish, and the small allusions (the Yellow King, anyone?) in the background were what drove the fan frenzy over the show. The viewer spends so much time during Season 2 trying to decipher exactly what is happening that there’s no time to look for smaller details that Pizzolatto tried to fit in.
Another area where the season falters is in its direction. The first season benefitted from sublime directing at the hands of Cary Fukunaga, who directed all eight episodes. The second season went through a litany of directors, none of whom differentiated themselves in any way. That insane tracking shot? Nothing in the second season even comes close. A shootout at the end of the fourth episode is intensely filmed and edited, but its ramifications to the plot are never fully felt, and it just ends up feeling a little too generic. Fukunaga was also a master of silence: The long car rides in the first season are brilliantly constructed to demonstrate the tension between Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson’s characters, as Fukunaga’s direction allowed for silences to build the tension. His directing also made a lot of Pizzolatto’s terrible speechifying of the dialogue bearable. The directing of the second season cannot elevate scripts that really struggle at times to give the characters decent-sounding dialogue. There are no great visuals to distract from the dialogue. Yes, the establishing shots of the tangled freeways of California make for an interesting visual metaphor for the intersecting nature of the story, but the they tirequickly. There were some genuinely cringe-worthy moments, highlighted by Vince Vaughn’s confusing adage, “Never do anything out of hunger. Not even eating.” Pizzolatto has proven himself to be an excellent writer when it comes to ideas, but his execution fell flat too often.
While True Detective’s second season was disappointing, there was some enjoyment to be had. Some of the characters were extremely well-written with tragic arcs, and there are no weak links in the cast. Certain set-pieces, such as the “Vinci Massacre,” the orgy, or the showdown in the train station were intense to behold. Moreover, writer and creator Nic Pizzolatto must be commended for his efforts to differentiate the two seasons. Where Season 1 had an optimistic ending, Season 2’s is an extreme downer. Unfortunately, the season’s overly-complicated storyline bogs down the entire show, and the viewer is left more confused than amazed. Should the series be greenlit for another season, Pizzolatto would be wise to bring on some help in the creative process. Audiences have seen the greatness the show can achieve— now it is time to reel the creator in and discover exactly how to make the next season the show’s best.
“I work very closely with Nic. He will give me the backstory or additional information to help me flesh out the props, and he’s the final word on what we will use. Luckily, he always knows exactly what he wants and is able to pass that information on quickly and easily. Nic has laid the groundwork with the narrative in the script and its up to me to help move that forward with my props.”
“I had to become Cohle and lock myself in that storage locker for about three days to create the space. I had spent weeks researching and creating every piece of paper that you see in that room. It was the most difficult set, but also my best.”
In what was an unprecedented move at the time, a few weeks back True Detective opened up its doors to fan questions. These questions could be submitted through HBO’s HBO Connect website, a currently in beta portal that presumably will offer fans the chance to “connect” with the creators behind various HBO shows. True Detective’s creator Nic Pizzolatto also took questions on HBO Connect not too long ago, in what has turned out to be one of his best and most candid interviews.
Lynda Reiss, True Detective’s Propmaster, has taken the time to answer those submitted questions. Once again, it’s a surprisingly pleasant and open experience. When asked what the hardest prop to design was, Reiss lists the nail gun from season two. It’s interesting how such a common item could turn out to be a bit of a problem for a prop designer.
“I did a lot of research into the knives and knife fighting. We took a while to decide on which knife discipline Ani would follow, with input from [showrunner] Nic [Pizzolatto] and the knife trainer. Even though it wasn’t scripted, I found the belt knife and took it to Nic and Alix [Friedberg], the costume designer. They both loved it, and we used it in the show…One of my assistants is a knife fighter, and he had a great time aging him up. We had training knives, rubber knives and a knife for Ani’s mom up on her knife board.”
Curated from True Detective Propmaster, Lynda Reiss, Does Fan Q&A
It’s great to see the fanbase ready to embrace True Detective season three after season two received a bit of beating from critics. Although it has not yet officially been renewed for a third reason, it is pretty much a forgone conclusion. Even though True Detective will be keeping the same creative team — it’s unlikely that Nic Pizzolatto will hire a writing team — season three will be another reset.
Didn’t like some aspects of season two? True Detective season three may be able to fix that. That’s part of what makes this show so interesting to watch and track. As a true anthology series, each season is different. It inevitably means far more work for those behind the scenes, but the fans at least get something new each time.
We don’t have many rumors to go on just yet, but that will change given more time. Part of the fun of going into a new season is looking at all the potential casting and directing choices out there. Honestly, though, we’re not sure that any can top the star power of the durian fruit. If you have any better suggestions, you’re more than welcome to share.
We’re still trying to fully digest True Detective season two, but many fans on social media have made it perfectly clear that they’re ready move to move on. Using the hashtag “TrueDetectiveseason3″ on Twitter shows an impressive amount of fans suggesting leads for True Detective season three. There are a mix of serious and joke suggestions, our favorite being “Owen Wilson and a durian.”
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It starts off with Leonard Cohen’s “Nevermind,” which is the theme to season two. The next six songs are all from season two as well, including the excellent Nick Cave track that plays during the first episode credits. Also included are all the Lera Lynn songs that can be heard sprinkled throughout True Detective’s controversial second season.
This is broken up by a haunting song by John Paul White, but it fits right in with Lera Lynn’s stark sounds. Lera Lynn by far gets the most time here, with a whopping five songs out of fourteen. It’s a good things True Detective fans are happy with her contribution to season two.
Of course, from season one we have the opening “Far From Any Road” by The Handsome Family and then a rendition of “The Angry River” by S.I Istwa and Father John Misty. The highlights, by far, are the songs from season two. This is, of course, by design, as almost nothing else from season one is present.
What’s missing, and is really what True Detective fans were after from a #soundtrack release, is the entire score. None of T. Bone Burnett’s score is present, making this feel more like a standard film soundtrack filled with insert songs. Although many of these songs were written for True Detective, it doesn’t feel like we’re getting the entire picture. Because we’re not.
A few days ago, HBO finally got around to releasing the soundtrack to True Detective. The release covers both seasons, but heavily favors the second. The artwork doesn’t even have a hint of True Detective season one anywhere on it. Fans have been practically begging HBO to release a soundtrack for well over a year, but it looks like this is as close as we’re going to get.
Curated from Review: The True Detective Soundtrack (Finally!)
Artists featured on the #soundtrack include Bob Dylan, Lera Lynn, The Handsome Family and Leonard Cohen, whose single “Nevermind” plays during the season 2 opening credits.
There’s no word yet on whether or not the crime anthology drama has been renewed for a third season or cancelled. Season 2 featured Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch as members of California law enforcement and Vince Vaughn as a crooked businessman with a connection to a murder victim.
Season 2 received a heavy amount of criticism. A review on Business Insider called the series “lumbering and dull” and stated that it simply isn’t a good show. The past season averaged 61% on Metacritic compared to an average rating of 87% for season 1.
HBO’s programming chief Michael Lombardo defended the show and its writer, Nic Pizzolatto. He said, “I think Nic Pizzolatto is one of the best writers working in television and motion pictures today … I’m enormously proud of [the show]. If [Nic] wanted to do another season, I told him our door is open. I would love to do another season with him. I think he is a spectacular writer.”
The soundtrack for HBO’s “True Detective” has finally been released. Until now, fans could only find the songs via Internet searches and individually buying the tracks, but now, #music from season 1 and 2 is available on a 14-track album downloadable on iTunes.
The first season was outstanding. Right in the middle of Matthew McConaughey’s reimagining of his career, he is at the top of his game as Det. Rust Cohle, partnered alongside Woody Harrelson’s Det. Marty Hart.
It also doesn’t help that the second season would’ve been awful whether or not the incredible first season existed. People kept saying the second season “has to get better” after each episode. There were a couple episodes toward the middle that were OK, but the finale might have been the worst episode of the season.
The main problem with the second season is the show got lost in the details. Instead of two protagonists, there were four, and unpacking their backstories was a marathon instead of a sprint. There was so much going on that it was hard to truly care about any of the characters.
The storytelling was painful, the dialogue was cringe-worthy, and the acting, for the most part, was horrendous. Vince Vaughn is at his absolute worse as gangster Frank Semyon, and though it pains me to say it, so is #Colin Farrell as the easily corrupted Det. Ray Velcoro. #Taylor Kitsch (a.k.a. Tim Riggins in “Friday Night Lights”) is also wholly missable as a California state police officer, Paul Woodrugh. Rachel McAdams rounds out the cast as Det. Ani Bezzerides, who is perhaps the most interesting of the bunch, but her scenes sometimes feel like an afterthought with everything going on with the male leads.
Yes, it’s supposed to be one of those shows like “American Horror Story” where each season stands on its own with a new set of characters, so you shouldn’t jump to compare the first two seasons of “#True Detective,” but no one can realistically avoid that.