Television-Induced-Depression always sets in when the seasons change; the shows you have been watching pack up their bags and disappear for months so that they can go out and make another season, so you’re stuck with either A) watching whatever takes the time slot, or B) finding a new show that you could get into.
Unfortunately the last two weeks saw the end of everything. And I mean, everything.
It was time to pick up a new show. Easy peasy. I chose to focus on one that I’d heard was good from “retired” blog poster Lee Powers.
One that was only eight episodes long.
Now, I’m going to make this as least-spoilery as possible, which is good because that means it will be short. Also, there is no way you could possibly care about my opinion — the fuck do I know? Seriously.
True Detective gets a lot of hailing. It deserves most of it. Matthew McCoughna–nevergonnaspellthatright delivers a fine performance. He steals the show. Damn if he hadn’t already impressed me in Dallas Buyer’s. This is really the same guy who did Fool’s Gold. Seriously? McConaughey?
The individual characters’ backstories really make you “get” these characters. This isn’t Riggs and Murtaugh, nor Lowrey and Burnett. It is more like Friday and Streebek.
But it’s Friday and Streebek….meet MURDER and CULTS.
If any crime show’s primary investigation draws inspiration or borrows from a real life crime, we understand if the writer tries to put the pieces together if there was originally no closure, like Zodiac or Black Dahlia.
The issue that I have with crime drama is this — When you are writing a show about cops, and you are the writer you have total control of the case and the crime. And the crime has to make sense first.
To all the writers: Write the crime down first. Every detail.
This isn’t something anyone needs to see, but this is your keystone where you will work backward from. Plot it out. Draw those connections thoroughly. Make it coherent so that the casework follows a logical process.
It is crazy to put that much forethought into it, but the crime is the bedrock. You can throw in as many red herrings as you want, and misdirect the hell out of us, but if the payoff isn’t worth it, or coherent, or chalked up to deus ex machina, then we come away feeling very dissatisfied, like this guy’s review of the show, The Killing.
True Detective opens by throwing you all sorts of odd connections and red herrings. It doesn’t play in the same realm as The Unanswerables. For that I am grateful. I paid attention. I needed subtitles more often than not, because I suck at recognizing spoken names, but I didn’t think the actual case was that gripping.
As I said, the show is framed very well, but by the end I feel as though the primary case was a chain with few links, but many were inserted to pad it out and misdirect us, losing focus on the original investigation.
I don’t believe that the show was meant to be a “character study.” It is a story about two partners and how their lives intertwine and intersect. The case that unites them has to be stronger than whatever tangents these characters go on. If reading The Yellow King (a book that the show repeatedly references) was supposed to be the homework then I’m going to level with you — I didn’t do my homework. Make next season about Candide and then we’ll talk.
But the reveal — that “Wham!”-moment where the curtain pulls back to reveal the solution to the puzzle — didn’t blow my mind. My standards aren’t too high, but True Detective‘s Anagnorisis isn’t nearly as rewarding as, say, My Cousin Vinny on the gratification scale.
Perhaps half the fun of the show was the patience of waiting week-to-week, but because I blitzed through all eight episodes in one weekend maybe I wasn’t as invested enough. I didn’t come up with theories as many viewers might have on the journey. Seeing the last episode was only so far down the episode list, I didn’t feel compelled to. HBO Go is such a convenience when it isn’t endlessly buffering.
But binging vs the ride-along is a conversation for another day.
In the end I’m happy I saw True Detective. Just keep your expectations low on the crime stuff and enjoy the character stuff.
Also, enjoy this stuff:
What are the odds that ^that picture becomes the article thumbnail when this gets posted on Facebook?