By James Hancock August 10th, 2015
(this post contains some spoilers)
Season 2 of ‘True Detective’ is now in our rear view mirror and will most likely go down in history as a cautionary tale about how to turn one of the most beloved shows in television history into one of the most ridiculed. Show creator Nic Pizzolatto has redefined the term sophomore slump for a new generation by transforming one of HBO’s hottest properties in years into an industry-wide joke. For the past two months the internet has been flooded with condemnations of this season and I agree with just about every withering review I’ve read. Overall the show was grim to the point of self-parody featuring dialogue that often sounded like a child overusing bad language that he or she just learned but do not yet fully understand. Every episode showcased endless exposition sequences of characters discussing a plot that nobody really cared about. Occasionally we’d get a whiff of sex and violence to keep us on the hook until the next episode. Structurally the show was a total mess and I often felt as if Vince Vaughan’s storyline could have been removed from the show entirely without harming the show one bit. I think Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams did their best to salvage a bad situation but in the writer-driven medium of television the stars can not do all the heavy lifting themselves. **spoiler alert** Most of the characters were bumped off violently in the last two episodes in scenes so devoid of impact that I was almost startled by how little I cared about them. So why stick with the show stubbornly through 8 episodes? Like many I was fascinated with watching a massive train wreck in slow motion but the naive side of me kept hoping that show would turn around. I thought season 1 of ‘True Detective’ was easily one of the greatest seasons of television I’ve ever seen. To see such a dramatic shift in quality in Pizzolatto’s writing from one season to the next was in a strange way a show unto itself to see just how far the show would self-destruct. My feelings about Season 1 have not changed. I think it is arguably the best thing HBO has ever produced. Many other viewers must feel the same way in that season 2 averaged about 12 million viewers per episode according to HBO so chances are very high, one way or another, that season 3 of ‘True Detective’ will eventually be coming our way. Barring some massive shake up in the creators behind the show, next time I think I’ll pass.
This past weekend was full of disappointments from the ‘Omega Sanction’ episode of ‘True Detective’ to Fox’s flop of epic proportions, ‘Fantastic Four’ (see my review here). But there was one unexpected silver lining. In an upcoming episode of our podcast Wrong Reel, we will be reviewing ‘Mr. Robot’, a show I’ve been hearing about but ignoring because in my ignorance I thought the name sounded silly. If I had not been so completely ensnared by the show I might have spent the time watching the last seven episodes slapping myself in the face for my stupidity. ‘Mr. Robot’ completely kicks ass and is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on television. It is a basically a superhero vigilante show where the central character has no powers but is instead a brilliant hacker. I want to save my thoughts for the episode but what I will say is that for months I have been desperate to find a show that I could get completely addicted to and it is a relief that I have finally found one. So if you’re on the fence about whether or not to invest your time in Season 2 of ‘True Detective’ I implore you to leave it alone. Your time would be much better spent indulging in ‘Mr. Robot’ one of the most original shows I have ever seen. Enjoy.
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