So I usually try to address TV premieres very soon after the original air date, but I’m a little late on this one…heck, it premiered a month ago; “late” is putting it politely. Basically, I hadn’t even heard about this show until I started seeing positive reviews for it, and now that I finally decided to check it out, here we are—four episodes in. Whoops. Haha. But I figure there’ve gotta be other folks like me out there who are tardy to the party, so for those people and for anyone else interested, here are the particulars of HBO’s True Detective.
What I liked:
- The cool opening sequence. HBO is always great about picking the perfect songs/images to accompany the opening credits. No exception here.
- Woody Harrelson. Personally, I think the guy’s great, and I’ve loved him in everything I’ve seen him in. Here he plays likeable Louisiana detective Martin Hart—a character in stark contrast to his somewhat odd partner, played by…
- Matthew McConaughey. I’m more used to McConaughey in lighthearted roles (I haven’t seen Mud or Dallas Buyers Club), so it’s an adjustment to see him as Rust Cohle, an intense, overly dedicated detective who seems to live in his own headspace. But the character is fascinating, and McConaughey’s performance is brilliant.
- The relationship between Hart and Cohle. It’s almost like a very dark Watson-Holmes relationship—Hart is the family guy who’s good with people while Cohle is more aloof, yet brilliant and even a little philosophical. However, it’s a very tense partnership, and I’m interested to see how it evolves as they continue working together.
- The two time periods. Most of the action involves a peculiar murder in 1995, but woven into the story are 2012 interviews with Hart and Cohle, who are apparently no longer partners at this point (which ought to be an interesting story). At the end of the episode, the detectives interviewing them reveal an intriguing tidbit that tie the two time periods together and leave room for plenty of questions.
- This show made me want to keep watching. It’s engrossing, and I already can’t wait to see what happens next.
What I didn’t like:
- True Detective is a very dark, heavy show. Honestly, the first episode is so well done that this aspect didn’t bother me so much, but I’m listing it under “didn’t like” because the heaviness might make it less accessible to some people. You may have to be in the right mood before diving into this one.
- Cohle is brilliant and fascinating, but he’s also kind of an a-hole—especially in the 2012 scenes. Let’s just say he has some problems. If you’re not keen on anti-heroes, you might not be keen on Cohle.
- So this episode involves a human corpse with antlers attached to it, and because of those antlers I simply could not stop thinking about another excellent crime drama, Hannibal. The two shows are very different, of course, but Hannibal also utilizes antlers and dead bodies, which makes the corpse in this episode seem a tiny bit derivative.
- I was under the impression that Hart was a nice guy until…well, I won’t say. You might not even catch it if you watch the episode, but I did. He’s not as squeaky clean as you might think, which is kind of shame. Cohle has enough problems—can’t Hart just be okay?!
The Potential: It seems a bit silly to assess the potential when this show is four episodes in and receiving so much acclaim…Nonetheless, True Detective’s potential is huge. There are already lots of interesting threads attached to a compelling story, and the two lead actors are absolutely great. Personally, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
My Grade: A
How about it, True Detective fans? Do I have lots to look forward to? Do you like what the show has done so far? Also, I’ve been meaning to look this up, but I’ll just be lazy and ask: is this just a miniseries, or are they hoping to have more seasons? Anyway, DON’T FORGET: tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Go buy chocolates or flowers or something for a person you like/love/tolerate. Or buy yourself a pint of ice cream and catch up on Netflix. No shame. Personally, I plan to do something similar to the latter. Just replace “a pint of ice cream” with “a heap of McDonald’s French fries” and replace “catch up on Netflix” with “pretend to be Batman while playing Arkham City.” …Don’t judge me.