Show Time: True Detective (Review)

A couple of years ago, True Detective would have been an absolute must watch from me. I would’ve written probably one paragraph asking you why you hadn’t seen it already. In fact, this is still the case. Well, it’s the case for season one. Season two is an entirely different mess. We’ll be tackling both in today’s Show Time, and we’ll be offering minimal spoilers. For those who don’t know, True Detective is an episodic buddy cop drama that shows several big name actors playing these cop roles at a time. In the case of the second season, one of them also played  suspect. Each side shows a different take on the tale, and eventually the threads all tie together.

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To start, we’ll be talking about the first season. Starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson side by side, the two play detectives Rust Cole and Marty Hart. Marty is a detective who just wants to play by the rules, and have sex with mistresses, then pretending that he’s a fantastic husband and father. On the other hand, you have an outside the lines Rust Cole who has spent too long undercover, and is totally out of whack. It’s hilarious how stereotypical that sounds…but the two are so much more.

The entire first season follows the chase of the Yellow King. The Yellow King is a horrific serial killer that is probably one of the most horrifying murderers they’ve shown outside of Hannibal. On top of this, the two must also deal with their own lives and moralities. I have to say that True Detective’s first season is one of the best shot shows of all time. I still remember this one tracking shot with Rust and Marty in which Marty had to pick Rust up in a car while he was carrying a perp that was one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve ever seen. The first season of the show has won so many awards, for good reason.

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Then…we get to Season 2. Season 2 is just…just god awful. I can’t believe how bad this actually is. Just when you think there are going to be redeeming moments, the show manages to destroy your hopes. Here, we have a culmination of Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachael McAdams, and Taylor Kitner. It was found out after the fact that studio interference caused a huge amount of the production stress, and it definitely shows.

Basically, the second season takes place in California. Everything begins when “bad cop with a shady past” Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitner) finds the treasurer of Ventura County with his eyes burnt out. From there, the whole plot devolves into a rambling, dis-ambiguous jumble of character stereotypes like: “male character is scared of being gay” to “bad cop wants to be good but has been bad for so long, and he tries to redeem himself” and let’s not forget “morally ambiguous good cop who has a bad history is a strong feminine lead but is actually a stereotype of strong female characters”. Oh, and don’t forget the “shady business man trying to go legit but he keeps getting pulled back in”. The show falls into madness.

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Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell do their best to pull the show up, but the writing is so bad that there’s almost no way to redeem it. The plot is jumbled, messy, and many sites had to do a full recap and explanation just so people understood what the hell was going on in the end. It was a massive failure, and makes me extremely skeptical of the third season’s impeding release. Luckily, HBO execs admitted to the meddling and publicly stated it would not happen again. Let’s pray.

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If you’re looking for an excellent crime drama, the first season is top notch. If you’re looking for a ridiculous, extremely cheesy and so bad it’s bad drama, the second season is for you. No matter what, I recommend the first season wholeheartedly. You can stream the entire thing through HBO streaming services, so make sure that you get your fill in while you can. Let’s hope the third season is about ten times more like the first.

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