Detective stories seem to be one of the most thriving trends when it comes to TV shows. "Law and Order," "CSI" and "NCIS" have become so well-known they are quotable. So it is no surprise "True Detective" became an instant hit.
The first season of "True Detective" debuted on HBO in 2014. It told the story of a 17-year-old murder case through interviews of the two former cops, Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) who worked the case.
Writer and creator Nic Pizzolatto made the storyline strategically slow, allowing plenty of time to develop the characters and the storyline, but revealed facts and bits of information quickly enough to keep people intrigued from start to finish.
Of course, the story keeps the show alive, but the acting is what really blew audiences out of the water. McConaughey and Harrelson set the bar high for following seasons.
Perhaps it was a little too high.
Season two of "True Detective," released June 21, has so far left fans hopeless that the same enthralling, suspenseful show people loved just over a year ago has a chance of living up to its high expectations.
Although McConaughey and Harrelson are tough acts to follow, one would think that the extensive cast of main characters including Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch would be able to create a performance that was at least half as good.
So far, the show is stoic and flat-out depressing. Themes such as impotence, abandonment, misinterpreted masculinity and weakness make this season seem more like a Lifetime police drama rather than a crime show. The complex characters, who carry their baggage around with them everywhere they go, leave no room for the occasional sarcasm and humor we found in season one.
Though there are mediocre performances, this season’s storyline is actually pretty solid. The series takes place in Los Angeles and brings three very different cops together after a dead body is found sitting at a picnic table by the highway. Let’s just hope the story develops quickly enough before the hype from the first season destroys it.
Although it is not particularly engaging, the plot leaves room for this season to redeem itself in the remaining five episodes. There are already several unanswered questions and character flaws viewers can’t wait to learn more about. Pizzolatto clearly increased the difficulty of this season by adding deeper characters, backstories and plot twists. Hopefully, it wasn’t at the expense of being entertained.