True Detective (TV series)

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True Detective
True Detective 2014 Intertitle.jpg
GenreCrime drama
Mystery
Neo-noir
Southern Gothic
Created byNic Pizzolatto
Written byNic Pizzolatto
Directed byCary Joji Fukunaga
Starring
Opening theme"Far from Any Road" by The Handsome Family
Composer(s)T Bone Burnett
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Carol Cuddy
Location(s)New Orleans, Louisiana (Season 1)
California (Season 2)
CinematographyAdam Arkapaw
Running time54–60 minutes
Production company(s)
Broadcast
Original channelHBO
Original runJanuary 12, 2014 (2014-01-12) – present
External links
Website
 
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True Detective
True Detective 2014 Intertitle.jpg
GenreCrime drama
Mystery
Neo-noir
Southern Gothic
Created byNic Pizzolatto
Written byNic Pizzolatto
Directed byCary Joji Fukunaga
Starring
Opening theme"Far from Any Road" by The Handsome Family
Composer(s)T Bone Burnett
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Carol Cuddy
Location(s)New Orleans, Louisiana (Season 1)
California (Season 2)
CinematographyAdam Arkapaw
Running time54–60 minutes
Production company(s)
Broadcast
Original channelHBO
Original runJanuary 12, 2014 (2014-01-12) – present
External links
Website

True Detective is an American television crime drama series on HBO created and written by Nic Pizzolatto, with the first season directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson (both executive producers of the series) with Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, and Tory Kittles, and uses multiple timelines to trace two Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division homicide detectives' hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana across seventeen years. The first season premiered on January 12, 2014, and consisted of eight episodes, concluding on March 9, 2014. The series has received widespread critical acclaim.

Development and production[edit]

In April 2012, HBO picked up the series with an order of eight episodes. The series was created by Nic Pizzolatto, who wrote all the episodes, while all the first season episodes are directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga; both also serve as executive producers, with Pizzolatto as showrunner.[1] The series' title is a reference to the "true detective" genre of pulp fiction, particularly the 20th-century magazine True Detective.[2][3][4] Season one was originally set in Arkansas,[5] but Pizzolatto changed the setting to the coastal plain of South Louisiana, where it was also filmed.[6]

The series was pitched as an anthology format, with each season featuring a different cast of characters and story.[7]

Cast[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

Season 2[edit]

The second season will feature eight episodes, all of which will be written by series creator Nic Pizzolatto.[11] Unlike the first season, there will not be a single director for the entire season;[11] Justin Lin will direct the first two episodes,[12] and William Friedkin is in talks to direct some episodes.[13] Cary Joji Fukunaga, who directed all the season 1 episodes, will return in season 2, but only as an executive producer.[14] The season will take place in California but will exclude Los Angeles in favor of a lesser-known region of the state.[11] Production began in California in November 2014,[15] with an expected premiere date of summer 2015.[12]

In September 2014, Colin Farrell confirmed in an interview to Ireland's Sunday World that he would be starring in season two.[16] Later in September 2014, HBO confirmed season two would star Farrell and Vince Vaughn.[12] In October 2014, Taylor Kitsch revealed he would be starring in season 2.[17] In November 2014, HBO confirmed Kitsch and Kelly Reilly's casting and that Rachel McAdams had also been cast for the female lead.[18]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedAverage viewership
(in millions)
First airedLast aired
18January 12, 2014 (2014-01-12)March 9, 2014 (2014-03-09)2.33[31]
28[15]TBATBATBA

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

True Detective was highly acclaimed by critics. It holds an 84 percent "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 8.4 out of 10, based on 60 reviews. The site's consensus states: "In True Detective, performances by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey reel the viewer in, while the style, vision and direction make it hard to turn away."[32] On Metacritic, it has a rating of 87 out of 100 based on 41 reviews, indicating "Universal acclaim".[33]

David Wiegand of San Francisco Chronicle wrote "The dialogue is rich, colorful and provocative, adding to the gothic sensibilities of the series. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga makes great use of the Louisiana location, giving it as much importance to the story as the characters of Cohle and Hart. All the performances are superb, but those of McConaughey and Harrelson are in a class by themselves."[34] Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times praised the series' format, writing "We are seeing the return of the miniseries, reborn out of the seasonal long arc of the 8-to-13-hour dramatic serial. With no hurry to get to the end, there is time for slow, detailed storytelling with lots of room for conversation and for silence."[35] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix praised the performances and dialogue, writing "The two central performances are so powerful, the dialogue so evocative, the look so intense, that they speak to the value of the hybrid anthology format Pizzolatto is using here—points to a potentially fascinating shift in dramatic series television."[36] The A.V. Club named it the fourth best TV series of 2014.[37]

After the fourth episode aired, Christopher Orr of The Atlantic called the series "the best show on TV."[38] In particular, the six-minute long take featured at the end of the fourth episode received much critical praise.[39] Erik Adams of The A.V. Club wrote about the scene, "we might not see another sequence of such sustained tension on our TVs in 2014. This is the crowning achievement of Cary Fukunaga's True Detective direction thus far."[40] James Poniewozik of Time called it a "tour-de-force" and that "it was one of the most amazing scenes you're likely to see on TV all year."[41] Sean T. Collins of Rolling Stone wrote that the "climactic gunfight was the best TV action sequence since the 'Blackwater' episode of Game of Thrones."[42]

Ben Lawrence, writing for The Telegraph, praised True Detective for skillfully linking Louisiana's post-Katrina coastal landscape to its distinctive inhabitants. It then uses its characters to create "a fully realised sense of place, from the muscular proselytizing of its evangelists to the insularity of its bayou-dwellers". Matthew McConaughey is strangely alien stemming from being a Texan, being from a world outside the local Louisiana culture and thus creating "the off-kilter consequences of having a Texan in town."[43]

Marian St. Laurent wrote a speculative and interpretive analysis for Sensitive Skin Magazine, "America as Afterimage in True Detective," in which she argues that Marty represents the dying middle class, while Rust Cohle is his nocturnal opposite, a symbol of the deterioration and chaos of post-collapse America.[44]

Emily Nussbaum, writing for The New Yorker, praised the show's style, saying that True Detective "offers up shiver-inducing cable intoxicants, from an over-the-top action sequence so liquid it rivals a Scorsese flick to piquant scenes of rural degradation, filmed on location in Louisiana, a setting that has become a bit of an HBO specialty." Nussbaum panned what she describes as 'paper thin' female characters and the 'reek' of macho nonsense.[45]

Philosopher Nick Land identified True Detective as "the most intelligent series in TV history" on the back cover of True Detection, the first collection of critical essays on the TV series, which was published in 2014 by Schism Press.[46]

Accolades[edit]

For the 30th TCA Awards, True Detective won for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries, and Specials and received nominations for Outstanding New Program and Program of the Year; and Matthew McConaughey won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Drama.[47] For the 4th Critics' Choice Television Awards, the series was nominated for Best Drama Series and McConaughey won for Best Actor in a Drama Series.[48] For the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, the series was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, Harrelson and McConaughey were both nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Nic Pizzolatto was nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for "The Secret Fate of All Life", and Cary Joji Fukunaga won for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Who Goes There".[49] For the 66th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, the series was nominated for seven awards, and won four, including Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series and Outstanding Main Title Design.[50] For the 67th Writers Guild of America Awards, the series is nominated for Best Drama Series and Best New Series.[51] For the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards, Harrelson and McConaughey both received nominations for Best Drama Actor.[52] For the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, the series is nominated for Best Miniseries or Television Film, Harrelson and McConaughey are both nominated for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film, and Michelle Monaghan is nominated for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.[53]

Influences[edit]

In addition to being influenced and inspired by pulp detective fiction, True Detective incorporates elements and themes from the weird supernatural horror genre. This includes quotations from and direct references to Robert W. Chambers' classic 1895 book The King in Yellow and dialogue directly quoted from and inspired by the works of modern-day cult horror author Thomas Ligotti. In August of 2014, an article claimed, citing eleven examples, that Pizzolatto plagiarized Ligotti's work. [54] When presented with the evidence of word for word borrowing from Ligotti's text, the series' writer and showrunner, Nic Pizzolatto, acknowledged these influences after being questioned in an interview given to The Wall Street Journal.[55] In the same article Pizzolatto recommends modern-day horror authors Karl Edward Wagner, Laird Barron, John Langan, Simon Strantzas and the recent anthology A Season in Carcosa. Pizzolatto also mentions as influences the pessimistic and nihilistic philosophies,[56] in the books Confessions of an Antinatalist by Jim Crawford, Nihil Unbound by Ray Brassier, In The Dust of This Planet by Eugene Thacker, The Trouble with Being Born by Emil Cioran and Better Never to Have Been by David Benatar. Wall Street Journal writer Michael Calia has offered some commentary and analysis on some of these influences,[57] as has the website io9.[58]

Interest in the Chambers connection resulted in The King in Yellow shooting up into Amazon.com's top ten bestseller list in February 2014.[59] There has also been some discussion of the influence of comic book writers Alan Moore and Grant Morrison on the plot and philosophy of the series, as analyzed by Sam Adams at Indiewire[60] as well as Adam and Mark Stewart at ComicsAlliance[61] initially stemming from a quote that Pizzolatto gave to The Courier-Journal in 2010.[62] Alan Moore's influence on Pizzolatto is evident in the striking similarity between the ending of True Detective season one and that of Moore's comic book series Top 10.[63]

The show's director, Cary Fukunaga, also expressed interest in filmmaker David Lynch, and cited Lynch's process filming Twin Peaks as an influence.[64]

Home media release[edit]

On June 10, 2014, HBO Home Entertainment released the first season of True Detective in both DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats. Both formats include all eight episodes as well as bonus material such as exclusive interviews with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, a discussion between series creator Nic Pizzolatto and composer T Bone Burnett about the development of the show and the series' music, "Inside the Episode" featurettes, two audio commentaries, and deleted scenes from the season.[65]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie (April 30, 2012). "HBO Picks Up Matthew-Woody Series 'True Detective' With Eight-Episode Orders". Deadline.com. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  2. ^ Jensen, Jeff (January 12, 2014). "'True Detective' post-mortem: Unraveling the mysteries". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ Smith, Russel (February 20, 2014). "Decoding the secrets of True Detective". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  4. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (January 10, 2014). "TV Review: HBO's True Detective". Vulture. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
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External links[edit]