True Detective

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kafard
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Re: True Detective

Postby kafard » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:08 pm

Who cares about True Detective? We are all going to die anyway...
A french little guy named : Dam.
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David Locke
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Re: True Detective

Postby David Locke » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:06 am

I re-watched Season 1 a few months back and appreciated it more -- I actually found I preferred the last few episodes to the much-praised fourth and fifth hours. It's not the masterpiece many call it, but it's still a fine season of television to be sure.

But these first two episodes of Season 2 are all over the place. Not bad, but certainly not great and not as intriguing as the opening of S1 was. Vince Vaughn and Taylor Kitsch seem very miscast to me. McAdams has a silly backstory but can at least act. Farrell is the strongest link, but his character isn't terribly original or compelling. The cinematography is strong and moody but lacks the heady atmosphere and surreal feeling of S1, at least judging by these first two episodes. I suspect it will improve but right now it's a very mixed bag, alternately inspired and insipid.

Most of all, I think the lack of Fukunaga's elegant direction and McConaughey and Harrelson's strong performances has revealed a void in the center that was there all along: Pizzolatto's writing, that is. He needs great direction and great actors to make a lot of his dialogue land. He wants to be David Milch with all these indulgent monologues and hard-boiled one-liners that smack of pretension and intentional obfuscation for its own sake... but he hasn't a tenth the compassion, knowledge, way with words, and general oddball genius that makes Milch such a brilliant writer and shows like Deadwood and Luck so sublime. Again, True Detective is second-tier HBO, and not at all on par with the all-time greats of Deadwood, The Sopranos, The Wire, Six Feet Under and Carnivale.

I don't mention these shows to pile on, but because it seems so clear that Pizzolatto is aspiring to duplicate their greatness, and has clearly absorbed their contents just as everyone else has; as a result, his show often feels too cliche'd and derivative of these and other series to be considered truly great. As far as I'm concerned, Rectify, which returns for a third season next week on the Sundance Channel, is the one capital-g Great drama on TV right now, especially with Mad Men over. I can't conceivably see this season of True Detective matching up to any season of the underseen (but highly praised by those who do see it) Rectify.
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Melong
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Re: True Detective

Postby Melong » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:23 pm

kafard wrote:Who cares about True Detective? We are all going to die anyway...


I tell myself I keep watching True Detective's second season to bear witness, but the real answer is that it's obviously my programming, and I lack the constitution for suicide.
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David Locke
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Re: True Detective

Postby David Locke » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:43 pm

The third episode, which aired tonight, was actually quite good and certainly better than the first two. This season still has its flaws, but it's shaping up to be something fairly intriguing.
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gavriloP
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Re: True Detective

Postby gavriloP » Mon Jul 06, 2015 3:11 pm

Three episodes in and I'm actually totally on board! It has legs of it's own and they ain't made of clay! I love it! And there is actually quite strong Lynch vibe going on this season. Not in pastiche way but like honest salute. When that Conway Twitty song started playing with the blue light, I was transferred to the Lynchland. And in a best way possible.

This show is damn good in my books. And considering what a nightmare it must've been for Pizzolato to come up with something as storng as season 1, I tip my hat to him.

BTW: 1st season had great finale. It really wasn't a letdown, it was the only way possible to end that Cthulhu mythos story without some lame tentacles. It managed to do the impossible thing to have BOTH mythos ending AND "a proper" one for "regular" viewers.
Rami Airola
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Re: True Detective

Postby Rami Airola » Sun Jul 19, 2015 2:20 pm

Even though it's not anything remarkable, Season 2 has been much more entertaining and interesting than Season 1.

What baffles me is that now after Episode 4 there has been lots of people bashing the season, and they are mostly criticizing it for the same exact things I thought that made the first season mediocre. People are now complaining that there aren't interesting things going on and claiming that the dialogue is bad and the overall writing cliched. There are still people who love it but comparing to the almost unanimous love for the first season there has been surprisingly lot and surprisingly hard criticism towards this season.
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Re: True Detective

Postby FauxOwl » Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:44 pm

I'm definitely not enjoying this season as much as last season. Pizollato may be a bit of the Emperor's New Clothes with his writing, but last season had some major assets which haven't been replaced this year: Cary Fukunaga's atmospheric direction, the evocative Southern landscapes, Matthew McConaughey's remarkable ability to sell the character's existential angst (some may have found the character irritating but it could have been a lot worse under a less capable actor), and the foil that Woody Harrelson provided (sure this is cliche and formula, but if this isn't replaced by something when you got such an angsty character the results can be awfully droll as this season illustrates). The only real strength from last season that this season has replicated is the musical textures of T Bone Burnett. I'll keep watching but I'm not intrigued by any of this season's characters or mysteries at this point. I think it also helped that Pizollato's tendency towards having his character's pontificate was isolated to one character in the first season, where as this season it's spread to several characters.
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Melong
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Re: True Detective

Postby Melong » Mon Jul 20, 2015 1:28 am

FauxOwl wrote:I think it also helped that Pizollato's tendency towards having his character's pontificate was isolated to one character in the first season, where as this season it's spread to several characters.

At least that character, Rust Cohle, had something interesting and valuable to say, except that as it turned out, most of Rust's musings were lifted literally from Thomas Ligotti's The Conspiracy Against The Human Race.
With season 2, Nic Pizzolatto created a major face-plant now that he has no rival author to plagiarize.
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gavriloP
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Re: True Detective

Postby gavriloP » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:33 am

Pizzolato was open about Ligotti's influence to him. He talked about him in interviews during the first season and really wanted people to know about him. I see no wrong in that. I actually admire that.

And I just watched the fifth episode of season two. This series rocks! :)
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Melong
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Re: True Detective

Postby Melong » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:06 am

My understanding was this happened only after an internet row broke out over possible plagiarism. Perhaps he could have been more forthcoming from the start. I'm not sure.

Anyway, Pizzolatto himself has nothing interesting to convey. That much is clear. He didn't have a clue how to satisfactorily wrap up the first five or possibly seven good episodes of season one.
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gavriloP
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Re: True Detective

Postby gavriloP » Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:15 pm

No it wasn't. He wasn't answering to any accusations, he just told about his affection about the Lovecraftian genre it's writers. He mentioned Ligotti because he thought he deserved more "fame" so to speak.

Well, I did the google and found the interview article from early february 2014, while the season was in it's infancy... here's the link:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/02/02/writer-nic-pizzolatto-on-thomas-ligotti-and-the-weird-secrets-of-true-detective/

EDIT: oh and the ending of season one was beautiful in terms of mythos. SPOILERS: there was an actual lovecraftian mythos story going on beneath the whole story and it had it's resolution, even though that resolution wasn't "in the open". What Rust and Martin actually found was a real Cthulhu-style cult (Of Hastur aka. the Yellow King) and that "lowlife" character with his sister was actually the highpriest of it. His contact with the mythos-creatures was what gave power to the men in power, not the other way around. That's why those big moneymen weren't on highest places in the cult. Because great old ones want chaos and all things abominable, the cultleader was perfect for them. Towards the end Rust really found the portal to Carcosa and he saw glimpses of it. He saw the black stars and the swirl and that was it. The fact that the characters themselves didn't realize what was actually happening didn't diminsh that fact. It also helped to "brush aside" the difficult explanations and exposition scenes. Director Fukunaga actually said in one interview that this scene with swirl and black stars was only thing that Pizzolato said should never be discussed in interviews. Also he was adamant about the black stars.

But there is more. We can see the black stars elsewhere too, they manifest in the art of Martin's daughter who has mental problems. And as you probably know, the great old ones are famous to infiltrate the sick minds with their visions. Meth cooks had also seen these and the visions of Carcosa. It all makes sense. The simple fact remains that lead characters just didn't have resolution with this part of the story. And that is beautiful because most of the viewers wouldn't have bought that. They wanted normal drama and not some lovecraftian Cthulhu-mythos. I myself wanted the both and was very happy with the result.

It's been some time since I watched the season one so my recollections aren't 100% and I might have missed some things, but all in all the mythos ending was there, wrapped in the plastic of "normal" tv cop drama.
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: True Detective

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:50 am

gavriloP wrote:No it wasn't. He wasn't answering to any accusations, he just told about his affection about the Lovecraftian genre it's writers. He mentioned Ligotti because he thought he deserved more "fame" so to speak.

Well, I did the google and found the interview article from early february 2014, while the season was in it's infancy... here's the link:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/02/02/writer-nic-pizzolatto-on-thomas-ligotti-and-the-weird-secrets-of-true-detective/

EDIT: oh and the ending of season one was beautiful in terms of mythos. SPOILERS: there was an actual lovecraftian mythos story going on beneath the whole story and it had it's resolution, even though that resolution wasn't "in the open". What Rust and Martin actually found was a real Cthulhu-style cult (Of Hastur aka. the Yellow King) and that "lowlife" character with his sister was actually the highpriest of it. His contact with the mythos-creatures was what gave power to the men in power, not the other way around. That's why those big moneymen weren't on highest places in the cult. Because great old ones want chaos and all things abominable, the cultleader was perfect for them. Towards the end Rust really found the portal to Carcosa and he saw glimpses of it. He saw the black stars and the swirl and that was it. The fact that the characters themselves didn't realize what was actually happening didn't diminsh that fact. It also helped to "brush aside" the difficult explanations and exposition scenes. Director Fukunaga actually said in one interview that this scene with swirl and black stars was only thing that Pizzolato said should never be discussed in interviews. Also he was adamant about the black stars.

But there is more. We can see the black stars elsewhere too, they manifest in the art of Martin's daughter who has mental problems. And as you probably know, the great old ones are famous to infiltrate the sick minds with their visions. Meth cooks had also seen these and the visions of Carcosa. It all makes sense. The simple fact remains that lead characters just didn't have resolution with this part of the story. And that is beautiful because most of the viewers wouldn't have bought that. They wanted normal drama and not some lovecraftian Cthulhu-mythos. I myself wanted the both and was very happy with the result.

It's been some time since I watched the season one so my recollections aren't 100% and I might have missed some things, but all in all the mythos ending was there, wrapped in the plastic of "normal" tv cop drama.


I love the idea of this because my takeaway (after I realized "that was it" and there would be no further development of the "yellow king" lore in season 2, as I originally thought) was that Pizzolatto just wanted us to see it as cynical rich men manipulating their underlings. Which frankly is a much more dull and trite way to deal with the mystical aspect of the show imo.

My problem with accepting your reading - at least from the point of intentionality is that Pizzolatto does not come off in interviews as someone who has cards up his sleeve. He explains everything in sometimes excruciating detail, often offering a less nuanced, complex reading than I took from the show. Without Fukunaga to help sell it, much of the writing in season 2 feels even more on-the-nose to me. Watching ep. 1-6 of TD I had more of a sense there was a "there" there but it's been diminishing returns ever since. I agree with the poster above who stated that s1 had a lot of "extra" stuff that turns out to have been crucial to the magic.

That said I do believe Pizzolatto has talent but that he needs to get out of his own way. A great showrunner needs filmmaking as well as writing skills. I do not care for the musical-chairs-direction style of season 2.
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gavriloP
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Re: True Detective

Postby gavriloP » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:33 am

Pizzolato seems very open in interviews, but of course we know that when artists talk about their works, they don't always reveal everything even if it seems so. And he knows that he wouldn't been taken serious in mainstream if he would've gone openly lovecraftian. I do agree with the notion that the show is MOSTLY about characters. Everything else is just pure gravy. What Fukunaga said about Pizzolato asking him not to talk about that black stars/portal scene is pretty interesting. All those psychotic people seeing the same things in visions make the mythos angle real, I think.

BTW I made a mistake earlier. It seems that he WAS called out about those Ligotti lines before that interview. My bad, sorry.

The direction in 2nd season haven't been as good as the first one, I admit. I think episodes 3 and 5 (especially 3) have been much better than the rest. I was bummed when I heard that he dropped the occult angle from 2nd season but I like this show still. And maybe there is something going on in the background this time too, for the gravy if nothing else. One can hope :)

The amount of characters makes this much harder season to write comparing season one. Of course this is just an excuse, but nevertheless. People find Vince Vaughn's dialogue horrible, but I kinda love it. It is really unique and reminds me of some great film noir dialogue. Maybe not as good as those, but still in the ballpark. I think he is the only character to talk truly bizarre way, rest of them are pretty normal. And yes, I googled apoplectic and stridency :)

Pulp fiction wasn't all weird fiction, there were your run-of-the-mill hardboiled detectives in them too. So in that regard this season is still fitting to the pulp/noir thingie.
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: True Detective

Postby LostInTheMovies » Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:32 am

I think the one thing that could really save the season for me would be some sign that there is overlap between s1 & s2. Even something small would do the trick. I realize Pizzolatto is apparently only interested in an anthological approach but it would be cool, after several seasons, to see it all as part of some bigger story. Has that ever been done before on TV? Separate stories that add up to a big one? My basic problem with Pizzolatto, all of my problems boiled down to their essence is that he seems to lack ambition. Many ideas in his work point to something bigger and then fail to add up. I hope the end of season 2 surprises me.
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Re: True Detective

Postby FauxOwl » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:17 pm

Supposedly American Horror Story has been toying with the concept that the stories are connected, I'm not sure how exactly. And I suspect Fargo will have the buried money linking each of the tales, since it linked the film to the first season (as an aside, I found that show one of the most overrated things I can recall in some time).

The concept of the season long anthology show is fairly new... are there other examples than True Detective, American Horror Story and Fargo? If that's the case and there is no connection between the stories in True Detective, it may be the only one where the seperate stories are completely disconnected. There have been many single episode anthology shows... not sure if there's one where stories are connected.

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