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True Detective: Season 1 - A Masterpiece of TV Drama? (1 Viewer)

Blu Eye

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I was just recently looking through the thread of members favourite TV shows of the last 20 years here:


...And noticed no mention of True Detective.

After finally watching the end of Season 1 a week or so ago I was totally blown away.

I don't think I have seen a TV show (or even many movies) with perhaps the exception of The Sopranos where I have been totally engrossed with every single minute right from the get go.

It's also absolutely beautifully photographed with the location shots around Louisiana completely capturing and evoking a sombre, foreboding atmosphere that completely sucks you into the very dark underbelly of the leading characters environment.

Yes the subject matter is very dark, sinister and depressing but I don't think I have seen much material in the TV world that is handled with such intelligence and originality to the extent that was applied here.

The characterisation of Woody Harrelson's character (Marty) and Matthew McConaughey's (Rust) and their interaction is a sight to behold. Their performances so nuanced yet somehow played with such power and force via their gifted screen presences just completely left me spellbound.

The dialogue is exceptional especially from Rust and some of the things he says throughout the show. His view of the world through his musings display a type of dialogue that I have not heard anywhere else. Controversial perhaps but refreshing in a strange way to me, anyway. A very complex character that shows him as a type of nihilist yet somehow his actions and dedication seem to defy his persona paradoxically.

The way the two leads relationship develops throughout the show is very astutely handled and is truly fascinating. It starts in a way by both men who seem to be alpha males trying to dominate each other but in different ways. Marty is definitely more insecure in his manhood and always trying to assert himself as opposed to Rust who avoids the macho type of bullshit displayed by Marty and instead approaches his job with a professionalism that infuriates Marty but he never admits these hard truths.

Instead it seems to infuriate Marty even more as Rust continues to do his thing much to the detriment of Marty who can't seem to figure Rust out yet there is a deep down respect and intrigue towards Rust despite the fact he does not admit to this and cannot seem to understand him as a man or his perspective on life.

Anyway, I don't want to spoil it too much for anyone that may have not watched this atmospheric, tragic, melancholic almost Shakespearean drama as it plays out bit by bit.

Needless to say I was mesmerised and cannot believe I had not seen it until recently.

Granted it's only one season and although I have not watched Season 2 yet the reviews seem to indicate that the second season does not match the originality and quality of the first season.

Although that may be a shame if true, it would not surprise me if that is the case as the first season is of such a high standard of artistic expression that I think it would almost be impossible to top.

Oh. And if you are watching it for the first time be sure to always hear the haunting theme song at the beginning of each show by T Bone Burnett. It gets more effective as each show begins. Really captures the essence of the whole drama.

I thought it important to praise this great show and perhaps try to encourage more people to watch it who perhaps have not given it a chance yet.

A TV show of this standard demands to be seen.
 
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Walter Kittel

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It is a fine series and season one is exceptional, no question. In terms of a 'favorite' I believe several factors contribute to its absence in the linked thread.

While I enjoyed all three seasons; season one is the masterpiece of the group and I believe that the disparity between seasons works against it as a favorite. The brevity of the seasons, each of which feels like its own entity probably works against a favorite designation as well.

Also, as you say; it is a very dark and foreboding show and I believe that translates (for some folks) into the type of show that they do not care to revisit.

- Walter.
 

Blu Eye

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It is a fine series and season one is exceptional, no question. In terms of a 'favorite' I believe several factors contribute to its absence in the linked thread.

While I enjoyed all three seasons; season one is the masterpiece of the group and I believe that the disparity between seasons works against it as a favorite. The brevity of the seasons, each of which feels like its own entity probably works against a favorite designation as well.

Also, as you say; it is a very dark and foreboding show and I believe that translates (for some folks) into the type of show that they do not care to revisit.

- Walter.

Yes. That makes a lot of sense.
 

TravisR

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While I enjoyed all three seasons; season one is the masterpiece of the group and I believe that the disparity between seasons works against it as a favorite. The brevity of the seasons, each of which feels like its own entity probably works against a favorite designation as well.
You're probably right but I think that S2 gets a bum rap. No doubt it's not as good as the first but a second viewing of S2 made it easier to understand things that weren't clear to me upon the initial viewing. The second season suffered because of the lack of the talking head interviews to let the viewer know what was happening because without them, I think people lost track of the story, characters, motivations, etc. And that those segments came back in S3 shows that the folks involved realized the same and I think that the third season is helped by their return.
 

Blu Eye

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You're probably right but I think that S2 gets a bum rap. No doubt it's not as good as the first but a second viewing of S2 made it easier to understand things that weren't clear to me upon the initial viewing. The second season suffered because of the lack of the talking head interviews to let the viewer know what was happening because without them, I think people lost track of the story, characters, motivations, etc. And that those segments came back in S3 shows that the folks involved realized the same and I think that the third season is helped by their return.

I am looking forward to watching Season 2.

Funny enough I actually thought the talking head interviews were a weakness of Season 1 if there was one.

I think without that aspect it could have added a l lot more mystery to the investigation and help make the viewer be more involved with the process.

Perhaps that was included in the shows to give the viewers a bit of breathing room from the utter darkness unfolding in the characters world.
 

TravisR

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I am looking forward to watching Season 2.

Funny enough I actually thought the talking head interviews were a weakness of Season 1 if there was one.

I think without that aspect it could have added a l lot more mystery to the investigation and help make the viewer be more involved with the process.
Obviously, I'd only be guessing but I think losing the S1 interviews would have confused the viewer more than anything else. You can tell the show is written by a novelist because like a book, the second season just plowed ahead without any exposition or bits of dialogue to let people know who characters were referring to or why they were investigating something. That works in a book because you can go back and look at previous chapters if you lose a thread but in a TV show (or at least the second season of True Detective), it only led to confusion.
 

Blu Eye

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Can you elaborate?

I must say I thought it was a weak ending.

I was expecting some arrests of people in the higher echelons of society and not some hill billy painter & decorator who lives in a pig sty that takes the heat as the mastermind of what went down.

My original thought was the 2nd season will take the story further but to my surprise upon looking at the details the 2nd season is a totally different story with different characters.

Total cop out in my opinion. The money men obviously thought things were too close to the bone to go any further so maybe the creators took it as far as they were allowed to.
 

DavidJ

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Since the thread title poses a question, I’ll give my answer. Yes.

I don’t throw that word around, but I do think of season one as a masterpiece (inclusive of the ending).
 

Blu Eye

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Since the thread title poses a question, I’ll give my answer. Yes.

I don’t throw that word around, but I do think of season one as a masterpiece (inclusive of the ending).

Glad someone bit the bullet.

Was waiting a while for it.

And I don't throw the word around, neither.

And I agree.
 

Bartman

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I seem to remember both S1 & 2 were excellent. Just this week I was considering the Blu-ray sets but went with the original Star Trek S1 and Spartacus S1 instead.
 

Blu Eye

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I would definitely watch it on the big screen at a cinema if the opportunity arose.

It's more suited to that as opposed to TV. Could be interesting to see how the experience would compare to the smaller screen.

I really think I could probably watch all 8 episodes straight in one session or perhaps with an intermission after episode 4.

It really was that engrossing to me.

And to think some movies with less than 90 minutes running time can bore the hell out of me.
 

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