Finally, thanks to some sort of free watchathon thingee on Comcast due to the premiere of Game of Thrones, I watched season one of True Detective. It’s not that I live under a rock, I just don’t have HBO. People have been talking up True Detective to me since it premiered. I even saw billboards for it in London. At only eight episodes it seemed the easiest thing to mainline in a day or two versus trying to get up to speed on Game of Thrones. Yeah, haven’t even finished Season One of that.
True Detective is really excellent, cinematic and bold television. It’s one arc over eight episodes. You can get a lot more character development over eight hours than you can in two or so. It’s a visually stunning piece that really makes great use of the Louisiana locations. I really liked how the bright glaring sun was used oppressively, as that is how I often feel during a blazing southern summer. Also, it’s not all swampy bayou, which is nice cause that’s how everyone seems to want to do Louisiana, no matter where in Louisiana a story is set.
All praise aside, True Detective is not perfect. But then most ambitious media isn’t. To avoid spoilers, I’m not going to go on about that here. Just google the show and you’ll find the criticism next to the praise. I will say though, as awesome as Episode 4 was (especially the closing set piece), it felt incongruous to the rest of the show. See what you think when you watch it.
Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are at the top of their games here. They are both superb, although McConaughey has the more showy role. Neither of them are playing characters who are particularly likeable, although you respect McConaughey as Rustin Cohle. Oh and did I mention that Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle smolders with intense, complicated, gravely sexy low talking, 10/10 would bang for a goodly portion of the season? Did I say something about a screen door in a hurricane? Really Matthew McConaughey doesn’t do it for me but as Rustin Cohle, fetch the smelling salts.
Since the story is set over 17 years there were some makeup / wigs / effects done to youth up both actors. Luckily Harrelson’s wig is way better than the one he has to sports in Hunger Games. I don’t really know what they did to McConaughey but he looks significantly different than “Alright, Alright, Alright” — until True Detective gets to present day anyway. He get’s younger while staying the same age? I’m thinking he’s had some actual knife work done too, but it’s fine work if he has. Matthew kept reminding me of someone. It took me a while but then I figured it out.
CumberCohle! Not exactly an exact match but maybe very pretty intense cousins? Kindred panty wetters?
True Detective is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on June 10th. If you have HBO you can probably still catch it live or via HBO Go.
If you need to wait, take a look at the opening title sequence (a bit reminiscent of True Blood, in my opinion. What is it about “True” shows and Louisiana?) set to shortened version of the super catchy, “Ring of Fire” referencing, “Far From Any Road” by The Handsome Family.