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Review: True Detective Season 1, or My New Favourite Show, or HBO, You Rarely Disappoint


The show True Detective seems to have come out of nowhere. There wasn’t too much hype to promote it. I think its success was due mostly to word of mouth.

And, quite possibly, this man's Academy Award nomination (now win).

Well actually, True Detective’s success can also be attributed to these five things:

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson headline this whodunit, and if their chemistry seems very evident, it’s because they’re good friends in real life.

Look at those faces... 

Sometimes, this actually feels like a buddy cop movie, but despite some of the humour injected by the characters (mostly Harrelson), the series still has a dark, overall feel. That’s because of the…

The title is actually a throwback to the True Detective genre of stories, which I am sadly not familiar with. If I were, I’d probably have consumed those stories voraciously as a kid, because I love mysteries. I also love the occult, which this series seemingly touches on. But just barely. There’s no magic involved.

This is probably the closest thing to magic in the entire series.

All eight episodes are penned by Nic Pizzolato, a Louisiana native by the way the bayou and the backwoods are featured prominently as part of the story. Like other classic stories, the setting is actually a character in itself. The setting actually dictates the way the characters behave, and the way they interact with each other. And in the Louisiana boondocks, with a serial killer on the loose, that’s actually a big thing.

The damage of Hurricane Katrina provides a sinister backdrop.

All eight episodes of this miniseries are directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. I first thought he was of Japanese descent. But he looks white, or could pass for white. So I guess he had a Japanese male ancestor somewhere in his family tree, and all traces of said ancestor have disappeared except for the surname.

That long take at the end of Episode 4 was totally brilliant.

You are probably wondering why this show has a different visual feel. At first you might think it’s because of the liberal use of the green spectrum—you know, because Louisiana is green, like visually—but it’s not really that, exactly. It’s because this series was shot in… old school film stock. Like 35mm negatives. I know, right?

Not really what I meant by "great images", but what the hell.

True Detective. USA. 2014.

Original rating: 8.50 / 10
Non-linearity of the plot: + 0.20
Matthew McConaughey's long-haired junkie phase: + 0.10
Alexandra Daddario's nudity: + 0.10
Michelle Monaghan's character's sluttiness: - 0.05
Great narrative and character arcs: + 0.2
Final rating: 9.05 / 10

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Such an excellent series. I nearly fainted during that long take in episode 4.

Yes. Truly an excellent series. I love long takes, and I think that long take in Episode 4 was utilised perfectly.

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