Off Topic: True Detective Season 2

Let's talk TV again.

I've noticed a lot of hate being tossed around for season 2 of True Detective, but it finished last night and I have to say — I really enjoyed it.

I enjoyed it for what it was: a really well put together piece of crime-noir. Nothing ground breaking, often times impenetrable, but really well-written, well-acted noir. I really liked it. A lot.

The problem, I think, was the True Detective moniker itself. When they said each True Detective season would be different from the last they really weren't kidding. It wasn't just a new set of characters: it was new themes, new aesthetics, new everything. True Detective season 1 was a show about the American south. This was a show about Los Angeles. With the kind of writing we wish we could have in video games.

Also: Colin Farrell. Goddamn. I've always been a fan of his, but he was really properly incredible in True Detective. This was as good a performance as I've seen on television.



    Someone on my Facebook feed reckons it's outright plagiarising "The Big Nowhere."

    I haven't seen the second season of the show or read the book, so I couldn't comment. But even that claim killed a little of my hype :\

    Here's a reddit link courtesy of BDKIAF, with whom I had this discussion yesterday:

      Aw Shane, boo to making a point of plagiarism when you haven't seen it! You should at least watch it before opening up topics like this! That being said, I did have a read and... honestly, I don't see issues with so many parallels being appropriated. There does seem to be a lot of setup similarities, but the show has it's own atmosphere and does it's own thing with those elements.

        Sorry man. You're right - I probably shouldn't have brought it up. Just explaining the thought processes that have contributed to me not watching it yet, despite love love loving the first season.

    I thoroughly enjoyed it. It have been begging people at work to watch it so I can discuss and unpack each weekly episode. Unfortunately I just couldn't get anyone to watch beyond the first ep.
    I do kinda wish Seasons 1 and 2 were tied together through the cults or something like that. I will re-watch again in one long sitting and see if it benefits from a binge.

      I am totally in the same boat as you. Apart from my wife, I have nobody to discuss the show with.

      Two of the standout actors for me were James Frain, as Lt. Burris, who I have loved in everything I have seen him in. The the other one was a big surprise for me. Vince Vaughn, whom I have usually had a rather low opinion of as a meh comedy actor was fantastic.

      Another subtle surprise was Kelly Reilly, her subtle use of body language really upped her acting game.

      Overall I felt the atmosphere was superior to season 1, and it did suffer from a rather slow start.I do feel the show would be way better on DVD. Having to remember all the discussions, names, events and so on over a whole long, hard work week was a tad confusing.

    I've watched the first 3 episodes over the past few days, and the thing that keeps striking me is how much it looks like GTA V: The ocean roads and nearby hills, the industrial areas, the mansions, the hippy retreat, etc. It's remarkable just well that game portrays LA!

    Also, yeah, the show's OK too so far. Starting to get confusing, curious how many of the threads are red herrings or if they all tie in together in the end.

      I just watched the final episode and remarked to my friends "This whole thing would have made a great GTA".

    The biggest complaints so far have been 'Its not season 1!'. We always knew it wasn't going to be. It's anthology. Season 3 will not be season 2 either, or 1. I can't wait for 3, I haven't watched 2's finale yet but I'm highly enjoying it. I loved the weirdness of S1, I loved the straight up corruption and putridness of S2, and can't wait for 3 now!

    I thought it was a mess. There is so much you could cut out to make it better. It had the worst flow and the characters were ill fitting and didn't really develop or just stop developing at a certain point. Waaaay to many 'main' characters, a plot line that for the first half of the series did nothing.

    I reckon you could cut out the character of the highway cop completely, streamline some of the detective stuff, that was boring as hell in the first 4 eps, and make it a nice paced 2 1/2 hr movie.

    oh and the ending wasn't really an ending, more like the beginning of an ending, even though the episode went for 1 1/2 hrs...

    Last edited 11/08/15 11:37 am

      I agree it wasn't bad. But it was convoluted to the point of being confusing.
      If they'd trimmed some characters and had us really get to know the crime & the investigation then it would have held attention a lot better than it did.

      I felt that the ending was cliched and boring (the very end scene).
      On the plus side I wasn't as cliched as say, Dexter's finale, but then I don't think that's possible.

      I talked about season 2 with a co-worker this morning, we rated it a 6/10 where the first season was a solid 8/10.

      I agree.

      There didn't seem to be any direct and not enough time spent on getting to know the characters well enough. I was really excited when i heard who was cast for the season.

      But every new episode me and the wife were sitting there like who is that person?, what do they have to do with the show?

      you know, I watched fantastic 4 last night and this pretty much describes my experience with that movie. It was a mess, characters didn't fit the roles nor develop. Streamline most of the intro stuff and cut out the board members stuff. Oh, and the ending wasn't really an ending, it was a beginning even though the movie went for 1 1/2 hours...

      The movie was so forgettable that when the last act started I had forgotten almost completely the first hour and 10 minutes of the film and didn't realise the movie was 15 minutes from finishing.

        Bummer :( I feel really bad for Josh Trank, F4 was getting trashed before any info had even been released, all on the basis of RUMOURS, which is stupid and unfair (could also have something to do with the Johnny Storm casting, but I don't want to get there, I thought it was fine).

        I was quietly hoping it would rise up and put the (irrational) haters in their place. Unfortunately it's getting so panned it's actually painful to read about. Trank is maintaining it was the studio's fault for the imposed changes, but who knows?

          I wanted to like it too but it was hard, the pacing is just so incredibly off. The studio probably has a lot to answer for but you can see it in the performances and writing. There are parts where extra dialogue would have worked, parts where the delivery is phoned in. The parts it does have going for it are cinematography and direction. You can see the great idea but it is never capitalized on.

    There was some good elements, but overall I found the pacing all over the shop - and the ending - (not the plot elements, but the actual "final scene" itself) - stylistically jarring.

    For a show that was very "non-Hollywood" - the ending was very "here's a stock standard Hollywood bookend finish".

    I was kinda cool with it up til that point.

    Is this airing on FTA television? I've mostly given up on that and use Netflix and the occasional BR disc.

    I've heard nothing but good stuff about Season1, hoping it will hit Netflix soon.

    I'm with you Mark. I honestly believe if there was no season 1 of True Detective and this was standing on it's own legs, people wouldn't be dissing it so much.

    I read a bit this morning commenting about how one area of its bashing comes from it's seemingly convoluted, confusing narrative, but that that criticism is dismissing what defines a lot of noir. That's pretty much on the money for me, and in hindsight you can see it's not a necessarily complex story, just unraveled in a typically noir like way, and I for one loved it for it.

    That being said, 90 minutes was a stretch for the finale, it really had pacing issues and needed to be tightened.

    I found it to be fine, but not anything special. There's much better television out there.

    I enjoyed it, but they should of named it something different. After season 1 it had no hope of filling those shoes.

    I enjoyed some parts of the show, but when you manage to wrap up the central mystery of your show (which has fucking 'detective' in the title) with 2 lines of dialog in a hotel room, then theres a big problem. Yeah I guess the show was ultimately more about isolation and broken people saying silly things, but jeez there was barely a case to investigate.

      Yep, 2 kids who we saw for like 30 seconds 5 episodes back turn out to be the killers and they solve this with a quick chat and looking at some photos... It's just weak. Maybe concentrate on fleshing this out so we'd have a clue rather than talking about flaccid dicks and daddy issues and orphans that filled half the show as part of character development.

      That wasn't actually the central mystery though. It was what initiated the real investigation. The central mystery was how the bigger, broader parts of catalast group, as well as the corruption in Vinci fit together and who was running what.

      So yeah, while the whole finding out who killed Caspere thing was a bit of an uneventful reveal, the main game of Osip/Tony/Holloway/Caspere etc. and how they were all related was the real intrigue.

    Haven't seen it myself, yet. Been meaning to because I enjoyed the first season, but the arguments I've seen against S2 are that... it isn't the same as S1. Which, I guess makes it understandable if people who liked S1 were looking for more of the same?

    I look at it like I look at most of the modern Final Fantasy games.

    A lot of the games post PS1 era are fantastic JRPGs with rich and innovative gameplay elements that make them worth playing. If you approach them from a Final Fantasy fan point of view? Yes, you will probably be disappointed and maybe that's just your nostalgia talking or maybe you genuinely thought the earlier games were The Best.

    If you do the same with Season 2, you probably will be disappointed.

    True Detective season 1 is completely different in tone, execution, presentation... and it just casts a very long shadow. A very long, very recent shadow. It was only a year ago we were discussing it as the new Golden Boy Of Cable Television. Season 2 has been copping criticism that I think is fair (some of the acting, dialogue, the convoluted plot, the info dumps), but usually because it is analysed in context of season 1. Change the focus of your lens and you will see a different picture.

    I was skeptical at first and it wasn't resonating with me. The plot was convoluted and downright impossible to follow early on. Vaughn felt shackled and emotionless in the first half of the season. Farrell pretty much kept it afloat until the middle of the season. Episode over episode it improved in its back half and is well worth watching on the whole and ultimately, has an even more satisfying conclusion than the first season.

    It is pretty bleak, when it comes to its conclusion and I appreciated it more for that. It was a show about people who never really outran the earlier lows of their lives. In a way, they never got out of their own shadow and True Detective Season 2 tried hard to do what its characters couldn't and it too, ultimately, fell short.

    Last edited 11/08/15 3:03 pm

      If the show was not called 'true detective' do you think we would even be discussing this show?

      No direction in this show what so ever. I would have given up after the 3rd episode if it wasn't for the 1st season.

        I still think people would have enjoyed Season 2, to be honest. Production values alone normally drag people in. It's not as beautiful as s1 to me, but there are still some stunning visuals.

    I just could not bring myself to care about gangsters getting screwed on land deals or corrupt politicians. Vince Vaughn looked constipated for the entire season. Colin Farrel looked like he though he had crapped himself a little. Rachel McAdams was competent and had some good moments but was not enough to make it worth it.

    I totally loved it and much preferred Season 2 to it's predecessor. The 'Time Crisis' style shootout at the end of episode 3 was far superior to the 6 minute tracking shot from Season 1.

    I haven't been able to watch Vince Vaughn in anything for years until this.

    I loved it so much. The annoying thing is I don't even bother trying to talk to people about it anymore, because all I keep hearing is "it's not as good as season 1". I don't want to talk about comparing them, I want to talk about the characters and plot of season 2 damnit!

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