For years now, HBO has constantly put out quality entertainment, even some of the best TV shows of all time. Last year saw the first season of their new show True Detective, starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as two detectives on the hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. The show was about as close to perfection as TV has come since The Sopranos ended, with its exceptional performances, beautiful cinematography and incredible writing garnering praise from just about everyone. So when it was announced that show would return with a new cast and plot, audiences became sceptical. Could they possibly top what they had already done? Do we want a show without Rust and Cohle? It lead to some worrying thoughts, but lo and behold, Season Two has arrived, to an incredibly underwhelming start.
We have four new characters to follow this season: Ray Velcoro (Colin Farell), a short tempered, alcoholic detective for the Vinci police department; Antigone ‘Ani’ Bezzerides (No, I don’t know why they chose that name either), Rachel McAdams’ detective from the Ventura Count Sherriff’s Department; Officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch), of the California Highway Patrol man, and Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn), a corrupt businessman, entrepreneur and criminal. We haven’t had time to fully get to know these characters yet, but already, they’re not as interesting as Marty or Rust. Give it time and they might improve, but for now, they’re a little boring.
The overall plot of the episode was not that interesting; nobody has done anything of importance just yet. But that’s because this episode was to set up the characters, with the real purpose of the season revealed in the closing moments. So now Ray, Ani and Paul will be investigating the murder of California city planner Ben Casper, a partner of Semyon. This is where the real story starts, but given the slow and uninteresting nature of this opener, you’d be forgiven for getting to the end of this episode and not actually knowing what happened.
Well, it’s a disappointing start, but it’s also early days. Maybe it never will reach the heights of its triumphant first season, but even so, True Detective Season Two has potential. Let’s hope that potential is tapped into and we get some quality television.