Monday, June 22, 2015

New Detective

The second season of True Detective just premiered on HBO. Since it's an anthology series, with a new cast and storyline each year, it might as well be a new show.  The only thing that holds it together, aside from being a crime drama, is writer/showrunner Nic Pizzolatto.

Last season was the talk of TV.  Starring two movie actors, it was about partners getting together again to solve an old crime, but the emphasis was as much on their characters and opposing philosophies as anything else.  This year we've got four movie actors--whose careers could maybe use a boost--Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch.  And instead of being set in Louisiana this time it's Southern California (La. to LA).

This time around, however, the bloom is off the rose. At least so far.  You can tell right off the bat it's not as good when the theme song, "Nevermind" by Leonard Cohen, can't compare with the first season's "Far From Any Road" by the Handsome Family.

Farrell, McAdams and Kitsch are all dark and brooding cops of one sort or another.  Vaughn, meanwhile, is a businessman/criminal who happens to be dark and brooding.  Farrell is a hard-drinking hothead whose wife was raped (so he isn't sure if it's his own son).  McAdam's is also a drinker, who gets a police raid going to stop her sex artist sister from giving her regular performance.  Kitsch, a highway patrolmen with a controversial past as a war veteran, doesn't drink but does take drugs before sex.  And Vaughn (with his wife, played by Kelly Reilly) runs a casino but is involved in corrupt deals and is going for a big score.

They mostly operate on their own, though Vauhgn gives Farrell information on his wife's attacker, and later wants him to lean on a journalist who might be finding out too much.  Near the end of the pilot, Kitsch stumbles upon a crime scene (he simply pulls his cycle off the road at night and there it is).  A city manager who Vaughn needed to meet with is dead.  More than that, some kinky or creepy or occult stuff has happened to his body.  Sure enough, Farrell, McAdams and Kitsch are assigned to the case--seems pretty crowded.

The first season of True Detective started with a creepy crime, but that was always the MacGuffin--it was the great dialogue and interplay of the characters that mattered most.  Sure, it could be dark, but it was fascinating. This time around, it's just dark.  Most of the lines fall flat.  And most of the characters, especially Vaughn, seem to be walking through their roles.  Farrell has a little fire, but that's because his character is supposed to fly off the handle--which makes him more obnoxious than anything else.

Pizzolatto earned enough respect with last season to keep me watching.  But these characters, or the plot, or something, better get interesting soon or I'll just wait it out till season three. If there is one.


Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Sex artist?

Is there a gallery?

5:11 PM, June 22, 2015  

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