TV: True Detective [1x01-1x02]
True Detective [1x01-1x02]
This is the HBO limited-run anthology drama which (this season) is about a pair of Louisiana detectives trying to catch a serial killer with apparent ties to the occult.
I'm two episodes in, and this show isn't quite grabbing me yet.
Mind you, there are a lot of things to like about the show. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson deserve all the accolades they're getting for creating sharp, interesting characters, and the directing and production style are every bit as top-notch as you'd expect from HBO these days.
At the same time, it feels like they took a CBS procedural, expanded one case to fill an entire season, and amped up the production values. In the end, there's something very workmanlike about it. The boys find clues. The boys pursue clues. There's never anything all that clever or interesting to the way they gather their information -- they just keep interviewing the people you'd expect them to, and occasionally they get a lead dropped in their lap.
It's kind of like the people involved created these two characters, and really delighted in the characters they'd made, and then realized, "Oh, right, we have to give them a mystery to solve. *sigh* Fine," and then grudgingly listed out a bunch of clues for them to chase after. It doesn't have the obsessive, journalistic interest in police work that The Wire has. It doesn't take delight in puzzle-solving like Sherlock. It's only when True Detective gets away from its procedure, breathes a bit, and gives us unguarded, self-contained character moments that the show really comes alive. That's when we're seeing the parts the show actually cares about.
I'm already kind of weary of how manly this show wants to be -- or, I suppose, how manly it wants me to think it is. The two leads are a bit like "A Day in the Life of a Troubled Male Antihero" in stereo. Marty Hart's wife is a classic Woman Who Says No ("you're too devoted to this job!", etc.), and none of the women have agency, they're just there to respond to the Important Menfolks -- or to get stripped, get killed, and lie still for the lingering camera. I'm waiting for one of the male leads to say that, I dunno, he had to punch himself in the face to get out of a Mexican prison. "Yeah, I broke my jaw in three places, but I had enough Vicodin to get me to the border." And then he'd down a bottle of whisky and wrestle a rabid bear.
I suppose it's just the style of the piece, but I keep getting distracted, wanting to pat the show on the head and say, "It's okay, everybody thinks you're heterosexual."
In any case, I'm told that the show really picks up in episode three, so: fingers crossed.
For next week: more of True Detective. Meanwhile, Lindsey and I are watching Cosmos. We'll probably also start watching Spaced this week. On my own, I'm also watching a Neal DeGrasse Tyson series with the Teaching Company on netflix. Oh, and I should finish listening to a book about Bletchley Park.
Mood: contemplative · Music: none