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About the "satire" issue: I agree that it's not quite the right word, but I struggle to come up with a phrase that really conveys what this show seems to be doing. Ironic, perhaps. Both seasons are characterized by their straight-faced pastiche of various generic tricks: the Southern Gothic, noir, etc.... They edge close to becoming simply a collection of cliches, but I have this feeling that the show knows it's trading in cliches, even though it never tips its hand and outright says so. When I wrote about season 1, I think I commented on the hollowness at the core of all the philosophical speeches--but, really, it's a hollowness at the core of the narrative itself. Season 1 was less "about" anything than it was about being about things; similarly, season 2 is about, in some ways, its refusal to be about being about things. 


Put another way, this show--as meta- and inter-textual as it is--is ultimately self-contained; all of its fingers outward actually point inward by a kind of legerdemain. And, because the show is self-aware about this fact (though I don't know what I base that assumption on), it takes on the air of satire, or even of farce, even in its most straightforward moments. Particularly in its most straightforward moments.


Or something. More than most shows, True Detective lives smack on the line between "bad, self-serious television" and "actually quite good television," and it's too slippery to grasp and push over onto either side.

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death scenes in this last episode are perhaps a good example of what you are talking about. They are way over the top on paper and even push the boundaries of sense in that Ray should have just kept running and Frank would have just given up his suit, but in execution they work well because this noir world has to come to an end. That is just the way it works. Slippery stuff for sure.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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The folks on the Vulture Podcast are much less enthusiastic about the season. I can agree with some of what they say, but I strongly disagree with other things (for instance, I think Vaughn is, at the very least, the second-strongest--and certainly the most interesting--performer this season).

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  • 2 years later...

Season 3 to star Mahershala Ali, set in the Ozarks following an investigation into a murder that spans over three timelines, with Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin, Green Room) directing and Nick Pizzalato taking on sole writing credits.


Considering this is an anthology show and supposedly exploring different detective genres, I'd love one season set in a British village with a Miss Marple or Poirot like detective 

Edited by Justin Hanvey

"The truth is you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin Ringo, I'm tryin real hard to be the shepherd." Pulp Fiction

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  • 1 year later...

So two episodes of season 3 are out. Anyone catch them (I mean, I did, but anyone else)? In a way, this season feels less bold than season 2; it's back to the South, back to the flashback structure, etc etc etc. I have no idea how occult it's going to get, but so far the series isn't doing much with that angle, either. But I'm digging the fact that we're juggling three time periods now, with nested flashbacks. And Ali is, of course, great. On the whole, I like what I see (though, granted, I'm an easy sell here).

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