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‘True Detective’ Remains Addictive in Season 2 — Just Don’t Compare It to Season 1

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It seems like there is an unspoken rule that before we consider the second season of True Detective, we have to reevaluate the first, a tour de force that caught everyone off guard, and that either stuck or blew the landing, depending on who you ask. The bleak buddy cop show brought forth a (sigh) McConaissance, united the Internet in some of our favorite TV-related activities — predicting, theorizing over, and arguing about how it would end, and then continuing that argument long after we knew how it did end — and eventually even crashed HBOGo. So it’s only natural that this second season is one of the most highly anticipated follow-ups in recent memory. This means, of course, that it is also nearly impossible to live up to the hype — but the show does try.
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Let the Taylor Kitschaissance Begin! Why the ‘Friday Night Lights’ Alum Will Make the Perfect ‘True Detective’ Star

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The news that Taylor Kitsch has finally, officially been cast in Season 2 of True Detective has fans of his many seasons of work portraying running back Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights cheering. And it’s not just because we’re happy to see Kitsch’s somewhat dreamy, looks-so-good-smeared-with-playing-field-dirt face back on the screen. In fact, it’s the opposite: we want to see Kitsch act, and get as deep and nuanced as fellow frequently miscast pretty boy Matthew McConaughey did in Season 1. Because with all its ultimate disappointments, the best part of True Detective was seeing McConaughey’s Rust Cohle get weird, dark, and tortured.
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No, ‘True Detective’ Didn’t Plagiarize Thomas Ligotti, Hume, Schopenhauer, or Anyone Else

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It seems barely a week can go by any more without a plagiarism scandal — last week it was BuzzFeed’s resident conservative viral politics editor getting fired for lifting from Yahoo! Answers, and this week it’s True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto being accused of stealing ideas and dialogue from horror writer Thomas Ligotti’s 2010 philosophical tract The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. Much as it’s great fun for everyone on the Internet to point out instances where the two works seem to coincide, though, they’re barking up the wrong (dead, skeletal) tree here.
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I Love Elisabeth Moss — But I Don’t Want to See Her Star in ‘True Detective’ Season 2

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This is not a post about how Elisabeth Moss won’t do an amazing job on True Detective. We know she will: Moss is a veteran of obsessively recapped, Emmy-magnet Prestige TV, and the woman behind two of its most memorable roles. Whoever Moss is potentially playing in the second season of HBO’s anthology series — according to The Wrap, it’s “a tough, no-nonsense Monterey sheriff” struggling with gambling and alcohol abuse — her character will doubtless join Mad Men‘s Peggy Olson and Top of the Lake‘s Robin Griffin on the all-too-short list of well-written female characters on “serious” shows. (The label of “serious” often keeps Olivia Pope and company out of the critical picture, but that’s a conversation for another day.) So why was my gut feeling about the Moss rumor ambivalence, if not outright disappointment?
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Flavorwire’s 15 Favorite Shows of the 2013-2014 TV Season

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Television is a year-round affair, but May marks the official end of the 2013-14 season. It was a great TV season, one of the most exciting that I can remember, and it brought us the debuts of instant-classic series, as well as especially strong seasons of returning favorites. There was an overwhelming amount of good television during these past 12 few months. Although it’s tough to narrow it down, here are my 15 favorite shows of the …Read More

‘True Detective’s’ Deleted Scene: In Praise of Minimalist Narrative

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There’s not a great deal more to say about the True Detective finale at this point — either it lived up to your expectations or it didn’t, and either way, it’s become clear that the internet read a lot more into the show than its creators intended. But here’s one thing I will say: the fact that people could read so much into True Detective is a testament to the way the show was written.
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‘True Detective’ Was a Case Study in the Drawbacks of TV Recap Culture

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Now that 48 hours have passed and HBO Go is fully recovered, it’s safe to assume that most of the millions of people attempting to watch the True Detective finale have done so by now. After weeks of anticipation, crazy co-star Oscar speeches, and increasingly elaborate theories from the Internet hive mind, the general consensus (although much of the Flavorwire staff dissents) is that the final hour of HBO’s latest powerhouse was, well… not what fans hoped it would be. And inevitably, disappointment with True Detective‘s final hour translates into disappointment with True Detective as a whole. Nic Pizzolatto’s brainchild is still a wonderful way to spend eight hours, of course, but it’s also a cautionary tale in making any definitive judgements about a show — especially a show like this one — before it’s over.
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Rust Cohle, Jesus, and God: What ‘True Detective’ Is Really Saying About Religion

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And so True Detective is over and done with — for this season, anyway. The past eight weeks have seen all manner of internet speculation on what the show is about, and in the wake of Sunday’s excellent finale, we have a complete series to which we can apply such theories. But I want to focus on one particular aspect of the show: what it has to say about religion, and the way we define the meaning of our lives. Spoilers ahead, obviously, so don’t read unless you’ve watched the season …Read More

Your Comprehensive Guide to Re-Watching ‘True Detective’: Episodes 5-7

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Yesterday, we re-watched (and wrote way too much about) Episodes 1-4 of True Detective in preparation for Sunday’s season finale, and today we’re getting right up to date with Episodes 5-7. As much as anything, the experience has been a reminder of just how many questions Episode 8 has to answer, but it’s also provided some measure of insight into what’s gone before. What do Reggie Ledoux’s tattoos mean? Is the green-eared spaghetti monster the most sinister TV villain since BOB from Twin Peaks? And just what the hell is Carcosa? Roll on Sunday, …Read More

‘Petrochemical America’: The Richard Misrach Photos That Inspired ‘True Detective’

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The look of True Detective is one of the most distinctive things about the show: all sickly yellows and greens, a world that’s rotting and diseased, a world that’s dying in slow motion. To accurately convey the dark feeling of Louisiana’s famed “Chemical Corridor,” creator Nic Pizzolatto and director Cary Fukunaga turned to Richard Misrach’s evocative photography. Misrach, an influential photographer known for his color portrayals of landscape and loneliness, spent over ten years traveling up and down the industrial plant-choked stretch of the Mississippi River taking large-scale photos of Louisiana’s rot and examining how nature and life is dying and wild in this poisonous land. Some of these photos are used in True Detective‘s opening credits, and they clearly had an effect on the look of the show.
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