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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:05 am 
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The jury's still out on this one, but besides one moment* I wasn't as taken by the crosshairs as I was the first time, which is no surprise since the whole season has been a mixed bag for me. Will be interesting where the third season goes, and even how the internet responds because now the show can probably be seen as an underdog and if what the writer comes up with next somehow surpasses what came before it'll make for a nice narrative and maybe people will see the 2nd season as less problematic.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Frank's death was a pretty amazing moment, and a heartbreaking end for what was probably my favorite character. Vince Vaughn can usually be either good, or suck the life out of something so I was pleased to see he decided to be the former.


Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:19 am 
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While the second half of the season managed to punch the show back into an interesting place, making for some relative enjoyment, it didn't quite stick the landing. There was a sloppiness that left me wanting--the story, in its quest for novelistic depth and richness, began too early, resultantly crowding the post-shootout back-end of the season--and the intricacies of the plot felt too derivative of better things for the show to ultimately claim its own piece.

The Ellroy pastiche, for example, became too central to the show for its own good. Elements of four or five books were chopped and screwed together without the intent and design of, say, Hannibal, and the bits and vibe were too chastely invoked to be considered anything but pale imitation. It's all indirect, well within the realm of homage, but it's the same kind of semi-specificity that parodies use to comedic ends. Maybe that's the miscue or glitch that has dogged the season--the show is not a parody, but on some subconscious level it feels like one, and by emphatically trying to outrun that shadow, it only enlarges it. I don't know.

There were moments that really came together--Velcoro's creepy crawl at the end of the second episode evoked Ellroy's keyed-up insomniac sleaze more precisely and honestly than any of the other, more direct homages, did, and the sweeping overhead shots of the tangled freeway cloverleaves and L.A.'s labyrinthine industrial architecture were inspired visual and tonal cues. They functioned as byzantine ellipses that linked disparate story elements together, a saving grace of the season.

I also think the critical discourse failed the show. I'm not sure a second, more considered take on the season would prove that the show is any better than the already established grades and star-ratings make it out to be, but the too-easy "hate-watch"-based critical approaches were old-hat by the third episode, and I disliked that a lot of the early critical reaction was rendered in comparison to the first season. It's a more interesting show than the mockery suggests.

Maybe I'm dumb or easy, but I liked it. Not loudly or intensely, but I never hate-watched.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:14 pm
Was a near total failure, for me.

Of the minor differences between this and the first series, the most jarring was the clumsiness with which it attempted to make verisimilitude bleed in to its fictional world. Whereas in the first series this was achieved when, say, the Harrelson character was shown surfing the web for mature dates, or Katrina was invoked, in the second series a picture of George Bush would be shown on a crooked politician's mantelpiece, or a reference made to OJ, and the whole thing just died in the imagination.

But the Vince Vaughn strand of the narrative wrecked any chance of it succeeding. Had he been a restauranteur or a bank manager rather than a gangster I might have been interested in his domestic problems. Had it been another actor I might have smiled at some of his dialogue. But as it was it just didn't work, any of it. I couldn't understand why any of the other characters put up with him, because he wasn't menacing, and the organized crime milieu he inhabited was completely inert. It surely wouldn't have been that difficult at an early stage to excise his torpid story all together?

Three detectives is one thing, but a fourth, ostensibly on the wrong side of the law, was overkill.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:02 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:11 am
Feiereisel wrote:
...I disliked that a lot of the early critical reaction was rendered in comparison to the first season. It's a more interesting show than the mockery suggests.


I'm curious as to which reactions that you find objectionable. I think it's reasonable to be disappointed in this season because it lacked the narrative strength, fascinating characterizations, and artistic vision of the first season. I do agree that there are some things to like in season two, but outside of me just finding it inferior to season one, I found it fairly weak overall.

I just think the story was weak and needlessly obfuscated. Perhaps it's supposed to be fascinating to peel away and find which characters are part of this malevolent power structure and which are the good guys, but these hidden relationships and mysterious backstories just made for a pretty laborious viewing experience.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:51 am 
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There's about 4 times I've hate-watched a season I must confess, and it usually would mean I'd no longer watch the show after. I was on the knife's edge of hate-watching this, but it had it's moments, it's diamonds in the dirt that made me come back genuinely interested in where this story was going.

It's sad that it's looking like David Fincher's projects at HBO are dead or on their way to being dead. I think what he could have done with Ellroy would have been much closer to what you describe is being done with Hannibal and also what's going on with Fargo, too. Doing a remix of someone's work with that much craft could catch on I think.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:19 am 
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True Detective Season Two Lines, Ranked

I don't regret watching the show, but something's up when you remember raising an eyebrow upon first hearing nearly all of these lines.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:57 am 
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jessee wrote:
Feiereisel wrote:
...I disliked that a lot of the early critical reaction was rendered in comparison to the first season. It's a more interesting show than the mockery suggests.


I'm curious as to which reactions that you find objectionable. I think it's reasonable to be disappointed in this season because it lacked the narrative strength, fascinating characterizations, and artistic vision of the first season. I do agree that there are some things to like in season two, but outside of me just finding it inferior to season one, I found it fairly weak overall.

I just think the story was weak and needlessly obfuscated. Perhaps it's supposed to be fascinating to peel away and find which characters are part of this malevolent power structure and which are the good guys, but these hidden relationships and mysterious backstories just made for a pretty laborious viewing experience.


I find a lot of overnight recaps disappointing, but if I recall, the early AV Club and Vox (maybe--I should have kept some notes) were the ones that bugged me most.

What I read hinged on the "season two seems to be doing this--here's how season one did it better" premise, which struck me as a way take potshots at Pizzolatto first and engage with the show second. Even if the hubris stemming from Pizzolatto's (nearly; debatably) sole authorship of the show is to blame for its failings*, there's still a show to be discussed. Meaning doesn't begin and end with the author and can be constructed regardless of their intentions. But it was the easiest thing to spin eight hundred words out of late at night; the fault may not rest at the feet of individual critics so much as the way that discourse is deployed: reactions, then discussion. (Shades of Velcoro's cop-car proselytizing--anybody want some Pedialyte while I'm up?)

Given the way the show did or didn't pan out, the "one-was-better" tag isn't unfair or wrong--I'd argue that it's unvarnished fact--but that to-be-beaten horse was so immediately dead that it just seemed easier to ignore the schadenfreude scrum and try to take the show on its own imperfect terms. Look for flyonthewall2983's "diamonds in the dirt," which was a worthwhile experience.

I won't leap through hoops to defend the show--this isn't some secret masterpiece. The first couple episodes of this season have some outlandishly terrible scenes--Velcoro assaulting the father of his son's bully and the mall meeting with his ex-wife are poorly written, directed, and deployed--and a lot of the scenes in which two people confront one another (often with harsh truths) are pitched-up to degree that would make daytime soap writers wish for a second pass.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Stuff about the season as a whole
The show also fails some of its characters, Jordan and Woodrugh in particular, though the latter may be some sort of muddled indictment, and though Vince Vaughn's slippery performance was enough to sustain my interest on a scene-to-scene basis, in retrospect, I'm not sure it can be called a particularly good one. The basic plotting is also a nightmare; the ninety-minute finale is less an indulgence than a concession to how poorly structured the season is. Along those lines, despite the sweeping conspiracy and the minions that serve it, the season is without a Dudley Smith-style antagonist to personify and animate the monstrosity of institutionalized corruption.


I don't think a deep-dive reconsideration is in order, but the second season is worth investigating beyond its failure to live up to the first season's pedigree. Bad reviews don't need to be without thought.

*Which, yeah, it is.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:16 pm 
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Something interesting I noticed about the two seasons.

Pizzolatto was criticized fairly harshly in certain journalistic circles for the subjugation and lack of depth of his female characters in the first season. This was a criticism I fundamentally disagreed with. The first season, at least to my mind, was about two broken men learning how to be whole again, which included being unable to relate to or co-exist with women as family men/life partners, either because of personal tragedies, or having an unrealistic/dated and ultimately unachievable notion of gender roles and hat perfect male archetype should be.

I would also argue that Michelle Monaghan's Maggie Hart was an extremely well-written and strong character, who was almost always the dominating figure in all of her relationships with men she encountered (her husband, Rust, the two detectives interviewing her, her father, etc.). She was just a complex human being, with a complex set of emotions that included forgiveness for a husband that didn't necessarily deserve it, a willingness to evolve, all with the (vain, as it turns out) hope that things could change for the better for her family.

In essence, it was a show about men behaving badly, partly because they are emotionally fractured, and partly because they think they're just supposed to be to exist in the "male" roles they find themselves in.

I've heard similar criticisms lobbed at Deadwood and Mad Men for having female characters that were almost exclusively prostitutes or secretaries/trophy wives. It's almost like the critics wanted to retrofit history with a politically correct ideal rather than the reality of the historical context. But that's not what those shows are, and by that logic, they are assuming that a prostitute or secretary or trophy wife can't be a character of depth. I would even argue that, to survive in those brutal, male-dominated worlds, they could only be characters of depth, intelligence and complexity.

All three of shows were clearly more than set and costume design, and for the two historical ones, a chronicle of the beginnings of two different periods of feminist thinking.

But season two of True Detective was such a fundamental misfire for me on a writing level, that I am beginning to find the resolution of the two female lead characters offensive.

Ani Bezzerides and Jordan Semyon may have been created by Pizzolatto in retaliation to some of that misplaced criticism of the first season, and they are every bit as complex as the male characters in this season (one might argue a great deal more, if we take into account Paul Woodrugh's characterization), but in the end, both were specifically removed from the various physical confrontations in the last episode by their male counterparts, even though both were probably as equally emotionally damaged, and more qualified to deal with those confrontations than their male counterparts.

And, I know a huge theme of this season was the absence of a paternal presence in a child's emotional development, and that
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Bezzerides and Semyon living on to fight another day, with fatherless child between them, no less, feeds into all of that,
but in the end, it still smells a bit funky to me, like the dudes had to rescue the chicks. But, really, neither one of them deserved being rescued more than the men, and the only reason I can come up with is, they are women, and by default, mothers. Pizolatto was striving for some sort of poetic gender role closure, but it just became ridiculously cliché.

I don't know. There was so little right, and so much wrong about this season, it almost makes me second guess my own opinions for loving the first season so much.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:22 pm 
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jazzo wrote:
There was so little right, and so much wrong about this season, it almost makes me second guess my own opinions for loving the first season so much.

Precisely how I feel. Your insights into the female characters is, I think, spot on.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:15 pm 
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Matthew Weiner tries to get Nic Pizzolatto to smile during a photoshoot


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:30 pm 
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Pizzolatto looks like a guy who subscribes to Esquire


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:34 pm 
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Honestly looks like Sean Parker to me.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:47 pm 
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David Cronenberg turned down True Detective Season Two


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:52 pm 
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Pizzolatto signs new deal with HBO, but no word on season 3 yet


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:13 pm 
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David Milch signs on for season 3


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:24 pm 
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flyonthewall2983 wrote:

This hurts bad


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:48 pm 
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Well that will be the end of that.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:39 pm 
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Did Luck really sour everyone on Milch that much? Oh, he did John from Cincinnati too didn't he. Woof.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:41 pm 
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I think the joke is his series all died premature deaths


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:42 pm 
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Ah. Well, this would be far from premature considering the state of the brand after Season 2


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:55 pm 
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mfunk9786 wrote:
Did Luck really sour everyone on Milch that much? Oh, he did John from Cincinnati too didn't he. Woof.

Wait, what

I meant it hurts to see Milch slumming it with Pizzolatto on True Detective. A writer of his caliber being added to "the team" of a show like True Detective (not even showrunning?!) is a depressing development, but I guess he's gotta pay off those gambling debts somehow and HBO seems trigger shy about putting any more of his original material on the air.

Also i ride hard for J From C, loved that show


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:53 pm 
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Not sure if it's really slumming it, if now his involvement means there's going to be a season 3 at all, which lots of people weren't holding their breath for after the lackluster performance of the last one.

But this also looks like anything Deadwood related is probably not happening now either.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:35 pm 

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pzadvance wrote:
mfunk9786 wrote:
Did Luck really sour everyone on Milch that much? Oh, he did John from Cincinnati too didn't he. Woof.

Wait, what

I meant it hurts to see Milch slumming it with Pizzolatto on True Detective. A writer of his caliber being added to "the team" of a show like True Detective (not even showrunning?!) is a depressing development, but I guess he's gotta pay off those gambling debts somehow and HBO seems trigger shy about putting any more of his original material on the air.

Also i ride hard for J From C, loved that show

I'm basically with you. Milch is one of my favorite living people, let alone artists, and I've been praying for him to at least get in one more series, or the Deadwood film, before (to be blunt) his time runs out. I don't know what to think about this.

I know that Milch and Pizzolatto are mutual fans -- Milch said some nice things about Pizzolatto after Season 1 implying they were acquaintances, and Pizzolatto's so obviously influenced by Milch that Season 2's dialogue felt like Milch-Libs at times.

True Detective Season 1 felt fairly distinctive and well-coordinated (probably due to how long he had to write it) but S2 was an obvious mess as a whole -- some strong sections and even episodes maybe, but for every great scene there were another horrible two. Even Season 1 was hardly the perfect revelation many made it out to be. Fukunaga's direction was incredibly central to its success.

On the other hand, Deadwood is possibly the greatest series of all time, and Luck is really a masterpiece I've watched many many times and which works beautifully as a distillation of both Milch's trademark humanism and Mann's liquid, ephemeral camera-eye. And yes, even JFC is a pretty great show for what it is, even if it's significantly more flawed than the other two -- it's a genuine attempt from the heart, not some intentional obfuscated puzzle.

So to now have Milch join Pizzolatto's show (which also puts the Deadwood movie in question) is just... not right. I dunno, I guess it's plausible that it's one of the ways to help him pay back his debts, and given his admiration for the show he could pick far worse places to work... but it's just somewhat akin to a Magnolia-era PTA hiring Scorsese and Altman as co-writers, humble servants to his grand vision.

And even besides that, the idea brings up all sorts of questions. Milch tended to basically write all the shows he created, even if he had others pitching in ideas and nominally getting their name on the script. He pretty much directed the actors on set, too, which is why Mann's strict approach in keeping him off-set created such friction on Luck. And then Pizzolatto is very much similar, if not the same; a control-freak or at least a guy who wants to be an "auteur." How will this be any more practical than the Mann-Milch arrangement? And what the hell would a True Detective co-written by Milch even look/sound/feel like, anyway? Pizzolatto so thoroughly apes Milch's distinctive dialogue rhythms, character and thematic tropes, et al, that the whole idea seems faintly preposterous, besides a little insulting to Milch.

Look, I know the guy's not a slave. I'm sure he's fairly happy with this, and maybe it's more of a casual process of lending his thoughts to whichever episodes he feels like. Additionally, maybe it's more of a bit of insurance on HBO's part that Season 3 doesn't turn out like the previous one. Milch may have made John From Cincinnati, and he may be infamous for an improvisation-heavy, last-minute-script-changes kind of approach on set, but (besides JFC's messiness being also down to HBO cutting the episode count, and a very rushed pre-prod period) Milch is also an old hand who knows how to churn out a fucking script, knows the ins and outs, how to structure a season, how not to miss the forest for the trees. Deadwood did have a digressive narrative approach at times (mostly confined to a couple paths taken in Season 3), but at its core it was very very tightly written -- as was Luck. This could be more of a case of Milch guiding Pizzolatto (who I'm sure would be happy to have such a guide), than Pizzolatto have Milch at his bidding, or whatever.

But still, I'm left with my first impression.... err, what?


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:28 am 
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Third season to star Mahershala Ali


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:56 am 
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Hopefully this time Pizzolato can craft something worth remembering. He wrote Season 2 in less than a year. The first took about eight years. Obviously it was plain as day that this was the case. Excited nonetheless.


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