True Detective returned last weekend for season 2 with an all-new cast: Rachel McAdam, Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughan and Taylor Kitsch.
The first series attracted rave reviews, nearly universally. And good it was, if weird in places.
The second season opener followed the same pattern very closely – a troubled moody cop in an interview room, followed by initially disconnected flashbacks. We don’t know nor understand much of what’s going on but it definitely holds the attention with no shortage of dramatic moments.
It’s almost a carbon copy of last year’s episode 1 in structural terms, and last year plaudits followed, to an almost hysterical level.
This year the reviews are more mixed though the story and the actors are if anything better.
It seems almost as if some critics and some publications have decided to adopt a contrarian view as a strategy to stand out from the crowd. Except that many other outfits had the same idea and the pack have ended up in largely the same place. Again. But on the negative side of the argument.
Is it because True Detective is no longer niche? Or new? Or is just uncool to like it when almost everybody seems to?
Is the way to attract attention, readers and web clicks to find an angle of attack whether it’s deserved or not and rain on the parade long and hard, irrespective of what’s actually happening on-screen? Of how good or bad what we’re actually watching is?
A cynical approach surely but increasingly common, online at least. If the Easter Bunny and Unicorns turned out to be real tomorrow, or world hunger and poverty alleviated, you can bet someone would find a negative perspective in order to chase the viral wave and elbow themselves to the front of the optic queue.
It’s a cheap and tawdry tactic and hopefully one that falls flat.
Nuanced reality is much more interesting if harder to produce and lets hope it wins out. Or at least survives.