Television: HBO Sunday

So last night featured the new season of True Detective and the debuts of Ballers and The Brink.

I'm not sure how I feel about True Detective. In part, the show is likely suffering from heightened expectations. The first season was so phenomenal that it's almost impossible to recapture that. Also, I have ties to Louisiana, and even to the particular case in which a woman was found murdered in a cane field in Erath, so . . . There was no way a series set in SoCal was going to hit me the same way. Finally, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey just had such great chemistry, and it's not clear that Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell do (or even that they will share the screen that often).

What this season does serve up is a similar tone. The same dirty camera filters and yellowish lighting that suggests a haze of nicotine over everything. Still, I'm not sure I care about any of these characters. And there are almost too many of them this time around: Vaughn and Farrell and McAdams and Kitsch, and then of course McAdams and Farrell each have partners, and Vaughn has a lackey, and Kitsch has a girlfriend, etc. etc.

There are hints of Pizzolatto's fascination with cults, and there is a central murder that sets the stage for something that may be interesting, but on the whole I wasn't wowed. Maybe it will stitch together in a weird and wonderful way; I'll keep watching for now.

I wanted to try Ballers because (a) I had somewhat enjoyed Entourage back in the day (and Ballers is just Entourage with football players), and (b) I do love Dwayne Johnson. But I didn't find this one that entertaining or funny, so I don't know if I'll bother to watch it again.

The Brink was slightly funnier. Barely. Maybe HBO's humor just isn't my humor (Mr John Oliver being the great exception because I adore him). And, yeah, I do dislike the gratuitous sex and naked women that HBO serves up so regularly. A lot of it seems to be there for the sake of being there, sort of a, "Hey! We can get away with it because we're not network!" Sigh. Still, I'll probably give The Brink another go, more likely to stick with it than Ballers.

I guess if HBO gets its wish, I'll just leave the TV on between True Detective (assuming I keep watching this season) and John Oliver. It's a possibility.

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