Television: True Detective, Season 2

Finally caught up, and the finale of True Detective really just left me with the question: "Why is James Frain such an asshole?" (I'm sure he's truly a very nice man. But he does asshole quite well.)

I'll say again that the first season was so amazing one couldn't really have hoped or expected this one to match it. The tone in Season 2 was similar to the first, and . . . the filters? They were going for grit, but it was the story that fell flat for me. A bunch of land or property or whatever? It amounted to a turf war, I think, and that kind of thing doesn't interest me much.

They could have done more with the characters, gone deeper. But with more characters sharing the screen in the same amount of hours, I guess they had to stay in shallower waters. I'm a character person, so when given a wonky, un-engaging plot and not much character development, I'm generally underwhelmed.

The pacing was a bit weird, too. Those first four episodes dragged up to that tipping point at which they finally hit the meat of the story (after leaping ahead in time). By then it was almost too late to salvage the season; most viewers and critics were already annoyed and/or bored. I understand why the season was written and constructed the way it was, but that doesn't make me like it any better.

Still, I'll probably watch whatever they do next. The third season is always the true test, I think, after a stellar first outing. When Season 1 is amazing, Season 2 is necessarily going to be a sophomore slump, and Season 3 will be the point at which one can determine whether Season 1 was a fluke of beginner's luck or if there's any real talent in the work. (No pressure, guys.)

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