Throwback – True Detective

Ahh, True Detective Season 1 (who are we kidding, that other season with Colin Farrell doesn’t exist).

True Detective is a televised triumph. A lot of TV shows are good, and passable, and I’ll kick back and watch it every week because it engages me, but it’s not like every episode of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead has been so incredibly captivating that you can’t look away… True Detective manages this, and that is one of the many reasons as to why it’s so special.

“It’s like magic. I think I got to Rust’s first monologue and within thirty minutes it had sunk it’s gritty, sharp teeth into me and I couldn’t shake it off”

I watched this show in the space of a day, and it was easily one of the best TV experiences I’ve ever had. It manages to thread that line where, the story doesn’t need so much interim reflection that you can just binge it, but that does not in any manner take away from the narrative punch of the series. It’s like magic. I think I got to Rust’s monologue and within thirty minutes it had sunk it’s gritty, sharp teeth into me and I couldn’t shake it off.

The characters are all effortlessly alluring, but the star of the show Rust Cohle is by far my favourite protagonist in any TV show. It’s important to note that I’d never really seen Matthew McConaughey in anything that flexed his acting chops properly, but this series convinced me that he is one of the best in the world. His sharp philosophical rhetoric somehow isn’t patronising, and the writers do well to make him endearing, and not just some kind of pseudo-intellectual hipster. I was on the edge of everything he said. His knife-edge morality reminded me of The Joker, both enigmatic entities that manage to pervade the medium and affect you.

He’s also impeccably dressed. His costume design from his hair to his boots turn him into a calculated, attractive mystery that will engrave itself into your noggin for years beyond the finale. A style icon and a masterpiece of a character, I can only assume the sense of pride Pizzolatto and the team must have had when they wrapped the show. Of course, let’s not forget Woody Harrelson as his more grounded sidekick Marty, a man constrained by human dogma, and an excellent use of a character as a medium to explore the follies of hegemonic masculinity and break through Rust’s oppressive monologues with colloquial flair.

“There’s no filler – each episode leaves you with an almost occult fascination with what might come next”

It’s flabbergasting to even consider all of the incredible set pieces the show takes you on during its 8-episode lifespan. There’s no filler, and due to the focus on developing character each episode leaves you with an almost occult fascination with what might come next. It’s a truly inspired work, and it wears its influences on its sleeve, from Schopenhauer to ‘The King in Yellow’ and right back around to Nietzsche. It’s crime drama setting is merely the rocks in this fine whiskey glass of a show, and the burning bourbon elixir that fills it is a stunning work of art that cannot be missed.

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