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Klavan On The Culture

My “True Detective” Mini-Blog

February 28th, 2014 - 7:55 am

Readers of this blog might also be interested in a temporary mini-blog I’ve got going over at David Horowitz’s FrontPage Mag. The brilliant David and his likewise brilliant colleague Peter Collier and I were chatting about the HBO crime series True Detective. Many have hailed it as the next great crime show in this era of great crime shows. Me, I’m not so sure. So David and I decided I would blog for the remaining two episodes of the show, asking the question: is this thing really any good or, like, what? It’s lots of fun — though there are spoilers, so if you haven’t been watching, you might want to hold off reading. Anyway, here’s a sample and a link:

The biggest mystery at the center of the new HBO crime series True Detective is this: is this a good show or not? When the first episode ended, I thought, “I don’t know if that was great or mediocre.” Six of eight episodes in, I’m still not at all sure.

In part, this is a problem endemic to mystery stories: endings are dispositive. AMC’s The Killing had everything it took to be a great crime series — acting, atmosphere, intelligence, suspense — until the idiotic solutions rendered it second rate. The ending of Crime and Punishment secures the novel’s status as a work of genius, whereas the ending of Woody Allen’s attempt to nullify Crime and Punishment —Match Point — reveals the film as nothing deeper than you would expect from a really smart undergrad philosophizing over pizza and beer.

So we may not know the full truth about True Detective until the final hour’s close. But how’s it doing so far?

Read the rest here. There’ll be more soon.

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At the end of your post you said that TD was all about the writer, which is spot on IMHO. Pizzolatto, (whose name reminds me of a rather unorthodox menu choice in an Italian restaurant), looks to be a pretty able literary writer. Not to add to a fine post by a seasoned crime guy, but it's like he's marrying his literary talents with the grit of a crime story- sort of like that funny-sounding food/drink combo surname. Pizzolatto, I suspect, is one of these geniuses who happened to be born and raised in a solidly working class family and neighborhood.

This all makes, for this viewer anyway, unusually interesting entertainment. Then there's that whole Yellow King subtext which has some bloggers going nuts looking for the use of the color yellow and using the weird fiction classic The King in Yellow to exegete True Detective. (Google: The One Literary Reference You Must Know to Appreciate ​True Detective ).
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