Horror of Horrors: HBO’s True Detective


Guys…we may have a problem. I am about to take back something that I said a long time ago, and something that hopefully will not get me in hot water with any of you. However, at this point, I think we may all be reaching the same conclusion. It really does pain me to say this….but I like Matthew McConaughey. Ugh…it hurts. It hurts so bad…..yet….it’s starting to feel slightly good. It’s like a goddamned brainwashing. There’s something happening with his career in recent years. It’s like back a few years ago when everyone starting realizing that Tommy Lee Jones is actually a great actor and should be put into nearly everything. Not everything I guess, as there were a few Air Buds movies that came out during that time, but everything that was good. They seem to be following that similar pattern with Matt nowadays, but personally, that doesn’t show quite nearly enough as it does with his new project, and something that has me hooked on dialogue alone. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, and trust me, it is horrifying, HBO’s True Detective.

I am still not entirely sure if it is supposed to be a brand new series that will have multiple seasons, or if it is just a sort of maxi series. HBO tends to be somewhat vague sometimes, and although I could google the answer, I would prefer not to, mainly because I don’t want to be disappointed if the answer proves to be maxi. I would love to have multiple seasons of this. The story centers around two detectives, played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. If Woody isn’t enough to make you want to watch this, then let me sell you on the rest. The story bounces back and forth between 2012 and back in the day when Woody and Matt first became partners. Things nowadays aren’t completely kosher between the two, and unraveling what happened between them is a mystery in its own right. If I was to say that within the first ten minutes, I wanted to know what happened between these two more than I wanted to know what happened during the entire series of Lost, it would be extremely appropriate. You have no idea. It all seems to stem from a specific case that they worked on, which brings us back to when they first started being partners.

matt and woody

Matt and Woody play Louisianna detectives quite well to be honest. I have been watching a lot of cop dramas recently, and it boggles my mind that with all the technology and googles we have these days, cops seem to have just as much difficulty in solving crimes as they did back then. No computers on the desk, no giant smart boards with pictures and constantly updating facts. Everything was done by hand and in person. Paperwork for days, and talking to suspects for hours on end was the norm, much like it is today, but it just seemed so much more important back then. I can’t really put my finger on it, but without all that sort of technology and blood tests, cops and detectives had to rely on mainly gut instinct and solid detective/police work to get the info they needed. Matt and Woody put that sort of knowledge to good use in attempting to hunt a murderer who is at large, and by at large, I mean we have no idea who the fuck he is, but he’s into some weird backwoods-y type things…..like murdering a girl and then posing her on a tree trunk while fashioning a crown of twigs and leaves for her. Brutal right? That’s not even the half of it.

matt and woody 2

Woody is radiant in his performance of a family man detective, whereas McConaughey plays the sort of fucked up detective who has these sort of instincts that make him think along the lines of the killer, but not cross that line. He has a drinking problem, but uses his deductive skills for good. His creepiness is only matched by his actual ability to do his job, which doesn’t seem to sit well with his coworkers. He doesn’t take shit, but he is not an instigator. Woody is the more experienced of the two, and actually has a working family that doesn’t seem to mind that he’s a cop. Usually it seems like cops and detectives have the worst family lives due to the job, but he seems to dodge that bullet. Good for him. I really love the interaction between the two detectives. It is a very dialogue heavy show, which may turn some people off, but if you sit and listen to it, it’s fucking stellar. McConoaghey plays almost two different people as his past self is greatly different from his 2012 persona, which again plays into making me want to know what the hell happened between them. If you notice how reserved and weird he is as his younger self compared to his older and more “don’t give a fuck” attitude, it seriously makes you wonder what could possibly make a man take a turn like that in personality. Woody stays almost the same, but he seems to have this sort of impatience that he didn’t really have as a slightly younger detective. Just goes to show what that kind of job could do to a man.

true det matt 2012

Now when I say that this is a dialogue heavy show, I really mean that it is a dialogue heavy show. There isn’t going to be really any action, and there isn’t going to be gun fights the likes of what you are used to, but what it does have more than makes up for the lack of shootouts. The dialogue and the story itself is top notch as I have mentioned before. The back and forth, the way things are said and the way things are done with more subtlety than flash really makes you work and pay attention. You can’t be doing laundry in the background while watching this show and as bad as it sounds, you cannot watch this show with someone who asks a lot of questions or is not into dialogue heavy shows. It will makes things difficult. I know that may sound like a dick thing to say, but it’s something that needs to be said. If you miss any line of dialogue, or if you miss any sort of important spots, you are going to miss crucial pieces of info and crucial evidence. I cannot tell you how many times I was glad I had listened to a specific line of dialogue as it becomes important later on. It makes you work for your enjoyment, and I love that. It doesn’t happen very often these days.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this show and about Woody and Matt…..no offense to Woody but Matt specifically in this. He just seems to be doing something that is making him dominate this fucking role. Woody is doing an amazing job as always, but your eye will gravitate towards McConaughey while watching this show. We are now two episodes in, and although I have watched both, I am going to watch them both again just because I need to, and you most likely find yourselves thinking the same thing. I implore you all to give this show a shot. I know it may not seem too horror based, but if my instincts are correct, we are going to see some pretty fucked up shit coming up before the end.

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About Arthur Harkness

I like things, and things like me back

Posted on January 21, 2014, in Features, Geekology, Horror of Horrors, Reviews, TV and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this since I saw the trailer a few months back, looks like I was asleep at the wheel though for the premier. Your review has me even more intrigued. This seems like it’s right up ‘ol Biff’s alley.

  2. well that’s a bummer haha. however, American Horror Story has proven to me as well that anthology series style shows aren’t necessarily bad haha. i’m still going to keep checking it out even if they don;t have Matt and Woody, just because it’s hooking me already Also, as an edit to the article itself, I understand Woody may not have the best family life, but it still is a family life. Just thought I would throw that out there. Thanks!!!

  3. I agree, the show is fantastic. Probably one of the best shows in ages. Also, you are correct about McConaughey. He really is a very good actor. No more rom-coms for him it seems, only stuff that actually challenges the man. Check out Wolf of Wall Street for a short but brilliant performance, Killer Joe or Mud as well.

    And sadly, he and Harrelson will only be in this series. True Detective is intended to be an anthology series with a new cast and a new case every year. Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it for what it is though.

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