Hey TV.com, Should I Watch HBO's True Detective?

By Tim Surette

Jan 11, 2014

It's barely past the first week of January and already television is slapping you around with so many new shows that your face is probably getting pretty sore. But you're going to have to rub some dirt on it or put an ice pack on your cheek because the new TV will not stop! Case in point: the latest offering from HBO, a highly touted drama called True Detective. But is it worth another smack on your money-maker? I've seen the first episode, and I'll help you figure that out in another edition of Help! My TV Is Hitting Me, Make it Stop, TV.com! 


True Detective, so this is a True Blood spin-off about vampire detectives?

Well, Matthew McConaughey's gaunt face may make him look like he's an undead bloodsucker, but no. This limited series follows a pair of Louisiana detectives called upon when their old murder case that was closed some 17 years ago is reopened. The narrative bounces around between the two timelines, checking in on the cops today and following the original investigation.


Whose show is this, and who's in it?

The series was created by author Nick Pizzolatto, who wrote every episode; Cary Fukunaga directed every episode. But the names in lights belong to Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, two movie-star buddies who co-star. Michelle Monaghan and Kevin Dunn also star.



When does True Detective get to detecting?

True Detective premieres Sunday, January 12 at 9pm on HBO. It's a miniseries, but it also has a chance to live on, American Horror Story-style. If it gets picked up for another season, it will feature a new case and new actors. (It will get picked up for another season.)  


Who might enjoy True Detective?

Fans of slow-moving psychological crime dramas, for sure. Think Top of the Lake, Broadchurch, and to some extent, Hannibal.


What's to like about True Detective?

Almost all of it, really. The acting is top-notch, with McConaughey excelling and making us forget what a boyish and goofy Texas boy he is in real life. And Fukunaga's direction boasts a very keen eye; True Detective is beautiful, and the shots are well-thought-out. The case is secondary to the characters—this isn't so much a mystery as it is an examination of the tolls of violence and those who investigate The series is sharp all around. Also, a Game of Thrones trailer is debuting right before it. That counts, right?


What isn't so great about True Detective?

It's slow. And I mean really slow. Especially the first hour. Brew a gallon of coffee, mainline some 5-Hour Energy, snort some Pixie Stix. You'll need a bit of help to get over that initial hump. Maybe eat that giant turkey burrito after watching the premiere? Also, it's not exactly light. "Entertaining" isn't the word I'd use to describe the series... maybe "gripping" is a better choice.


So, should I watch it?

If all of the above sounds good to you, then definitely. True Detective will be on many critics' Top 10 lists by the end of 2014 


Let's take a look at a trailer!

You got it!




True Detective premieres Sunday, January 12 at 9pm on HBO.


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  • tck980544 Apr 29, 2014

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  • tck980544 Apr 29, 2014

    [img src="http://www.tv.com/users/tck980544/avatar/small.jpg" data-user-popup="tck980544"&
    BAALER SHOW SALA....BAAL BICHI EPISODE SARADIN....BOKCHOD ACTOR...GANDU CHODA MATHHU MACOGNY...CHUDE REKHE DEBO SALA BANCHOD EROM BOKCHOD MARKA POST DEKHLE...BABAR BIE DEBO SALA...SALA TOR MA KE CHUDI...TOR KUTTA KE DIE TOR MA KE CHUDI...BARA TOR BABA MAER BF SALA UTUBE E CHARBO BOKACHODA....TUI BARA GAR MARACHHIS,,BOKACHODA...BYARA CHODA....SALA BAKK

  • EsmeBuffay Jan 12, 2014

    It sounds like it might be too heavy for me, I like heavy, but alot of dramas start you out on a lighter note, not everyone's miserable yet but there's so trouble, that's the balance I like but it almost never achieved successfully in tv series (Shameless so far has done a pretty good job as balancing levity and tragedy), movies can do it sometimes because they don't have to last as long but for tv shows they keep piling on the misery and eventually the characters stop smiling altogether. That's how it's become in Sons of Anarchy, nobody's having fun anymore (except Happy), they're just trying not to get killed, which kind of bums me out to be honest. But even so, I'll give it a shot just because I've caught up on everything and I've finished Merlin so I don't have anything to watch.

  • ale00928 Jan 12, 2014

    For what I read around Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson will only play in the first Miniserie (I don´t want to call it season). Then the second miniserie will have another story, another actors/ actresses and will be an independent show, with some basic common things that relate each miniserie.
    Kind of American Horror Story with different people each time. I like this idea very much (that is how HOMELAND should have gone) and I am for sure going to watch it.

  • EsmeBuffay Jan 12, 2014

    I believe it's called an anthology.

  • ale00928 Jan 12, 2014

    Anthologies are a published collection of writings (such as poems or short stories) by different authors. This is TV, and I think it´s called Miniseries.
    It is a regular series when it goes into several seasons, but it is a miniseries when it is only "one season". Like Top of the Lake. But I could be wrong, english is not my mother tongue.

  • Marburg66 Jan 13, 2014

    You're not wrong about the definition of anthology as it relates to print, but common use of the term evolved with the invention of radio and later with the invention of television. As it relates to TV, examples of anthologies are Twilight Zone, Masterpiece Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Love American Style, Police Story, Underbelly, Amazing Stories, American Horror Story, Tales From the Darkside & so on.
    Since True Detective is planned to move on to another season with a new case and cast, 'anthology' is indeed the proper term. I hope that helps clarify the difference.

  • ale00928 Jan 13, 2014

    Ok, thanks, so it is anthologies then ;)

  • noelrk Staff Jan 12, 2014

    I'll chime in: I've seen the first two episodes, and for the first time in a very long while, I wish I were willing to pay for premium cable. Top notch stuff.

  • edshrinker Jan 13, 2014

    Or for the less eeeevil (lol) EZTV is my provider of choice. Shows up 5 minutes after airing.

  • Draconax Jan 12, 2014

    This is why PirateBay exists. I mean...wut?

  • noelrk Staff Jan 13, 2014

    I don't illegally download. *shrug*

  • ted2332 Jan 12, 2014

    I think it would have to be hard for this not to be excellent.
    From what little I have seen and heard about this, it sounds like the excellent Canadian show from a few years back, Durham County.

  • Abelak Jan 12, 2014

    Durham County is the single best thing my country has ever produced. (That and Tatiana Maslany.)

  • Kono_AT Jan 12, 2014

    I will definitely watch it. Woody and Matthew in one TV show together: what's not to like about it?

  • Sproxar Jan 12, 2014

    @Tim: you could have saved a lot of words by just saying "YES!"

    And to those of you worried it might be too slow for you, watch it anyway. And put away your phone and your iPad, and whatever other techno-gee-jaws you like to play with when watching TV while you're at it. We're all getting too ADHD these days. Watching something without non-stop action and explosions in it will do you good.

  • MikeUK123 Jan 12, 2014

    Well...... I would say it is the job of the show to make us want to focus on it exclusively. Good stories, with well developed unique characters, without forced drama should do it.

  • JayAtkinson Jan 12, 2014

    Michelle Monaghan is also in this, as well? Okay, I'm sold.

  • edshrinker Jan 13, 2014

    Tom Brady says: Hey I'd hit that! Oh..wait

  • the_TV_Titan Jan 12, 2014

    I second that! She is gorgeous and a great actress. Really excited for this show.

  • JayAtkinson Jan 13, 2014

    Exactly, plus she seems to have impeccable taste in projects. I can't think of a single thing I've seen her in that I haven't overall loved!

  • terminaltrip421 Jan 12, 2014

    it may sound stupid but while I was totally looking forward to this, after that trailer featured alex daddario lifting her shirt off in a teasing fashion I had reservations. I hate when premium channels tease nudity. I enjoy nudity and I don't get it on cable tv. so if daddario's scene in the trailer had just been no more than a rouse to draw in viewers I would have called shenanigans and told HBO to shove it. it turns out daddario actually shows the goods. and so I look forward to watching this and knowing that not everyone's a sucker for a named someone who refuses to do the nudity the script asks for. chiqrui in the borgias, danes in homeland, that chick from chuck in dexter. I guess maybe only HBO shows have the pull or balls to make it happen anymore. though p. arquette in boardwalk empire didn't do teh noods despite her two sex scenes, the show did get every other pretty new comer to.

    in all seriousness I do look forward to the show as a fan of both woody and matthew and well acted shows even if slow moving.

  • JackSaat Jan 12, 2014

    The slow part may kill it for me, :S But I sure will give it a try!

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