Thursday, January 17, 2019

What I’m Watching: True Detective (Season Premiere)

True Detective: Season 3, Episodes 1 and 2 “The Great War and Modern Memory” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” (B-)

This is a show that’s had a rocky road. Its first season premiered to critical acclaim and earned many awards. Its second was reviled and barely merited any mentions. Now, three and a half years after its previous season, it’s back with an all-new cast and new premise. Unfortunately, its issues aren’t resolved, and, to me, this feels like the more of the mopey, moody misery that often overwhelmed the first season and certainly dominated the second. It’s appropriate that Mahershala Ali is making his return to television just as he’s headed towards his second Oscar win, following his first trophy that was awarded to him just after he got an Emmy nomination for “House of Cards” and starred in the first season of “Luke Cage.” He’s a good actor, and this is a decent role for him, but it’s nowhere near anything else he’s done before, and not as compelling as the wearied performances delivered by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in season one. There are many familiar faces in the cast, like Stephen Dorff as his partner, Mamie Gummer as the abducted kids’ mother, Sarah Gadon as the documentarian, Carmen Ejogo as Wayne’s wife, and Scoot McNairy as the grieving father. There’s also Josh Hopkins of “Cougar Town” and Jon Tenney of “The Closer” as the investigators interrogating Wayne in one of the many time periods focused here. Showcasing him as a white-haired man reflecting back on his testimony from twenty-five years earlier of events that happened ten years before that seems like too much, and these episodes came off as very dense as a result. The police brutality is nothing new, but it’s still unsettling, and there isn’t really anything here that makes this show stand out. With only eight episodes that are likely to earn some sort of awards attention, I’m considering continuing, but I think I know what I’m in for, and I’m already not into it.

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