‘True Detective’: Where Season 2 Took A Detour

True Detective‘s first season was called “one of the best shows of the year” and “serious, excellent television,” but the entire sophomore season has been getting mostly grief.

Fans of the premiere season of True Detective eagerly awaited Season 2 and seemed excited by the casting of Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch, but after the first episode of the season aired it was clear they weren’t happy with True Detective and things never really picked up over the 8-episode run.

Here’s three reasons True Detective went wrong in its second season.

True Detective‘s Story Crumbled Under Its Own Excess Flab

The basic story of True Detective stems from the investigation of three police officers into the death of a crooked city manager. That plot point would be stretched way too thin to cover the eight and a half hours of the season, so creator, Nic Pizzolatto, was forced to throw a bunch of other elements into the story that didn’t necessarily fit or make sense.

This made the mystery at the heart of True Detective, at best, hard to unravel or, at worst, impossible to even understand. Not because it was deep, layered and complex, but because key elements were hidden until late into the run of the season and the murderer ended up being a character who the audience was only introduced to once and very briefly.

There Were No Real Personal Stakes For The Main Characters

In order for an audience to get into any story, the protagonist(s) need to have reasons to do the things they do and rising stakes that drive them toward their goal. None of the four main characters in True Detective: Ray (Colin Farrell), Frank (Vince Vaughn), Ani (Rachel McAdams), and Paul (Taylor Kitsch), had anything beyond a vague connection to the main mystery they were investigating beyond the fact that it was their job to continue to investigate.

It just wasn’t strong enough to get behind the characters.

The Debt Owed To Season One of True Detective

True Detective‘s first season used the jumps backward and forward in time and the chemistry between its leads, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, to keep the show moving even when the story got a little plodding.

But Season 2 went through time in a linear fashion and the addition of an extra two main characters seemed to dilute any chemistry that could have served this season of True Detective‘s story.

Season 1 of True Detective had a consistency in its look and feel with one director, Cary Fukunaga, at the helm. His absence and the addition of multiple directors created a fragmented atmosphere where Fukunaga’s contribution created a tense, anxious atmosphere which only enhanced the story.

From the sounds of it, despite the lacklustre performance of this season, HBO is looking at a potential third season for True Detective. Here’s hoping this is just a sophomore slump and the next season will see a return of the best parts of the first season with a dash of something fresh.

[Image courtesy HBO via Zap2it]