True Detective fans have been dealt a crushing blow today, with the revelation that creator Nick Pizzolatto will be moving on to other projects at HBO, making a third season of the crime thriller increasingly unlikely.
Rumors about True Detective‘s cancellation have circulated ever since the critical failure of Season 2, featuring Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, and Rachel McAdams, but True Detective hasn’t officially been canceled just yet – but it could be very soon.
After long-time HBO head of programming Michael Lombardo stepped down last week, the incoming HBO program chief has his sights set elsewhere, on a different project from True Detective creator Nick Pizzolatto. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the final decision rests on HBO’s new programming chief, Casey Bloys, who is reportedly more interested in putting Pizzolatto on a new project rather than another season of True Detective.
Lombardo himself had previously taken the blame for True Detective’s uninspired sophomore slump, stating that he put too much pressure on Pizzolatto to deliver too much too quickly after the runaway success enjoyed by Season 1 – and the stellar performances given by leads Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
“Well, you know what? I set him up to deliver in a very short timeframe, something that became very challenging to deliver. That’s not what the show is. He had to reinvent the wheel so to speak. Find his muse. And so I think that’s what I learned from it, don’t do that anymore,” said Michael Lombardo, speaking with the Frame.
True Detective’s first season was met with near universal praise from critics and audiences alike, who found the slow-burning crime thriller to be engrossing, soulful, and wonderfully original. The Independent goes so far as to call True Detective Season 1 a “modern classic” and a “brilliantly realized crime anthology,” while characterizing Season 2 as a “sprawling mess.”
HBO execs were eager to replicate the success of True Detective’s first outing, and according to the Hollywood Reporter, the increased pressure coupled with tight deadlines ended up producing a second season which many critics have called inferior to the first. Former HBO head of programming, Michael Lombardo, elaborated during an interview with the Frame, stating that the deadlines he placed on writer Nick Pizzolatto may have caused the second season of True Detective to underperform.
Pizzolatto, says Lombardo, had worked on True Detective Season 1 at his own pace, writing out a fully-realized story which he’d been able to think about and gestate for years. In an effort to recapture that success, Lombardo admits that he was overzealous, and too much of a “network executive” when pushing for True Detective Season 2 to hit production deadlines.
ScreenCrush echoes the sentiment that True Detective‘s second season may have been its last, stating that the critical failure of Season 2 has made a third outing a remote possibility, despite the fact that HBO hasn’t yet announced an official end to the series.
While True Detective could still make a comeback, Pizzolatto’s involvement in other projects does seem to indicate that fans may have seen the last of HBO’s thoughtful crime thriller. It’s also worth noting that promotional materials for HBO Now, the premium network’s online streaming service, list Seasons 1 and 2 of True Detective as the “complete series,” the same language used to describe other shows which have concluded, including Girls and Deadwood.
HBO’s new chief of programming is likely to make some changes to the lineup, but it remains unclear whether or not the network will take a chance on another season of True Detective after the underwhelming reception of the much-maligned Season 2.
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