HBO has shaped the landscape of modern television with multiple masterpieces, ranging from The Sopranos to The Wire. In many ways, HBO has set the standards for excellent storytelling through the unique medium of television. One such show is often ranked among those critically acclaimed gems, but it has failed to impress one of the most influential filmmakers of our time – Quentin Tarantino.
True Detective has been renewed for several seasons, but none of the subsequent episodes captures the philosophical dread and meditative existentialism of the first season, starring the likes of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, among others. Structured as a neo-noir crime thriller, True Detective is a sprawling exploration of the hidden recesses of the human psyche and the depths of human depravity.
In an interview, show creator, Nic Pizzolatto, said: “I’ve always been one of those people affected by my surroundings. I think of the landscape as the third lead in True Detective… I certainly have crime fiction authors I love, but I am not a genre guy. I pushed myself into the crime genre because I like a plot. Most of my artistic obsessions—time, memory, character, the unknowability of our lives—that all fits very nicely under sort of existentialism of crime fiction embraced by noir.”
Adding, “I just like a good story. Fundamentally, I am always concerned about character, and I think you see that in True Detective. I am not interested in serial killers and I am not in some competition to see who can come up with the most disgusting serial killer. I am just concerned about the humanism of these characters locked in this situation. And if you are going to trade in realistic plots, the ones that feature some form of criminality are the ones that are easiest for me to latch onto.”
Contrary to the popular opinion as well as the critical consensus, Tarantino stated that he wasn’t interested in the premise of True Detective. While he enjoyed shows like How I Met Your Mother and The Newsroom, the veteran filmmaker expressed his visceral hatred for the presentation as well as the core of the show’s material.
He commented: “I tried to watch the first episode of season one, and I didn’t get into it at all. I thought it was really boring. And season two looks awful. Just the trailer—all these handsome actors trying to not be handsome and walking around looking like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. It’s so serious, and they’re so tortured, trying to look miserable with their moustaches and grungy clothes.”