HBO has convinced an Oscar-winning actor to join the cast of True Detective – but has it convinced fans?
In March, the network was still pondering whether to green-light the show’s third season.
True Detective proved to be one of HBO’s most divisive shows to date: critics and fans were split between their unconditional love for the first season and bitter disappointment with the second.
This week it announced that not only had a third season been ordered, but a main actor had also been cast.
Enter Mahershala Ali, fresh off an Oscar win for his supporting role in Moonlight.
Ali is a great actor, and his silent strength fits in well with the show’s style. But it won’t be enough to convince disgruntled fans to return for a third take.
True Detective’s second season was a mess.
It started off promising, with Colin Farrell’s depressed cowboy acting as a great antidote to Vince Vaughn’s overly sensitive gangster.
In the end, it failed because it lacked the vision of the first season and had too many plot points and directors to finish on the right tone.
The show’s creator, young novelist Nick Pizzolato, found a great match in Cari Joji Fukunaga, who directed the first season.
The two men complemented each other, and restrained each other’s style. The result was a fine, balanced act.
In season two, Fukunaga and Pizzolato broke up due to creative differences and the writer hired seven mercenary directors to put his words into pictures.
This time, we need assurance the same mistake won’t be repeated.
The third season needs one director and fewer plot points.
It also needs Pizzolato to tone down on the philosophical dialogues and focus on the characters.
Matthew McConaughey’s Rust and Woody Harrelson’s Marty stole the show the first time around because it was about them, not about the crime.
Farrell and Vaughn failed to do the same because their surroundings became too big for them to grasp. The plot too thick for them to unravel and the scenery too dark for them to shine on.
Rumour has it, Pizzolato is working with writer David Milch – the creative mind behind HBO’s Deadwood.
If confirmed, it could be enough to curb Pizzolato’s writing and assure fans that a third take is worth our time.