True Detective S2 First Reviews Are Varied

One of the most anticipated TV titles this year is HBO’s second season of its anthology series “True Detective”. With a whole new cast of characters and storyline, many have been wondering if the new season will live up to the stellar quality of the first.

The first three episodes have been delivered to various press outlets and the reaction so far is very divided. Here’s some key excerpts from various published reviews so far:

Variety: “Those expecting anything approaching the magic conjured by the original Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson pairing should immediately temper their enthusiasm for True Detective’s second season. Impeccably cast around its marquee stars, the new plot possesses the requisite noir-ish qualities, but feels like a by-the-numbers potboiler… once the ball gets rolling, though, the new ‘Detective’ feels increasingly mundane – in tone and style, a bit like a lesser Michael Mann movie stretched out in episodic form. Part of that might have to do with the necessity of serving the multiple leads, at the expense of the focus on two that the first enjoyed.

Esquire: “Based on the three episodes HBO sent to critics, the second season of True Detective is nearly as addictive as the first. It poses as a potboiler, but it’s really an exercise in genre fused with existentialism. This time, instead of ‘The King in Yellow,’ a copy of the ‘Hagakure’ sits on a coffee table. It’s the kind of show in which gangsters say things like ‘Never do anything out of hunger.’ Not even eat. and crooked cops say things like ‘We get the world we deserve.'”

The Hollywood Reporter: “The first season of True Detective was a magical melding of writing, acting and directing (and music, and yes, even plot for the most part) that gave viewers something memorable, if not perfect. At least in the first three episodes of True Detective season two, that magic is missing. Maybe when the various strands of the complicated story come together, the payoff will be there… Or none of that could happen. And what we’ll get is a sophomore slump. The pressure is now on for the remaining five episodes.”

GQ: “Which brings us to season two, and its bats–t premiere episode – dead bodies, Internet porn, drugs, drinking, corruption, beatings, brass knuckles, and charming bon mots like, “I’ll butt-f–k your father on this lawn with your mother’s headless corpse,” all in the first hour – and which should chase away any lingering doubt about what ‘True Detective’ ever was, and clearly still is. It’s still trash shined up like gold. The trash is a bit trashier this time, and the gold a bit less shiny, but the same theory still abides.”

More reviews will no doubt arrive in coming days.