True Detective: Night Country – A Review

This was bound to happen. I have already extolled the virtues of the first season of this show, and I have seen every season since.

Quick thoughts on the other ones, Season 2 was a trainwreck filled with half good ideas, some decent performances, and a whole lot of random ass acts of smart people writing. Season 3 was much more toned down, digestible, and also too long.

Neither of those two lived up to the glory of that first run. In fact, I would say that the first season should have been its own thing and that’s it.

Enter Night Country, what is basically a full reset in development. Nick Pizz is out, and enter Issa López, a filmmaker known for making a bunch of horror/thriller titles.

But thats not what is really new here. In the build up to this show, the marketing department really leaned in hard on it connecting back to the first season.

So, naturally, I am thinking…how the fuck are they going to manage that…Nick Pizz couldn’t even manage it. They must have something decent cooked up.

They didn’t.

I want to start by side stepping yet another Great Internet Fight happening over this show. A ton of people are pissed that this thing sort of mooched on Season 1’s quoted quotables to basically promote something that has nothing to do with that, while Max celebrates the ratings. Big time.

Lets just skip all that.

Let’s focus on what it is. Issa Lopez had a movie idea that she pitched to HBO, and they were the ones to told her to True Detective it up.

With that in mind, everything else makes sense.

This is a six episode show that should have been a two hour movie with more time cooking around the ending. Instead you have six episodes where the only detecting occurs in the first and last, and alot of like…weak character building in the middle.

Writing a TV show takes a separate skillset from a movie, and those skills aren’t working.

Ok, so what does work. The show LOOKS great. Substituting Iceland for Alaska worked enough for this. Cinematography is spot on.

I actually think the performances are not bad, probably because they casted the shit out of the show.

And honestly thats what helps the show float along….

What doesn’t work, the fucking script…it’s just disjointed… you are stuck in an incompetent police department trying to investigate a 5-6 person homicide and its just 5 episodes of hanging around incompetence. It’s not even in an interesting or a fun way. Its just boring.

And I get that the text here is talking about how we (Americans) abuse native communities. Totally agree, but that can be and has been done in more interesting ways. Reservation Dogs covers that in a much better way every week.

Actually I want to give a shout out to Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. I kept thinking about that movie as I was watching this show. Its not supernatural or a detective thing. But its the last time I saw artic-adjacent areas filmed so well. And also a native story, but Inuit this time. A much better experience if you are into these kind of big landscapes and want to hear Inuit folk legends.

What I am getting at is do not settle for substandard writing and narrative. Always consume the good stuff and leave mediocrity behind. This show does none of those parties any kind of service, and the ending is the worst kind of uncreative play on these themes.

The show does a terrible job of conveying any type of emotion besides anger so we don’t get to connect as an audience to anyone on the screen. You are supposed to just accept things as they happen, and that’s not how writing works.

One last thing I want to cover is the little tropes that clearly the showrunner loves that just fucking pisses me off. For example, Issa loves her fucking unearned jump scare. Loves it. Just the laziest, people pointing at the screen coming into frame from a swish pan and a music sting hits.

I mean like 2-5 an episode. It’s stupid and it sucks every time.

Can we also kill the trend of having a slowed down moody version of a pop song? This one features the Beatles’ version of Twist and Shout done like 5 different ways. Acoustic. Chopped and Screwed as if it was done by DJ Screw himself.

Stop it. It doesn’t help, and it is not profound.

1.5/4 – This could have been done well. This show/movie could have been at least 3/4 if not higher. Strip the True Detective shit out, let the script cook for a bit longer, keep the same cast and location, and you got a stew going.

As it stands now, its just…forgettable. And that’s a damn shame.

© Church of the Holy Flava 2016 - 2021