When Does 'True Detective' Return? All Those Emmy Nominations Sure Are Giving Us a Hankerin'

It's only been a few short months since True Detective debuted on HBO with the idea that each season will be its own story, with its own cast, setting, and time period. Monday, the series goes up against some stalwart dramas like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men. That's right, True Detective is competing as a regular drama series with the big guns. But win or lose, I've only got one question for HBO after Monday's Emmys: When does True Detective come back to our television screens?

There's no official date yet for #TrueDetectiveSeason2, though the internet has had quite a field day with predicting the cast and plot of the second, completely different season. It would be nice to be able to expect the series to return on some semblance of a schedule, filling up the January television void like its fantastic first season did in early 2014, but until HBO gives word, all we can do is hope. One thing does seem to be for sure though, HBO's programming president Michael Lombardo told Variety that True Detective Season 2 won't be nearly "as dark" as the first season with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson was.

But since we can't seem to find the answer we're looking for just yet, perhaps we should look into a more pressing True Detective question...

The far easier question at the moment is whether or not True Detective's risky move from the Emmys' mini-series category to drama series. Will it pay off? Editor in Chief of Variety Cynthia Little suggested that HBO pit True Detective against Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones because it's good enough to actually beat them. “It’s a statement that HBO feels it has more than a fighting chance with the Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson starrer in the top series category — even against such heatseekers as Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Homeland and its own Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire — as well as the lead drama actor race,” she writes.

Even if True Detective doesn’t take home the crown, it helps HBO’s chances overall. Now HBO has two nominees in the Outstanding Drama category. AMC is the only other network to have two shows nominated in that category (Breaking Bad and Mad Men). By submitting True Detective for Best Drama, it doubles its chances in that category, and also sneaks a nominee spot away from another, possibly non-HBO show.

It does seem like gamesmanship to me. In the past, it was a little more confusing what was a miniseries and what was a multi-part TV movie. It felt weird to have a limited series like American Horror Story go up against a multi-part TV movie like Hatfields and McCoys and one-time TV movies like Hemingway and Gelhorn, which is exactly what happened in 2012. This year, though, the Emmys sought to iron out those inconsistencies. It split the miniseries category into two, so now there’s Outstanding Miniseries, for shows like Fargo and American Horror Story, and Outstanding TV Movie, for something like The Normal Heart.

To me, True Detective fits squarely into the miniseries category. These limited series are at an advantage, since the small time investment means they can pursue bigger stars, directors, and writers who might not otherwise want to commit to a TV show. It’s not really fair to pit those actors against full-time TV actors.

In other words: When this Emmy ceremony is over, we can probably add True Detective’s Matthew McConaughey to the people who will beat 10-nominations-no-wins John Hamm out for an Emmy, and Hamm will once again go home empty-handed. And after all that, we still won't yet know when True Detective Season 2 will grace our televisions. Damnit.

Images: James Bridges/HBO; Giphy (3)