True Detective Season 2 kicks off on Sunday night, which is fantastic news for me and anyone else who always has room for a few more brooding men in their weekly television schedule. An anthology series in the vein of Fargo and American Horror Story, the HBO drama will follow new detectives and a new case, so don't get all excited about hearing the flat circle of time explained in that Matthew McConaughey drawl. Instead, look forward to the new starry cast: Vince Vaughn going serious, Taylor Kitsch putting his stamp on another critically acclaimed drama, Colin Farrell in one hell of a mustache, and Rachel McAdams being perfect, I'm sure, because she's Rachel McAdams. Change is essential to the survival of an anthology series, but will the show's structure remain the same? How many episodes are in True Detective Season 2?
Just like Season 1, True Detective Season 2 will consist of eight hour-long episodes. I don't have a longer True Detective season to compare it to, but I still maintain that this is the perfect amount of storytelling time for a show like this. The series already runs (to its benefit) at a slower pace than most audiences are used to; any more episodes and it would reduce to a crawl.
With a new cast and crime in its pocket, True Detective gets to hit the reboot button on a show that already had prestige TV fans salivating in year one. So what can Season 2 learn from Season 1? Here are a few signatures of the show that should stay trademarks for as long as it shall live, plus a few that should be left in the past.
Stay: Career Re-Defining Performances
Truncated seasons also mean that a TV stint becomes a more attractive prospect for gigantic movie stars. True Detective Season 2 seems to be following in Season 1's footsteps of casting well-known names in roles that allow them to explore uncharted territory and challenge the public's notion of the kind of parts they can play. This ain't Wedding Crashers, is my point.
Go: Women Appearing Only As Wives, Girlfriends, Or Victims
I've also had enough of nubile young women whose main purpose is to help the tortured hero discover something about himself. It's just so boring. The casting of McAdams as a sheriff with a closet full of personal demons won't solve the problem entirely, but it's certainly a start.
Stay: The Drawn-Out Mystery And Slow-Simmering Tension
True Detective knows how to set a mood. The entire first season was directed by Cary Fukunaga, who stays on as an Executive Producer in Season 2. With a handful of directors working within this installment of the series, I hope and expect that the show's tone will remain consistently obtuse and unhurried.
Go: Anticlimactic Resolutions
I'm not ashamed to tell you that I can't even remember how last year's case wrapped up. But I do remember the closing hospital scene between McConaughey's Rust Cohle and Woody Harrelson's Marty Hart. Season 1 of True Detective was much more about the journey than the destination, and that's fine. But at least give me a big reveal that actually sticks in my head.
I already know that I'll be talking about this show all summer. Bring on Season 2!
Images: Lacey Terrell/HBO; Giphy (4)