June 21st won’t seem real until we hear a T-Bone Burnett track welcome us into a new world created by True Detective scribe Nic Pizzolatto. It’s not quite press tour time, but HBO continues to give us inkings here and there to help size up our expectations for season two.
HBO released key art for the buzz-worthy crime drama on Friday, along with a Q&A between network PR and Pizzolatto. We’ve included the images below. But first, we need to analyze Pizzolatto’s comments ahead of season two:
“I do think that the seasons have a deep, close bond in sensibility and vision, a similar soul, though this is a more complex world and field of characters.”
Finding characters more complex and compelling than simplistic, closed-minded Rust Cohle should be easy, right? The key here is not replicating the story or characters, but the vision and aesthetics that made season one so captivating. He went on to address the “gothic horror sensibilities” of Louisiana that we fell in love with during season one: “The gothic horror suggested by Louisiana’s coastal landscape didn’t feel appropriate in this place. These new landscapes have their own unique voice and their own unsettling qualities.”
In Galveston, Pizzolatto’s debut novel, a great read if you want a Pizzolatto fix while you wait for season two, the Louisiana landscape becomes a narrative tool, weathering the protagonists as they flee to Texas to outrun their pasts. True Detective season one had stunning visuals from director Cary Fukunaga and found Pizzolatto once again in his comfort zone — the Louisiana native was writing about home. As season two shifts to a fictional town in Los Angeles county, something to follow is how Pizzolatto uses the setting to tell his story and whether True Detective loses its “soul” as it heads west towards the city of angels.
“There’s definitely bad men and hard women, but no secret occult history of the U.S. transportation system. That was a comment from very early in the process, and something I ended up discarding in favor of closer character work and a more grounded crime story.”
We knew this for some time, but it’s a little disappointing that we’re not getting an occult history of the U.S. transportation system. When Pizzolatto first made those comments last year, it sent us racing to Wikipedia and hoping that he somehow unearthed a real-life transportation mystery sicker and zanier than we could have ever imagined. We’ll just have to settle for plain old, silly murder I guess.
“We were conscious of not wanting to repeat ourselves or remake the same album in a different setting, but I try to be open to whatever structure the story and characters suggest, so I never drew a line through those things. As the characters multiplied and their individual and group complications grew, a more integrated and linear structure worked best.”
Season one had fervent fans and a few loud critics, but whatever your take might be, everyone tuning in will be focused on how the structure has changed or if it has at all. Pizzolatto clearly indicated that the non-linear narrative will make like a Lone Star beer placed before Rust Cohle and vanish. In some of the later episodes of season one, it felt like Pizzolatto was handcuffed to the formula they established. Now True Detective is free to live in the moment and it could be better off for it.
As promised here are the posters, coming soon to a bus stop near you: