"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Monday, June 29, 2015

True Detective 2.2: Pulling a Game of Thrones?

I think the killing of Ned at the end of the first season of Game of Thrones, combined with the fact that its excellent ratings subsequently increased, has forever changed television.  Well, certainly the kind of superb television we've been seeing since The Sopranos on HBO, and soon after on Showtime, AMC, Starz, and now Netflix and Amazon streaming, as well.

But the problem with successful innovation is that you need to out-innovate the original innovation if the successor shows are to be as successful as the original. Which brings me to last night's True Detective 2.2 on HBO.

In the two episodes - including last night's - in which we were introduced to and got to know him, Ray was an interesting, provocative character, with all kinds of narrative potential.  Further, he was played by Colin Farrell.  So ... why kill him?

The usual provisos apply.  Maybe he's not dead.  We didn't see his head blown to bits in front of our eyes.  But those two shotgun blasts sure look that they did more than enough bodily damage to kill him.

But, ok, if Ray survives this, I take back everything I'm going to say, which is based on the assumption that he does not.  Why kill such a character?  Obviously to make a point that nothing is sacred in what television narrative has become, including a great character played by a talented actor killed almost right off the bat, actually not quite off the bat, but after we were beginning to fully go with him as a primary protagonist, which makes this even more striking. I guess this is a good lesson. Certainly it will keep viewers on their toes, and punish any who dozed off before the end of the episode, or missed it entirely, and read what happened to Ray in some online review such as this.

Do I like this new kind of television? I guess so, probably, I'm not sure.  But at this point, rather than passing judgement on it, I'm just noting it here - and saying I'll definitely keep watching, which probably means the ending of last night's episode did its job, though I'm sure I would have kept watching this season of True Detective anyway.

See also Season Two: True Detective: All New

And see also Season One: True Detective: Socrates in Louisiana ... True Detective Season One Finale: Light above Darkness

Like philosophic crime fiction?   Try The Plot to Save Socrates ...


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