We are in a golden age of television. In today's world, cinema is crap and has been replaced by deeply intricate stories told over hour long episodes from the comfort of your own home (and at a fraction of the price). If there is one thing that shows like Twin Peaks, LOST, The Sopranos and Breaking Bad has shown us, it's that serialized television has become a new (and completely veritable) form of art and storytelling.
Not only is television programming at it's height, but horror based television is seeing quite the renaissance. While there have always been shows that base themselves in the genre, i.e. The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, The X-Files, etc, I don't think you have enough fingers to count all the shows that are currently running in conjunction with each other at this time. American Horror Story, Hannibal, Teen Wolf, Bates Motel, The Walking Dead, Witches of East End, The Vampire Diaries; soon we will have the Rosemary's Baby miniseries and WGN's Salem, while there is talk of adapting The Exorcist and Scream for the small screen.
Now, does this necessarily mean that all of these are good shows? No. Far from it. Half of these series are shotty, generic horror pumped out for mass appeal, i.e. The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf and True Blood. I've read good things about Hannibal, yet couldn't get into it myself. I am a fan of Bates Motel, I will be tuning in on March 3rd, and American Horror Story is completely hit or miss for me. I loved the first half of the first season, the second season was perfect and the third season.... yeah, no.
And then there is a new on on HBO, home to True Blood. Starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, True Detective, while not specifically a horror show, is proving to be one of the darkest and most cerebral things I have ever seen on television. I love it, and I think all of you will too.
Told through narration and varied flashbacks, the story follows Detectives Hart (Harrelson) and Kohle (McConaughey) while they are hauled into interrogation regarding a homicide investigation that they headed up in 1995 in which a ritualistic killer would murder, pose and desecrate women's bodies in accordance to his sadistic religious practices and beliefs.
While the show aligns itself much more along the lines of the "true detective" genre of pulp fiction, the soundtrack, cinematography and general mood of the show reeks of horror based roots. It often has the same feeling of tension and displacement that David Fincher's Se7en had. I'm convinced that Cary Fukunaga took influence from the film for the aesthetic of the show. Much aligned with Se7en, the show's intro credit sequence in an interlaced dialogue of disturbing imagery and emotional duress, completely indicative of what the show has in store for you.
It will be following an anthology format, much along the same lines as American Horror Story. While I like this idea, it has been shown that it can be very touch and go for AHS, and it is my sincerest of hopes that while the cast of characters will change, the cast itself remains. I cannot stress enough how amazing Matthew McConaughey is in this show. Each episode he continually blows my mind, I didn't think the man was capable of such amazing and emotional performances. Harrelson also shows off some incredibly decent chops, so much so that I can barely look at the man's face anymore without feeling a mild resentment somewhere in my gut for the horrid display of character on Hart's part. These two carry the show, however without McConaughey the show would be a lost cause.
This show will bore it's way into your mind and into your psyche, just like any good horror should. It is gritty, dark and often times unpleasant, but I can't get enough of it. It embodies everything I love about the genre, and it isn't even part of it. It beautifully encapsulates the true nature of great slow-burners, from the use of tension to the perfect balance of violence.
I decided to settle in for a viewing because I wanted to see Fukunaga's work, considering he'll be taking up the IT mantle, and I got everything that I wanted and more. Plus, I have to say that I think King's work is in safe hands. Should you find yourself in need of something new and refreshing to watch one lonely night, make sure to check out True Detective. This show is not about the fear of what you may see, or what comes knocking on your door. It is the fear of the human psyche, and of what we are all capable of whether we are willing to admit that to ourselves or not.
- Rg Lovecraft