True Detective Debate: Season 1 vs Season 2

True Detective Season 1, starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, was the breakout cable drama of 2014. The dark twisted tale of two southern detectives traversing the dark corners of the Louisianan bayou, encountering ritualistic murders, ancient voodoo cults, and backwater drug trades, while hunting for the almost mythical figure, ‘The Yellow King’, earned True Detective its Emmy nominations and the critical praise it rightly deserved. And as the self-contained story of Rust Chole and Marty Hart came to a close, the net was ablaze with eager anticipation and speculation on the various clues as to the plot of season 2. However, in the pessimistic, dark recesses of the human mind, not many really expected Season 2 to surpass the nihilistic brilliance of its predecessor.

And yet, as the very first episode of Season 2 came and went, the net was already seemingly condemning the series for dozens of illegitimate reasons. Regardless how well it was stressed in the entertainment press that Season 2 would be a separate storyline, and that Rust and Marty would not be returning, it seems as though this was somehow a genuine letdown for some fans. As the second season of True Detective came to a close, the popular consensus was that it felt inherently weak in comparison to the first season. Popular criticisms were, almost paradoxically, that the story was both too straightforward as well as too contrived. Some who had liked the Weird Fiction angle felt disappointed that the series wasn’t dipping its toes in one literary horror mythos or another; those who liked Rust Chole’s nihilistic/pessimistic philosophy were left wanting; some even complained about the new theme song by the great songwriter Leonard Cohen; others simply tuned out because it felt as though the central plot was taking a back seat to the 4+ character arches.

However, was True Detective Season 2 really given a chance by those who had come to love the nihilistic noir, or were there a genuinely noticeable dip in the quality of its storytelling? Unlike other CCS videos that have been ‘circle-jerks’ on one opinion or another, Katie, LaughingMan and CineMax come to the table, each with their own valid criticisms or praise of Season 2, and have a rational round-table debate where we more closely compare the two seasons for better and worse.



The loveable lunatic with the foul mouth and the iconic laugh, Laughingman is the founder of CCS. With more coffee than copper in his bloodstream, he's a full-time website developer by day, and a gamer, editor, and fiction writer by night.


A subversive excommunicated from [REDACTED] as a result of a failed coup d'etat, CineMax has miraculously managed to reach and find asylum in the Land of the Free. Here he spends his days working for Cheshire Cat Studios, all the while plotting his inevitable return to the motherland to once again foment the flames of revolution.


Katie B is a professional Flash animator from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She loves Stoicism, birds, and convincing people that the only good Silent Hill games are 1-4.

One Comment on “True Detective Debate: Season 1 vs Season 2

  1. Ah, I have been meaning to watch this show.

    The first season seems to have been well-received but this past summer I have heard nothing but bad things about season 2 b/c off all the subplots (I hate it when shows are too cluttered).

    I’ve seen that gif circling around (I people seem to really like her tits or something).

    Now I know where it comes from…thanks, Cinemax…I guess.

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