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Expecting Too Much

by Tom King

The HBO show "True Detective" had its first season wrap up on Sunday night. The short season drama brought in the largest HBO audience ever and actually crashed the HBO Go feature which allows people to watch shows on their mobile devices. And almost as soon as the show went to black the sniping began. "It didnt end the way I thought it would"...."the ending wasnt weird enough"...and my favorite "it was just another cop show".

True Detective was many things...but "just another cop show" wasn't one of them. Since the much maligned final episodes of shows like "The Sopranos" and "Lost" many people have come to expect too much when it comes to endings. We expect every show to end with some amazing twist or to wrap up the lives of characters we have come to know in a pretty bow with every question answered to out satisfaction.

To me this show was never about the actual case they were working on. The cases themselves were only a vehicle for us to meet and get inside the head of these amazing characters. Show creator Nik Pizzolatto and director Cary Fukunaga gave us a beautifully written and produced show that delved into many interesting subjects. Religion, man's place in the universe, the banality of evil, man-woman relationships...and most important the relationship of two damaged souls. This wasnt Starsky & Hutch. The perfomances by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were nothing short of brilliant. McConaughey's role was certainly meatier, but it was the reactions of Harrelson that made it work.

And I havent even mentioned the haunting music that was put together by T-Bone Burnett. If they come out with a soundtrack...I'm buying.

The show is going forward but as an anthology, so we have seen the last of Harrelson & McConaughey although Pizzolatto has retained the literary rights to their characters and has said we might see some novels in the future. Yes please! Plus he has a noir novel called "Galveston" that has been added to my reading list.

The ending might not have pleased everyone but no ending would have. Besides, it was never about the ending...and the journey was so good that True Detective (Season 1)  can rightfully take its place among the classics.