Let's be honest, the main reason I saw this show is because it had a 9.5/10 on IMDb. I trust the site's rating pretty well (Though audience reaction on Rotten Tomatoes I can trust even more). Plus Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were in it, and I consider both of them awesome. So I had to give it a shot.
The story starts simple enough (after of course the brilliant opening montage which is filled with beautiful music, haunting images with masterful uses of art and light). It is about two detectives who are thrown together to solve the impossible case of serial killings that appear to be derived from an entity they are unsure of.
First impressions of the show for me were rather mixed. While it has some of the best acting I've ever seen on television and the premise is interesting enough, the plot moves at the speed of city bus. It will take you were it is supposed to go. Just plenty of stops, and crowded with back story. This is not to say that it doesn't achieve the exposition it is going for. It was just simply frustrating for someone like myself who likes a quick paced mystery (e.g. Sherlock).
Let's stick there for now. Imagine a lackadaisical plot that under its surface has meaning. However, the true specialty of the show, la crème de la crème, is its characters. First off is Rust Cohle played by Matthew McConaughey. While I didn't agree with the majority of his philosophy and his openly blunt way of looking at things, you've got to give it to him; he is very convincing. Though beyond that, Rust is incredibly intriguing in the way he describes things, from a murder scene to the meaning of existence.
Next up is Martin Hart (aka Marty) played by Woody Harrelson. He's the jelly to Rust's peanut butter. Marty is the loose cannon trying to convince others and himself he is the family man. At times he can be incredibly calm and collected. Other times, if you push him just in the wrong direction, he'll explode. I'll try not to go into too much detail, but let's just say he's struggling with the idea of marital fidelity.
Then the show starts to pick up. As this is spoiler free, I won't say much but let's just say they find a way to pick up the pace of the show. It is a pure delight to watch. Then just as soon as it starts, the quick pace ends. Disappointment for me follows, but I'm too invested in these characters to let up now. I guess that hefty exposition was important in the first place.
Now we come into the final act. This is where the show shines. The acting steps up a notch, if that is even possible. That, and the characters intentions and life experience becomes more fleshed out, if that is even possible, all leading up to the anticipated finale. I won't tell you what happens, but the short of it is that tears came to my eyes. Happiness? Dread? That is for you to find out.
All in all, True Detective is a well made story with the best television acting I've seen since Breaking Bad. Sure the plot is slow moving, which can be off putting, but the show is well worth the watch.
My Personal Preference: 4.25/5
How Well it was Made: 4.75/5
(Small Warning: This show is for Mature Audience. It has plenty of nudity, swearing, and unsettling images.)
(DVD/Blu-ray for True Detective comes out June 10th)