As it turned out, True Detective was nowhere near as intense as I thought it may have been.
Also, a lot of it in terms of story was quite familiar, although I don’t say that from a smug position of superiority – it’s only because I’ve read a lot of fiction and non-fiction about serial killing.
And although I came to think by season’s end that True Detective was perhaps over-rated, that doesn’t mean I thought it sucked.
I liked True Detective a lot.
Over the seven nights I watched it, I found it very engrossing especially in terms of mood. True Detective was eerily captivating, and just right for late-night viewing – not too scary, but suitably menacing and mysterious.
Part of that menace came from the story itself, but I also enjoyed the part played by the countryside of Louisiana. Some of it was pretty, where it was mostly untouched; some of it was ugly, where it was scarred by humanity; and a lot of it was eerie – especially the remote regions that Rust or Marty or both often drove through, where the only signs of civilisation were often just the roads.
As well, I enjoyed how much of True Detective‘s eerieness took place in broad daylight. That’s a feature I’ve long enjoyed in movies and TV – it’s more unsettling to experience horror and terror in the daytime, like the final battle at the end of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the unsettling discovery in the clearing in The Blair Witch Project.
True, True Detective became somewhat disappointing during the final two episodes, and it ended with some serial-killer-story cliches – but despite that, I don’t regret watching it at all.
Especially as it helped me get through the difficult period at work.
From the first night I watched True Detective, it was very tempting to binge-watch it – partly for its own enjoyable sake, and partly to escape from the dreariness and relentlessness of my workload. Fortunately, though, discipline prevailed, and for most of the nights I watched it I rationed myself to only one episode per night.
But as my work days continued to grow longer and more oppressive, that routine of the nightly episode became both a welcome target and a welcome respite. Soon, I had the rigid mindset that no matter what, midnight was True Detective time – even if I still had deadlines to meet for the next morning, I was setting aside one hour to unwind with Rust and Marty and a light late-night supper. And that was that.
And it worked.
As an extra bonus, on the night I got up to the second-last episode I had met a major deadline that day, so I decided to celebrate by watching both it and the last episode one after the other – and even though they were somewhat disappointing as I mentioned earlier, it was still very rewarding to finish watching True Detective like that.
But now it was over, and more grueling work lay ahead (and it would get worse).
I knew that Hawaii Five-O was going to be very different to True Detective, but could it also become an hour or more of viewing to help get me through each workday?
So the next day or night, I put in the first DVD from the first season.
TO BE CONTINUED