True Detective revival: Should we be excited?

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Image: Agents Marty Hart and Rust Cohle played by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey
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By Duarte Garrido, Entertainment Reporter

True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto is already writing a third season with big guns attached, but should HBO pick up a failed show?

There's an old cowboy saying that if you suddenly find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging.

It's simple advice, and one you'd expect to hear from the poorly crafted characters of True Detective's second season.

Because, when it comes to holes, no show has ever dug a bigger one.

In 2014, novelist Pizzolato made his TV debut with a dark, philosophical take on the fine line that separates good and evil.

His overwritten dialogues and slightly infantile plots were transformed by the visual genius of director Cary Joji Fukunaga, while his one-dimensional characters were brought to life by actors Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

True Detective was a success and HBO was happy with the ratings – but not all was well in the state of Louisiana.

Pizzolato and Fukunaga had a falling out due to creative differences, and the director would not be invited for a second season.

HBO, hungry for ratings, gave Pizzolato less than one year to craft a script and find a director.

"When we tell somebody to hit an air date as opposed to allowing the writing to find its own natural resting place…we've failed," said HBO head Michael Lombardo.

And they had.

True Detective season 2 was bashed by critics, mocked by audiences and ended up as a half-baked cowboy parody of what it means to be good and bad (yes, again) but, this time, delivered in short, empty sentences.

"Sometimes your worst self is your best self" remains one of the cheesiest lines in modern television.

But HBO took the blame, admitting to setting Pizzolato up "to deliver, in a very short time frame, something that became very challenging".

But, while true, that wasn't the show's only problem.

Instead of hiring one director with a vision and a voice to contest Pizzolato's over-crafted script, the last season had seven mercenaries directing one episode each.

In the end, the show looked fragmented and a new season – even one coming from Pizzolato's well rested brain – could still suffer the same flaws.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Pizzolato is already working with David Milch – the creative mind behind HBO's Deadwood.

Getting Milch back on the horse after Deadwood's untimely death is a smart move for both HBO and Pizzolato.

Lombardo has confirmed he'd "love to do another season", and would "happily be in business" with Pizzolato for a long time.

But the two men are creative writers, and will still need someone with the visual mastery of Fukunaga to make the show work.

Some suggest a new season should just pick up where the first one left, bringing back McConaughey and Harrelson as Rust and Marty.

Both actors have shown interest in revisiting their characters – but I don't see it.

The truth is, True Detective should never have been made into an anthology series in the first place.

HBO has a great tradition of mini-series – Olive Kitteridge, Show Me A Hero – and should have seen True Detective for what it was: a one hit wonder.

Like Agent Rust Cohle, I'm a pessimist, and extending a failed show for the sake of ratings feels too much like a "flat circle, where nothing ever changes".

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