True Detective

HBO’s President of Programming Tells Us Whose Fault It Was That Season 2 of ‘True Dectective’ Sucked

The first season of True Detective is generally considered to be a masterpiece of story telling, combining the mysticism of Gothic southern Louisiana with great performances from stars Woody Harrelson and Mathew McConaughey. It was loved by fans and critics alike, and was nominated for a litany of Emmys and other awards.

Then Season 2 came around, with new characters, a new setting, and entirely different feel. Although creator Nic Pizzolatto was still in charge, the second season just didn’t recapture the magic of the first. Stars Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, and Rachel McAdams were respectively good in their roles, but the story was hard to follow and the writing just wasn’t as sharp.

Michael Lombardo, HBO’s President of Programming, recently pointed fingers during an interview with The Frame. And those fingers were pointed directly at himself, saying it was own own fault that True Detective didn’t live up to its own lofty standard.

I’ll tell you something. Our biggest failures — and I don’t know if I would consider “True Detective 2” — but when we tell somebody to hit an air date as opposed to allowing the writing to find its own natural resting place, when it’s ready, when it’s baked — we’ve failed. And I think in this particular case, the first season of “True Detective” was something that Nic Pizzolatto had been thinking about, gestating, for a long period of time. He’s a soulful writer. I think what we did was go, “Great.” And I take the blame. I became too much of a network executive at that point. We had huge success. “Gee, I’d love to repeat that next year.”

Well, you know what? I set him up. To deliver, in a very short time frame, something that became very challenging to deliver. That’s not what that show is. He had to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Find his muse. And so I think that’s what I learned from it. Don’t do that anymore.

And I’d love to have the enviable certainty of knowing what my next year looks like. I could pencil things in. But I’m not going to start betting on them until the scripts are done.

HBO markets itself as being different from regular TV. That’s why some shows seem to have massive breaks between seasons (cough cough — The Sopranos). Typically, they try to wait until stories are finished properly rather than try to cram them into an existing open timeslot. Sounds like they forgot their own identity when it came to Season 2 of True Detective.

HBO has not officially announced whether there will be a Season 3 of the show, although Pizzolatto has a creative deal with the network until 2018.

Devon Taylor (@DevonTaylor113)

Devon Taylor (@DevonTaylor113)

Devon has been writing about random things online since 2013. His favorite video game is Rocket League, his favorite TV show is The Sopranos, and he hated the last season of Game of Thrones. Follow him @DevonTaylor113.