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Shows from the edge: True Detective

March 20, 2014

Rust and Marty share some “quality time”.

I have talked about edge series before.  These are television shows that while not being genre series may still appeal to fans of genre tv.  In the past I have mention such shows as Leverage, Person of Interest, and Dexter that may be worth a genre tv fan’s attention so, given that this is the fourth such series I will be talking about I figured it’s time that I gave the series a new entry on my blog along with Failure to Launch and This Should Really be on DVD.  For this inagural entry in Shows from the Edge I will be talking about the first season of a show that HBO just put out called True Detective.

So, why am I talking about what is effectively a police procedural series, especially given that I am generally pretty bored by such material?   A lot of this has to do with the way the content of this series as it seems to me was created.  I’m not really spoiling anything by saying that The King in Yellow is mentioned in the series as it comes up fairly rapidly in the second episode.  For those unfamiliar with it, The King is Yellow is a collection of short stories written by Robert W. Chambers.  The first four of these stories mention a play that bears the same name as the anthology that was ultimately the inspiration for H. P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon in that people who read the play tended to have sanity issues after the fact.  On top of this, the True Detective tells its story largely from a flashback perspective that very much reminded me of Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu.  Of course, this may have been aided by the fact that the story takes place in the New Orleans bayou like the second part of The Call of Cthulhu does.  There is even one scene of a character walking around with one of those gas masks with the long hose attached to it.  Given the lead in dialogue for the shot, I was left wondering if this was a metaphor for Cthulhu given the tentacle like nature of the hose.  I can’t really go into any further detail without going heavily into spoiler territory. 

HBO pretty seriously miss-advertised this series by not revealing a whole lot of information during the promos but, to cut them some slack, I honestly don’t know how they could have attracted genre fans without giving away too much about the nature of the series itself. I was a little late to the party myself in that I watched the first four episodes from my on demand service.  In fact, I watched episodes three and four back to back in violation of my one episode per day rule which I very rarely break as I want to get some sense of the episodic nature of the media.  In any case, the series is definitely worth the look and for those who want to see more about it, I did a full review for The Movie Waffler here.

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