This Is the Show We’ll Watch When Breaking Bad Is Gone for Good

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 9 2013 9:02 AM

Here’s the Show We’ll Be Watching When Breaking Bad Is Gone for Good

OK, so the writers and producers of prestige cable dramas have not yet gotten over the antihero archetype, which is more than a little played out. When those antiheroes are played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, I, for one, am willing to put aside my weariness with dark, tortured men who do bad things but elicit our sympathies anyway. If True Detective is half as stylish and intriguing as the not-quite-two-minute trailer that HBO put up on YouTube yesterday, then this will be appointment viewing come January.

The show was created by novelist Nic Pizzolato, who has published two well received works of fiction, and will be directed by Cary Fukunaga, who made Sin Nombre and the 2011 Jane Eyre. According to Deadline, the show “centers on two detectives, Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson), whose lives collide and entwine during a seventeen-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. The investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 is framed and interlaced with testimony from the detectives in 2012, when the case has been reopened.”

If there is a second season of True Detective, it will tell a different story, with different characters—the plan is for this to be an anthology show, à la American Horror Story. Addicts of America’s standard multiseason series format may be disappointed by this news, but I’ve been convinced for a while now that miniseries—lately rebranded as “limited series”—are TV’s best bet, artistically speaking. So I’m glad that this show will have a beginning, middle, and end over the course of eight episodes. And if HBO had to go down the antihero road again, I’m glad McConaughey and Harrelson are behind the wheel.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog. Follow him on Twitter.