One of possibly the most revolutionary shifts in the industry has taken a quantum leap forward this year, that being the rise of television as a medium for cinematic storytelling. Not that it didn’t always have that potential, but this year in particular brought several directors around to it as not only a viable alternative to big screen film, but an equal and independent medium of film. TV movies and miniseries’ like Behind the Candelabra, Southcliffe and Top of the Lake have effectively sent the message to filmmakers that this is sturdy ground for deeper, darker forms of storytelling.
For my part, though, I can’t yet tell if True Detective is going to be an ongoing series or a limited run. It’s already an unprecedented rarity, a full series directed by a single director. The director in question is Cary Fukunaga, whose delicate gothic spin on Jane Eyre well established his style as one that could benefit from the full, uninhibited reign that television has allowed nowadays. The series also carries two distinct talents in Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, both of whom have in recent years come into full possession of their grizzly, physical qualities as performers.
The trailer hints at another descent into a local town heart of darkness, which has become a running theme of most of these limited run series. It’s here where I must express worry that the medium will only be used for telling one kind of story. In that way television could form a bias of its own in the same way that mainstream film has. I sincerely hope not, which is not to say True Detective looks like a reductive telling of a same-old story. The style and focus feels unique and all its own, and it’s a series I look forward to discussing on a week-to-week basis when it begins its run in January on HBO. Check out the trailer for yourself below and let us know what you think.