I think every show should be judged based on its own merits and not to be compared with its original. So far most of the reviews I have read here people keep bashing this show and comparing it to the first season. Yes the first season was undeniably an outstanding; it was among the most compelling drama we had seen on any Cable TV show maybe. Nic Pizzolatto is probably one of the most creative intelligent writers that we have seen in a very long time. I don't think if he is a type of writer who is trying to compete with himself or the first season either.
This second season is set in a different location, its not about some hidden cult or ritual crime that has a religious root in the south. This time we are in California, in a major metropolis city of Los Angeles, where we have a larger more affluent crowd that deal with a lot of real estate and movie deals. Yes I agree with the fact that this season's direction maybe a little less coherent at times, as it was in the first season. Maybe somewhat slow and stagnant at times, but I remember the same criticism was made about the first 3 or 4 episodes of first season too; but this is this writer's style of writing and requires a little patient.
I do agree that casting "Rachel McAdams" as one of the detectives is just does not seem to work, both her acting and her physic for that role just does not seem to be right. I was very surprised to see "Vince Vaughn" in a show like this too?!, I have never taken his acting that seriously, its probably his best work to date. I do like the rest of the cast like "Colin Farrol" and "Taylor Kitch". some of the dialogue is as rich as last season; a signature of this writer that maybe a little more heavy at times for a type of characters like "Frank Semyon", a mobster to sound intellectual, but the scenes between Farrol and Vaughn are probably the most interesting and kind of intense.
The action scene on the 4th episode was interesting but I thought it was a little unrealistic; where you have a bunch cops walking with guns so casually in downtown LA crossing the street going on a bust. "Rachel Adams running after a SUV with a guy who has a machine gun, who just shot a lot of people already but some how missed her, really??. Again, I blame the people who directed that episode; something just not right. I saw "Justin Lin"'s name on the first episode; I was really surprised why he got to be selected to direct this kind of drama?..his work is always about Fast and Furious and appealing to a much younger audience.
I had to go back and see each episode twice, because I refused to fall victim to comparing the first season to this season. I wanted to see why Pizzolatto is taking his time in telling this story this way. This is less about the lives of these detectives as it was in the first season focused on the two. Again, we are in a different City, a city that is known for its fickleness, corrupt cops, a city that had "Rodney King" riots, which is kind of part of this story in relations to the diamonds. The city where there is less depth for those type of characters such as "Rust Cohle" as in the South. "Velcoro" has his own demons and yes he drinks like Cohle in one way to medicate the pain, but Cohle had sense of integrity to himself. One thing both first and second season share is that they are both dealing with a cold case, its a pattern forming in this series where all cops unit to solve a cold case.
Overall having watched up to the 5th episode, I like this season very much but for different reasons. Partially because of its film noir style of using LA and these characters like the crooked mayor, city manager, senators and a mobster all fit into the puzzle of these crimes of selling a poisoned land at any cost. You can read these kind of tabloid stories about land deals in the LA Times randomly that become another huge scam. Sketchy characters like "Caspere", "Frank Semyon" and "Chessani" seem to be the architects of such land deal scams that somehow involve sex parties, drugs, hookers; powerful men, such are the scum that run LA, hence, this show's story fits the city like a glove. There is a sense of apathy that runs through each episode. Lets not forget that classic film "China Town" that was also about LA and land; this story kind of reminds me of the similar corruption, but more contemporary that really relates to the present when it comes to land in California, its another film Noir about capitalist greed into a suburban flight.
I remember years ago there was a Polish director "Krzysztof Kieslowski " that made 3 films in the 90's called: three colors: "Blue", "White" and "Red", when people saw "Blue", they loved it because it was so different in its narrative, but "White" was the complete opposite in its narrative, it was simple, linear and boring to many, but "Red" took everyone by surprise and many film critics say it broke grounds. I think there was a reason that "Kieslowski" directed each film's narrative different. Here we have the same kind of thing, if we keep comparing last season to this season and finding more faults, you will only disappoint yourself and really miss to see the merits of this season.
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