In 2012, former collegiate English Professor Nic Pizzolatto wrote and produced the original television series True Detective–which after it premiered in January 2014–became the most watched freshman show in HBO’s 40 year history. For the three of you who didn’t watch it, it was one of the most eerily captivating series in recent memory.
Under a tight time constraint and the ubiquitous pressure to deliver for a second time, the former educator pumped out a new eight episode standalone series for HBO less than a year and a half later under the True Detective name. To put it lightly, it was poorly received. Brian Lowry of Variety wrote, “the inspiration that turned the first [season] into an obsession for many seems to have drained out of writer Nic Pizzolatto’s prose.” Sean Collins of Rolling Stone deemed it “one of the year’s most passionately disliked show.” “I’m not stoned enough for this shit,” said BroBible’s Matt Keohan.
Michael Lombardo, HBO’s President of Programming, spoke with Frame earlier this week to address the series’ shortcomings, in essence taking the fall for it’s deficiencies.
“Our biggest failures—and I don’t know if I would 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.
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.”
Making a mistake and then coming clean and admitting it? I didn’t know that was a thing anymore. Bravo, Lombardo.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, though–the show wasn’t THAT bad.
I wish my man Marty felt the same…