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Blu-ray Review: True Detective (Season 1)

In the calculated, atmospheric, and slow burn world of True Detective, it’s best not to look away for a moment. The acclaimed HBO limited series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson wrapped in March and now makes its way to Blu-Ray, where it’s worth both checking out for the first time if you haven’t as well as venturing back into the gothic bayou and take it in again.

To revisit, True Detective is a layered piece of storytelling that follows partners Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Harrelson) tracking down a sadistic murder who has engaged in ritualistic killing. Set in backwoods Louisiana, the partners concurrently recount the 1995 case 17 years after it happened, as the series jumps back and forth between the past and present.

The series set forth a deluge of discussion, dissension, and a different kind of detective work across the interwebs, with the revelatory HBO show attracting massive ratings and spawning tons and tons of questions (parodies too).

Creator Nic Pizzolatto was very decided and specific while making this show, with every setting, song, and scene carefully placed in a complex tale of light and dark, good and evil, loyalty and duty. It’s a show that requires such careful attention to detail as a viewer in order to fully appreciate it, and while it is indeed a thriller, much of the show is driven by dialogue that it limited to act breaks.

With that in mind, True Detective and its eight episodes make for a pretty worthy addition to your Blu-Ray collection. It’s a show that earns repeat viewings and revisiting, and the box set does offer a few nice enhancements in case you’re on the fence.

Special Features:

Making of True Detective
A 15-minute look at the show’s creation, most interesting of which deals with the look, feel, and sound of the series. The two leads, Michelle Monaghan, Pizzolatto, director Cary Fukunaga, and others share interesting anecdotes and their plan of action, including some trials and setbacks. Most interestingly, there is a discussion about how the Louisiana wildlife would often make an appearance on set in the form of snakes and even alligators.

The highlight is a look at “Seven Minutes of Hell,” the chaotic, one-shot scene in which Cohle escapes a raid gone back, one of the most memorable and tension-filled scenes on television this year.

­Conversation with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey
The well-dressed and charming duo talks the viewer back through four scenes in what looks to be as much fun if not more for them than it is for us. The long-time friends especially seems to embrace reminiscing about the memorable fight scene, one that got particularly intimate, as expected.

Conversation between Nic Pizzolatto and T Bone Burnett
In what works as sort of a back and forth interview between the creator of the show and it’s iconic music director, the two reveal their intentions, inspirations, and goals for their respective roles, and how they were shaped by one another.

Curiously, this also serves as a venue for Pizzolatto to address a criticism of the show, as Burnett asks about the issue of women and how they are represented; Pizzolatto gives an exact and especially sensible answer.

Inside Episode, Audio Commentary
Each episode gets a four-minute synopsis by those involves, sort of a longer version of “Previously on…,” which the show does not provide. The audio commentary is not the actors, but PIzzolatto, Burnett, and executive producer Scott Stephens.

Lastly, getting True Detective on Blu-Ray means you can watch and listen at your leisure to one of the best title sequences to a television show ever. It’s that good.

Scene Creek

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