What True Detective's Creator Learned From The Negative Reactions To Season 2

True Detective will finally return for a new season in the not-too-distant future, and one of the biggest questions surrounding Season 3 is whether it will be as good as Season 1 or as disappointing as Season 2 was for many. The second season, which starred Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Vince Vaughn, was panned by fans and critics alike. Creator Nic Pizzolatto recently spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets about True Detective, and he had this to say about what he learned from the negative reactions to Season 2:

I learned and understood there was a lot of stuff in Season 2 that people hadn't really wanted to see, based on Season 1 of True Detective. But I'm very proud of the work everybody did.

Fans of True Detective's first season, which was received well by just about everybody who tuned in, had certain expectations of Season 2, even though it was obvious going by everything from the trailers to the cast that the new episodes were bound to be quite different from those that came before. According to Nic Pizzolatto, he learned after Season 2 that the second batch of episodes included something that fans simply hadn't wanted to see.

Of course, fans weren't the only ones to react negatively to what Season 2 had to offer. Famed director David Cronenberg was actually offered the gig of directing the first episode of the second season, but he passed because he "thought that the script was bad." Even HBO acknowledged that Season 2 wasn't holding up to the standard set by Season 1, with then-HBO president Michael Lombardo claiming while the season was still going in 2015 that viewers needed "to watch the entirety of it" for an "emotionally satisfying conclusion."

Later, however, Michael Lombardo explained why he thought Season 2 ultimately failed, and he didn't lay the blame on Nic Pizzolatto. Lombardo stated that he asked Pizzolatto for a second season the very next year after the first season aired, which was a time crunch Pizzolatto hadn't faced when crafting the first batch of episodes. As for how Pizzolatto is handling things differently for Season 3, he shared how the criticism actually helped him improve:

I just try to keep getting better at what I do, moving forward, and I think the criticism is a big part of that. So I try not to shut myself off from any of it, and I really just try to get better and even sort of narrow the focus of what is it I'm trying to do...what is it we're trying to do. Because, you know, it's a big team effort.

Viewers will have to wait until True Detective Season 3 premieres on January 13 to see exactly how Nic Pizzolatto moved forward in crafting the new arc, and it seems that he's not going to remove himself from any commentary about what he's produced with his team. The trailers seem to indicate that Season 3 could be as good as Season 1, and the cast certainly has the talent to bring something truly compelling to life. Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali stars, with Stephen Dorff, Carmen Ejogo, Ray Fisher, and more on board.

Season 3 will take the True Detective action to the Ozarks, where two children have gone missing. The situation is all the more grim due to a grisly crime connected to the disappearances, and detectives get on a case that is bound to get in their heads. Mahershala Ali plays state police detective Wayne Hays, who hails from Northwest Arkansas.

Tune in to HBO on Sunday, January 13 at 9 p.m. ET to see the Season 3 premiere of True Detective. If you're still in the market for other shows, swing by our 2019 midseason TV premiere schedule for some ideas of what to watch.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).