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HBO's Michael Lombardo takes the blame for True Detective's second season

01.05.2016

The first season of HBO's True Detective was a great feat of television in which the visuals, acting, and storytelling melded together perfectly to create something very special; the second season of True Detective, not so much. To be fair, it was still better than a lot of the stuff we see on TV, but, coming after that excellent first season, it just couldn't compare. HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo spoke with The Frame (via ScreenCrush) about the lessons learned from the "failure" of the show's second season.

I’ll tell you something. Our biggest failures — and I don’t know if I would consider “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. And 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. And I’d love to have the enviable certainty of knowing what my next year looks like. I could pencil things in. But I’m not going to start betting on them until the scripts are done.

A third season of True Detective isn't in the cards at the moment, but True Detective creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto signed a new deal with HBO just last year which will see him developing new programming for the next several years, including a possible third season. The second season of True Detective was just released on Blu-ray/DVD, so if you were one of the fans who enjoyed this past season, you can pick that up right here!

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5:54AM on 01/07/2016
Not a fan of S1: dreary psycho-babble in cars leading up to a cheesy finale with a Leatherface knock-off. S2 on the other hand I dug very much, until the last two/three episodes. This explanation holds water for me because it felt very rushed indeed.
Not a fan of S1: dreary psycho-babble in cars leading up to a cheesy finale with a Leatherface knock-off. S2 on the other hand I dug very much, until the last two/three episodes. This explanation holds water for me because it felt very rushed indeed.
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2:56PM on 01/06/2016
Make True Detective like the UK's Sherlock. Make them when you have an idea, when you have a script. If its a year fine, if its 2 then ok. It doesn't have to be every year, just make sure than any year it is there, its good. Personally I hated s2. I watched it all, but I hated myself for wasting the hour of my life the second it was over. I kept watching because I was hoping it would get better. S1 was a masterpiece of television. S2 should be buried and forgotten.
Make True Detective like the UK's Sherlock. Make them when you have an idea, when you have a script. If its a year fine, if its 2 then ok. It doesn't have to be every year, just make sure than any year it is there, its good. Personally I hated s2. I watched it all, but I hated myself for wasting the hour of my life the second it was over. I kept watching because I was hoping it would get better. S1 was a masterpiece of television. S2 should be buried and forgotten.
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9:56AM on 01/06/2016
I liked the first season a lot, but I'm not completely sold on Pizzolato being a particularly original writer. If anything, he was able to disguise his penchant for amateur philosophizing and James Ellroy-esque characterizations by setting the show in the part of Louisiana he grew up in, a unique setting for a show like this. Moving the action to California, where so many like it have existed before, and then setting a deadline, that can't have helped things. So tip of the hat to HBO for
I liked the first season a lot, but I'm not completely sold on Pizzolato being a particularly original writer. If anything, he was able to disguise his penchant for amateur philosophizing and James Ellroy-esque characterizations by setting the show in the part of Louisiana he grew up in, a unique setting for a show like this. Moving the action to California, where so many like it have existed before, and then setting a deadline, that can't have helped things. So tip of the hat to HBO for suggesting they maybe weren't being smart about how they handled their end.
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+1
8:45AM on 01/06/2016
From the outset the 2nd season of the show felt rushed and incomplete. Season 1 is one of my favorite shows ever, and while season 2 had glimpses and moments of greatness (and the actors were all top notch) it seemed like a watered down version of Pizzolatto. Glad to see HBO is owning up to it and is learning from it.
From the outset the 2nd season of the show felt rushed and incomplete. Season 1 is one of my favorite shows ever, and while season 2 had glimpses and moments of greatness (and the actors were all top notch) it seemed like a watered down version of Pizzolatto. Glad to see HBO is owning up to it and is learning from it.
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8:06AM on 01/06/2016
Didn't even finish it... it felt like it was incomplete, which is quite apparent from this article.
Didn't even finish it... it felt like it was incomplete, which is quite apparent from this article.
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10:07PM on 01/05/2016

Glad someone has taken responsibility

From the get go, Season 2 just didn't feel right to me. From the earlier trailers prior to the season's release to each episode getting progressively worst with each week; it felt like Nic just spark noted the first season and tried to correct some of the criticisms of that season by including more female characters only to fail miserably because they were all two-dimensional stand-ins that represented archetypes and stereotypes. If Season 3 does ever come along, I hope they start from ground
From the get go, Season 2 just didn't feel right to me. From the earlier trailers prior to the season's release to each episode getting progressively worst with each week; it felt like Nic just spark noted the first season and tried to correct some of the criticisms of that season by including more female characters only to fail miserably because they were all two-dimensional stand-ins that represented archetypes and stereotypes. If Season 3 does ever come along, I hope they start from ground zero and really try to make something different and have a more consistent creative vision.
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9:22PM on 01/05/2016
Well, lessons learnt then. I'm okay with not having True Detective every year. They can drop by then and now when they know they have great materials.
Well, lessons learnt then. I'm okay with not having True Detective every year. They can drop by then and now when they know they have great materials.
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+2
8:29PM on 01/05/2016

If that's the case, do the same thing they did with...

... CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: Only produce new episodes when the creator/hear writer is ready.
... CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: Only produce new episodes when the creator/hear writer is ready.
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8:19PM on 01/05/2016
I really enjoyed season two and thought the cast did a terrific job of delivering of what they were given. It may not have been as great as season one, but I still found myself engaged every week with the storylines and characters.
I really enjoyed season two and thought the cast did a terrific job of delivering of what they were given. It may not have been as great as season one, but I still found myself engaged every week with the storylines and characters.
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8:07PM on 01/05/2016
Lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place. Season 2 tried too hard to be like Season 1 and failed. Plus Taylor Kitch's character was a complete waste. Hopefully they can cook up something good for Season 3.
Lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place. Season 2 tried too hard to be like Season 1 and failed. Plus Taylor Kitch's character was a complete waste. Hopefully they can cook up something good for Season 3.
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+2
7:53PM on 01/05/2016
I'm glad someone is taking the heat for this failure. It almost sounds like they would be willing to do a season 3 if/when a solid script is in place. Or maybe just do something completely different, it would be nice if this didn't end on such a flop. I couldn't even finish it.
I'm glad someone is taking the heat for this failure. It almost sounds like they would be willing to do a season 3 if/when a solid script is in place. Or maybe just do something completely different, it would be nice if this didn't end on such a flop. I couldn't even finish it.
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