True Detective

True Detective, Ep. 2.08, “Omega Station”

In the end, so many of the issues emblematic of the season at large caught up to each other to form one long, rough, near-painful season finale of True Detective. The disconnect between each of the four main characters turns into a huge distraction as the finale moves along, whereas previously in the season it was more of an annoying distraction. Ani’s reaction to the news of Paul’s death, so shocked she acts as if someone just punched her in the gut, comes off as the most fake character moment among many similar scenes. She and Ray barely knew Paul and definitely didn’t care enough to start a dialogue about his personal life at any time. The fact that his death would warrant any reaction beyond, “that means we’re next on the hit list” is delusional on the show’s part and supposes that Ani’s reaction mirrors how the audience is feeling at the same time. This also carries over to Ray’s commitment to avenging Paul’s death. Paul may have had their backs at certain points, but at no time did the team ever have the chance to bond more than superficially on the job and they certainly did not like each other enough as a group to sacrifice lives to avenge one another. The show wants the audience to feel a certain way about the action and deaths in this episode, but doesn’t shape the story to elicit those feelings.

True Detective, Ep. 2.07, “Black Maps and Motel Rooms”

That is not the type of penultimate episode that True Detective needs right now. After a rollercoaster of quality over the last handful of episodes, this second to last installment is decidedly one of the lesser entries of the season.

True Detective, Ep. 2.06, “Church in Ruins”

The good news is that the so-called “orgy episode” of this season is not nearly as gratuitous and exploitative of women as it could have been in a worst case scenario. The bad news is that it is still pretty gratuitous and unnecessary once it is made clear what exactly the show is trying to accomplish throughout the party.

True Detective, Ep. 2.04, “Down Will Come”

The search for Caspere’s murderer leads the trio into a major shootout that claims several lives, while Frank’s downward descent continues in an excellent episode that further fleshes out the third member of the investigating team.

True Detective, Ep. 2.02, “Night Finds You”

Unlike True Detective’s premiere, the second episode of the season, while still overbearingly morose, at least manages to make some headway with both more realistic character development and interesting details in the investigation.

Hot-take (or the Virtue of Ignorance)

In the age of social media, “hot take” articles incite outrage and polar, ideological opinions on movies no one has seen, influencing the way moviegoers perceive films.

30 Best TV Series of 2014

2014 has been yet another fantastic year for television, one that continued the nichification of the medium, with highly specific and underrepresented voices breaking through in every genre. There was a comedy explosion, particularly on cable, with dozens of new series presenting confident first seasons and several returning shows reaching new heights. The dramas didn’t disappoint either, with visionary creators bringing new life to familiar settings and taking greater risks with their returning series, deepening their worlds. Throughout the year, directors and cinematographers brought lush visuals, composers pushed the auditory envelope, and an astonishing number of actors gave fantastic, memorable performances. More than a few shows delivered spectacle on a weekly basis, while others went small, deriving incredible power out of stillness and self-reflection. Some series swept the audience up, week in and week out, and others built subtly, only showing their hand in their season’s final episodes. There truly was too much great television this year for any one person to see it all (95 separate series were nominated by our contributors!), so limiting the discussion to 10 or even 20 series would be ridiculous. Instead, here is Sound on Sight’s list of the 30 best series of what has been another wonderful year for television.

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