Vanity Fair recently put out a long form article on True Detective writer and creator Nic Pizzolatto. If you are interested in the show the article deals with his writing process and the background of how the show to be. I found it interesting that unlike a lot of TV series there is no writers room, that he doesn’t seem to like writing by consensus, and that he wrote the entire first season by himself. I was also happy to see that he is influenced by David Milch, whose series Deadwood, in my opinion, is the greatest TV series ever.
I’ve been watching Breaking Bad again lately. I couldn’t help but think of Walter White as a tragic hero in the way that the term is used in classic tragedies. My favorite tragedy is MacBeth. I googled the two together and found the above article, that is a pretty convincing comparison between the two and how Walter White fits the tragic hero mold.
I am about halfway though Season 3 of House of Cards. The season has gotten better as it has progressed, but I can’t help but feel that it is somewhat of a letdown. The acting, cinematography, and subject matter give it the potential to be great. It is still good entertainment, but nothing more. I find myself wrapped up in it while I’m watching it, but as soon as its over I find myself not thinking about it very much. There are scenes here and there that provide interesting ideas about the Presidency, but because there doesn’t feel like there are greater unifying themes at work, they fail to hit you on a memorable emotional level. Truly great storytelling hits you on an intellectual and emotional level. It communicates ideas and makes you feel deeply about them. Although the performances are good enough that make you feel like you are seeing more while you are actually watching, this series has been too much of a melodrama. If there is any big idea this season, and I don’t feel like it has been expressed coherently or fully so far, it is that the presidency, despite being the seat of power, is constricted because of the political realities of the day, from campaigning to micromanaging different interests. There are also moments, even though there are also moments that make you feel like you are seeing something as it really is, that are highly unbelievable. I’m not saying don’t watch, only that the show is capable of better. I’m not real hopeful of the rest of this season, but I hope Season 4 will pull it together.
An afterthought: Did anyone else think that when Kevin Spacey’s character threw Kate Mara’s character in front of a train in Season 2, that it was really unbelievable. There is no way a famous, powerful, and savvy public figure would ever do that or get away with it. Power, in the modern world, is so hard to defeat, specifically because it is so good at insulating itself from its worst crimes. We could only hope that one of our modern leaders, the obscenely corrupt men and women in our political and corporate criminal class, would do something that blatantly evil. Usually the corrupt hide behind self made laws that give their crimes a legal and therefore “decent” facade.