Posts Tagged ‘Television’

“Darkness, yeaah”

… that was (ex-)Detective Rustin “Rust” Cohle, from the final episode of True Detective (in case you didn’t recognize it). At the brink of the end, a near-mortally wounded Cohle underwent a descent through the loss of his “definition”, and beyond the darkness touched upon “another, deeper darkness, like a substance” where lost love is restored in de-differentiation. The reference to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde was unmistakable. It was TV-format Schopenhauer.


As philosophy, Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective is deeper than Wagner, because it holds tighter to the integral obscurity that is the ultimate object of horror. Where Tristan und Isolde finally reaches musical resolution and release into eroticized extinction, True Detective ends inconclusively, with a puzzle. Cohle and his old cop partner Martin “Marty” Hart, who has earthily absorbed Cohle’s acid nihilism throughout the previous seven episodes, switch stances momentarily in the closing scene. Recalling a previous conversation about the stars, Marty observes that in the night sky “darkness has a lot more territory”. Cohle corrects him — “Once there was only darkness. It looks to me as if the light is winning.” Following a long, soul-excruciating season in the shadows, the show’s nihilist fan-base were only dragged back from the brink of insurrection-level rioting at this point by a single, residual suspicion. In a cosmos where consciousness is the realization of hell, can the triumph of the light be interpreted as anything except torment strengthening its grip?

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July 1, 2014admin 30 Comments »

TV Switch

Sean Thomas at The Telegraph:

From The Sopranos and The West Wing (the first great TV series of the new era) the Americans went on to make The Wire, Breaking Bad, House, Dexter, Grays, Walking Dead, Battlestar, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, etc etc etc; then the revolution spread to Scandinavia, with the Killing (a stupendously brilliant murder drama), Borgen, The Bridge; now the French are in on the act, with Spiral and The Returned, which you may be watching right now. […] It is, as I say, a cultural revolution: with precedents. In the way that TV drama is taking over from movies, as the most important arena of audiovisual art, it reminds me of the way the novel replaced the poem, as the primary literary form in the mid 19th century.

In broad outline, this thesis strikes me as irresistible. (I’d add Deadwood.)

July 25, 2013admin 26 Comments »
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