True Detective “Not Dead” At HBO – But Don’t Expect Season 3 Anytime Soon

Rachel McAdams and Colin Ferrell in True Detective

Oh, True Detective. Sweet, sweet True Detective. When you first appeared in 2014, full of dark poetry and Matthew McConaughney, we were smitten. Nomination after nomination fell into your lap, after that beautiful first year of sky-high ratings and critical thinkpieces. The world was your oyster. Then came season 2 – and we were all just left wondering, what happened? Your aesthetic was scattered, your acting spotty, your story was – well, the less we say about that the better.

And so it is that what was once one of the most acclaimed series on the small screen, being hailed as the future of dramatic programming, ended up in a bizarre creative limbo after just two seasons. And according to HBO programming president Casey Bloys, it might stay there a while.

“I’m not sure we have the right take for a third season right now,” he said, despite reaffirming that “it’s not dead.” Bloys added, “We are hoping for a third season,” calling it “a very valuable franchise for us.”

And yet, Bloys echoed the sentiments of former HBO programming president Michael Lombardo in saying that it’s important to let showrunner/writer Nic Pizzolatto take his time to hash out a strong, worthwhile story for any possible third season.

HBO was widely lambasted for pushing Pizzolatto through tight deadlines to get season 2 ready for a 2015 bow, which many blame for the show’s apparent dip in quality. Bloys said that Pizzolatto, who has an overall deal working for HBO, has been preoccupied with other projects and taking a break from True Detective, but that it’s likely a third season would be supervised by Pizzolatto and actually written by someone else.

Given how acclaimed the first season was, it’s hard to believe HBO won’t try to replicate that lightning-in-a-bottle success sometime down the line, but one has to imagine the network was stung, badly, by the lackluster reception for season 2. With Game of Thrones still going strong and shows like Westworld waiting in the wings, it’s anyone’s guess when True Detective might return to airwaves.