True Detective

Anyone else watching this new HBO show? It takes place in my corner of Louisiana, Cajun country/Louisiana prairie. (Yes, south Louisiana has prairie. It’s not all gator-infested bayou.) It’s always nice when Hollywood remembers that the state isn’t entirely made up of just New Orleans, much as I love the city. In fact, the murder victim in the pilot is found in Erath, which is literally down the road from me: if you go to the end of my street and cross LA-14 (which is a rural highway, so probably not what most of you think of when you think of a highway), you’d be in Erath.

true detective

Visually, I’d say it’s entirely an accurate representation of south Louisiana, which makes sense because they filmed it here. The rustling cane fields, the sugar and natural gas refineries spewing white smoke, the murmuration (seriously, that’s what it’s called) of starlings swirling through the air, the single huge oak standing out in a flat field. And of course, the abandoned church. I’m sure it was a set built for the show, but things like that exist here; I’ve photographed a bunch of them. When something in Louisiana burns down or gets wrecked in a hurricane or just abandoned, it doesn’t always get torn down and tidied up.

And the writing and acting is good, too. The storyline is more of a slow burn, but I prefer that to car chases and explosions every 30 seconds. Admittedly, the popular notion of Louisiana as (to use the A.V. Club’s words) “a lawless, hothouse trouble spot populated by weirdoes, freaks, perverts, vampires, hoodoo wimmen, and gangsters plotting to assassinate the president” sometimes gets old to those of us that live here. The only show to ever realistically portray Louisiana as a place where (mostly) normal people live (mostly) normal lives remains Tremé; perhaps not coincidentally, that show had dismal ratings. (Also–sort of–the ’80s sitcom Frank’s Place. Which lasted a single season. And also the premise was that Frank had to run the family business and stay in NOLA rather than sell it and move back to New England because of a Voodoo curse. So that’s really kind of a wash.)

But you know, I’ll take weird religious serial killers and creepy abandoned churches and matriarchal brothels out in the wilderness over the current “reality” TV portrayal of Louisianans as a bunch of mouth-breathing, gator-wrasslin’, drunken hillbillies.

Oh, and if you saw the photo of Dora Lange as a child surrounded by men on horseback wearing pointed hoods and thought OMG KKK, no. Those were Courir de Mardi Gras:

Courir de Mardi Gras_Dejouant ses bourreaux_HRoe_2012

The pointed hat is a traditional part of the local Mardi Gras costume and has been around much longer than the Klan. Wearing cheap plastic beads and flashing your boobs and/or dressing like a demented streetwalker is a New Orleans thing.

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2010-2011 teevee season

Basically the only thing I am really excited about is HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. They had me at Tracy Middendorf spraying a crowd with a bottle of bubbly just as the Volstead Act took effect:

See, Prohibition was supposed to keep blue collar men from drinking up their entire paychecks and forcing their sons to go kill wharf rats in the snow to keep the family from starving. Instead, those men kept right on drinking, only now their mint juleps, sidecars, Harvey Wallbangers, and other old-timey cocktails cost about 10 times more. IT’S AN ALLEGORY FOR THE WAR ON DRUGS OKAY

Also, I have always been weirdly attracted to Steve Buscemi and am happy to see him play kind of a badass… even if his sex scenes are mostly played for laughs.

Hawaii 5-0: Yeah, this was as dumb as I thought it would be. I mean, I’m glad Daniel Dae Kim is getting work, and I may have emitted a tiny “woot” when Alex O’Loughlin said “Book ‘im, Danno”, but it’s… really not my cup of tea.

The Event: This is trying really hard to be the next Lost, except for where they got a little 24 on their shirt. I don’t know, it’s impossible to judge a show by its pilot, but I wasn’t terribly impressed. I’m kind of “meh” on the cast, except for Zeljko Ivanek and Tony Todd, and they look to be more supporting than main cast.

The season premiere of Fringe was amazing, the season premiere of Criminal Minds* was lousy, and in January we’ll have 10 new eps of Southland. Thank you, TNT! Oh, and I’m off of CSI: for good, because that last story arc was seriously retardo. “I kill people in ludicrously baroque ways because daddy wouldn’t let me be a doctor; luckily this other serial killer was able to deduce my identity because of a plate of weird pasta I served to him 20 years ago.” Umm, what??

*I am more obsessed than ever with Matthew Gray Gubler though, especially his website Gublerland. His photography is positively Lynchian:

WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN