Much of True Detective’s appeal—the stylized visuals, the over-the-top lyricism of the dialogue, the cosmic-horror undertones, the hallucinations, the thematically significant conjunction of naked lady corpse and decapitated stag head—seems practically airlifted in from Hannibal. But True Detective is almost entirely reliant on the clichés that Hannibal studiously avoids. The plot turns out to be a standard buddy-cops-catch-the-killer mystery, complete with clichéd backwoods pervert in a tumble-down shack. Every single woman, up to and including Marty’s pre-teen daughter, is primarily relevant to the plot in terms of the sexual things she does or the sexual violence that’s forced upon her. It’s not enough to have a cult of serial killers worshiping Lovecraftian Elder Gods: They have to be a cult of Elder-God-worshiping serial-killers who also gang-rape children, or else it’s just not scary. And, whenever the plot stalls, we’re magically whisked away to a strip club or a harlot’s boudoir, so as to revive our interest in the show through naked breasts.
–This reminds me I should really watch Hannibal at some point.