True Detective 2, Sky Atlantic, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams

They’re mean, have unhealthy addictions and they’re scary – and that’s just the cops in the all-new True Detective

True Detective, Series 2, Sky Atlantic Key Art

True Detective, Series 2, Sky Atlantic

★★Sky Atlantic, starts Monday, 22 June, 9pm

SO, AS EXPECTED, it’s all change in True Detective. No more Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey or director Cary Joji Fukunaga framing his unsettling bayou backwaters.

Showrunner Nic Pizzolatto is back, however, and the big question for anyone who was transfixed and disturbed by series one is, how will the wholly made-over crime drama match-up?

The first episode is complex, introducing many new faces in a rush. We have Colin Farrell as cop-on-edge Ray Velcoro, who is in debt to criminal Frank Semyon, played by Vince Vaughn.

Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch

Rachel McAdams is Ani Bezzerides, a dedicated detective with screwed-up personal life. And the cop triumvirate is completed by Taylor Kitsch as highway patrolman Paul Woodrugh, whose problems range from erectile dysfunction to a suicidal motorcycling habit.

Oh, and Brit actress Kelly Reilly turns up as Frank Semyon’s wife, Jordan, no doubt relieved to have escaped ITV’s rather dull Above Suspicion.

The clever shifting time frames of series one are also gone, no doubt because so many characters need an overall linear storyline. This time it hangs on the construction of a new rail line and the incumbent corruption that goes with it.

A town called Vinci

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Colin Farrell as Velcoro

The gothic mood of series one is replaced by Californian sprawl centred on an ugly place called Vinci, an industrial hell of cement mixers and factories, the biggest polluter in the state. As one character says, ‘What the fuck is Vinci?’ To which Ray Velcoro replies, ‘City, supposedly.’

You could probably devote the whole series to Velcoro, Bezzerides or Woodrugh, such is the airport-carousel of baggage each one is carrying. We first encounter Velcoro, who, naturally, is separated from his wife, as he tries to cheer his chubby son outside the school gates. When he later learns that the boy has been bullied, the fallout for the bully and his father at the hands of the flaky cop is chilling to behold.

As Velcoro sees it, ‘Sometimes a beating promotes personal growth.’

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Wayward Pines, Fox, Matt Dillon

Wayward Pines cast shot

If you go down to the woods… strange goings-on in Wayward Pines

 

Twin Peaks meets The Prisoner in M Night Shyamalan’s off-kilter mystery thriller.

★★★ Fox, Thursday, 14 May, 9pm

M NIGHT SHYAMALAN’S output is full of disorientating twists – such as how did he go from making crowd-pleaser  The Sixth Sense to bilge like the $200m-plus cringe-fest After Earth?

WAYWARD PINES:  Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon, L) meets Beverly (guest star Juliette Lewis, R) in Wayward Pines on FOX.

Ethan (Matt Dillon) meets Beverly (Juliette Lewis)

When audiences scarred by that movie hear that he is behind Wayward Pines – exec producer and he directs the opener – they may want to go hide in a pine forest rather than set the TiVo.

However, for a high-concept thriller, Wayward Pines is worth a gander. It’s based on Blake Crouch’s trilogy of top-selling books, and the cast – Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis, Toby Jones, Terrence Howard – are always good to watch.

The 10-parter certainly starts in gripping style, with Dillon as Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke surviving a car smash while investigating the disappearance of two agents in a small Idaho town, Wayward Pines.

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Wayward Pines, Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis, coming soon

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Wayward Pines is coming to Fox on 14 May. It’s based on Blake Crouch’s books, exec produced by M Night Shyamalan, and stars Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Toby Jones, Juliette Lewis and Terrence Howard. What’s the 10-parter like? A mystery-thriller with overtones of Twin Peaks and a pinch of pulp horror thrown in. We’ll have a review this weekend…

 

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