True Detective

HBO has renewed its ongoing deal with True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto, ensuring that the writer and executive producer will stay on with the premium network until 2018. But while Pizzolatto’s fate is fairly certain (or as certain as anything can be, in this vast, spiraling universe of uncomprehending terror), that of his most famous creation is not. According to Variety, HBO and Pizzolatto are pretty much like everybody else at this point, in that they don’t know what the hell to do with True Detective.

Was the anthology’s controversial second season—which ditched the first’s Lovecraft-tinged Southern philosophizing for a brutal tale of corruption and redemption in small-town California—a classic sophomore slump? A flash of underrated genius? Too Vince Vaughn-y for TV? Opinions abound, as widespread as Matthew McConaughey-inspired memes about time and its circular flatness. To the extent that objective reality exists, though, it’s hard to categorize True Detective season two as an unqualified success; while its much-hyped early weeks bumped the season’s average viewership above that of its predecessor, the ratings indicate that far fewer hung around until the bitter end. (The show’s second season finale drew in 2.7 million viewers, almost a million fewer than tuned in for the end of the first.)

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By all accounts, the ball is currently in Pizzolatto’s court, with HBO waiting for him to choose how the third season’s production will work. A lot of the talk seems to be centered on bringing potential new voices to the series, which is curently written solely by its creator. It’s possible that status quo will continue, with Pizzolatto double-pinkie-swearing to produce something a little more engaging this time, but it also seems likely that the show might hire on a writer’s room to spread the scripting work around, or even pass Pizzolatto’s showrunner duties on to someone else.