Touting an average gross audience figure of more than 11 million, it's safe to say that HBO's existential crime drama, True Detective, convinced more than a few Americans to fall down Nic Pizzolatto's rabbit hole, this winter. The show's eight episodes enraptured viewers, causing them to go mad, much like The Yellow King they frantically sought in the background of stills from the show for days after each portion premiered.
Now, just a couple of short weeks after the show's first season drew to a close in the depths of Carcosa, everyone with a Wi-Fi connection and HBOGo is speculating about the forthcoming second season, promised to focus on "hard women, bad men, and the secret, occult history of the U.S. transportation system." One such conspirator suggested that Tyler Durden himself might be in talks with HBO about signing on to pontificate about the meaninglessness of life and love, or whatever, in TD's second go-round.
A Google search of "brad pitt true detective" nets 4.3 million results, including reports from PolicyMic, Metro UK, The Independent, and ShowBizSpy. Amid all of the rumors and reports on rumors, there's only one message of real importance and that's that it doesn't matter whether or not Brad Pitt is actually in talks to join True Detective Season 2. As GQ's Tom Carson adeptly posits, the mere fact that one of the biggest movie stars on this planet or any other could have his name attached to a role in a television drama is an absolute coup for the art form.
Whether or not this will happen is virtually beside the point. What’s remarkable is that nobody in ye olde blogosphere reacted as if the idea was preposterous, let alone treated it as evidence that Pitt’s career must be—yeah, sure—on the skids. Whatever existential gumbo (with a healthy dash of T&A Tabasco) series creator Nic Pizzolatto cooks up for his hit show’s sophomore outing, the results are bound to be more interesting than most of the movie scripts Pitt sees.
Pitt just starred in World War Z, a much-maligned film that was in danger of never seeing the light of day until it did and grossed $540 million world wide. The mere fact that it doesn't sound unreasonable for his name to be tossed around in the same sentence as a television drama is indicative of the fact that—as far as the art is concerned, at least—HBO, Netflix, Showtime, and the like are now able to trade punches with the major Hollywood film studios. And, regardless of who comes out on top, the real winners are the viewers who will be able to consume character-driven stories instead of (or, at least, alongside) industry tent-poles like whatever Transformers abomination that's set to hit theaters, next.
To think that television is the premiere medium through which the masses can consume high brow culture—rife with philosophical and literary references and held up by the best actors and actresses in the trade—is an incredible and welcome notion.