Is it Possible for True Detective to Reach the Heights of Game of Thrones?


That, up there, is a lofty question. Game of Thrones is officially HBO’s largest, most popular, and highest earning production to date. With all that out of the way, it was once commonly thought that serious fantasy could never gain a large audience in television. Science fiction was popular, but only with a pretty select and passionate niche. Fantasy? Not so much. Game of Thrones stormed onto the scene and changed all that, and now the rules as to what can be achieved on television are in flux. It’s anyone’s game now.

The real question, then, is if the writing on True Detective continues to increase in quality could it ever be as popular as Game of Thrones? It’s an interesting question, because there’s no real reason why not. When comparing the shows they both have their fair share of violence and nudity, not to mention that neither are exactly happy affairs. There was a time not so long about when Game of Thrones would have faltered and True Detective could have reigned.

It’s no question that Game of Thrones struck gold. Does that mean that it has some quality that True Detective doesn’t, and could possibly never obtain? True Detective’s nature as an anthology makes it impossible to get too attached to characters, but the loyal fan-base has already proven that that’s not such a problem as they devour every bit of casting news. As dark as Game of Thrones is, when it comes to oppressive atmosphere, True Detective simply has it beat in that department. Perhaps that will prove too much for the majority of people to be able to handle.

Nic Pizzolatto and company are only really getting started, so there’s no telling where this ride will take us. Could you possibly see a future in which True Detective becomes as much of a cultural phenomenon as Game of Thrones? Do you feel it’s already on its way there? Sound off below.

Tags: Television True Detective

  • Hungry for Hannibal Podcast

    Ok, let me start. First off, I’m a huge fan of both shows. I read A Song of Ice and Fire starting with the first book not long after it was published and I have been a loyal reader ever since. I also really enjoy the series and feel it’s quality across all fronts is scary good.

    I felt the same about True Detective. I felt it was a landmark show and highly ambitious in it’s narrative as well as it’s execution. Acting was top notch, writing was deservedly acclaimed and the cinematography and directing was excellent.

    I agree with nearly everything you said here except the notion that True Detective has GOT beat in terms of oppressive atmosphere. While I feel both shows are dark and rank, and both are certainly oppressive, GOT has an exceptional foundation to work with.

    As a contributer here to this site I’m sure that Reuben loves this show, otherwise it wouldn’t take time out of his life to do this, but with that being said, as a fan you also have to be highly objective. Rather than attempt to one-up GOT by touting that it has the show beat in something as highly debatable as oppressive atmosphere, why not simply state that both shows are of a similar high quality and leave it at that.

    Oppressive atmosphere and who has the most in a show is such a debatable topic. While I love to debate (obviously), I do think that making a statement like that is rather weak.

    GOT has 4 seasons filled with tears, blood and more deaths than most shows have across all networks for an entire year if not more. Let’s wait for a few more years and see then how TD measures up. An amazing freshman season is great but we have seen sophomore slumps before. If the show manages to stay at the high level it did in season 1 or even exceed it for a couple of more years, we can then begin to talk about legacy, etc. and yes, we can even get down to little details like oppressive atmosphere if you want.