The Long Bright Dark Photos
It's a show that looks and sounds as good as anything currently on TV, pairing lush, lingering shots of an artfully decaying Louisiana with T Bone Burnett's spare, unsettling soundtrack.
There's so much to explore in True Detective, and it's almost unbelievable with everything that happened in the first hour, that we've only just begun.
Is it enough to set True Detective apart from the ever-expanding squad of grim-and-gritty cop/killer dramas? That case isn't yet closed, though there's plenty of cause for optimism.
Rather, it's everything outside of the plot that makes True Detective such an interesting watch: the characters (and lead performances), the intellectual touches, and the anthology's narrative construction chief among them.
Mathew McConaughey brings a cool rebel feel to his damaged detective.
The show is beautifully subdued and restrained, offering a more contemplative tone. It forgoes the typical harried nature of a procedural in favor of character, striking the perfect balance between a grim case and the effect this line of work can have.
There is such gravitas and intensity on display that it hardly matters if we have seen similar investigations in police dramas before.
There was so much to take in, with the jumps between years and different cases, but I think the show has all the right ingredients to a recipe for success.
After one episode, True Detective already stands out as somehow greater than the sum of its impressive parts.
If finely acted, moody murder mysteries, with film noir dialogue and tortured characters are catnip to you, then this is just the ticket.
While it might be too early in the year or the series to call True Detective the best new show of 2014, it certainly so far has every advantage going for it in that regard.