What to watch: True Detective’s best season yet, a new Marvel hero, and a classic to revisit

Trailer for True Detective: Night Country


I really wanted to like the first season of True Detective.

Released in 2014, it had so many of the things I look for – a compelling murder mystery, philosophical questions and a stellar cast with genuine chemistry. But halfway through, I lost interest.

And so it was with seasons two and three – something just didn’t click.

That is until season four, Night Country, which I have been racing through at an ungodly pace. This time the lead detectives are women (which probably plays no small part in my renewed enthusiasm), played by the inimitable Jodie Foster and former world champion boxer Kali Reis.

Foster is, as you’d expect, brilliant. But it’s relative newcomer Reis who has me hooked.

This season is set in Ennis, a fictional mining town in Alaska, during a polar night. The local Indigenous community, Iñupiat, (a real group of Indigenous Alaskans) have formed families and social ties with incomers over the years, but their coexistence is not without hurdles.

The disappearance of a group of scientists from a local research lab brings to the fore a forgotten case of the murder of an Indigenous woman. Reis plays the Indigenous detective determined to seek justice for the forgotten victim, a local woman named Anne Kowtok.

Our reviewer, Dr Agata Lulkowska, who has made films with and about indigenous communities in Colombia and the Peruvian Amazon, was impressed by how the show’s creators have gone beyond cheap and overused stereotypes to allow for a more realistic depiction of contemporary indigenous lives.

True Detective: Night Country isn’t the only new TV show spotlighting indigenous characters.

Echo, the latest Marvel series to come to Disney+, tells the story of Maya Lopez, a deaf, Native American woman with extraordinary powers.

Marvel fatigue has well and truly set in for many viewers. With so many television shows and films to keep up with, staying in the loop of the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to come with a lot of homework.

But Echo is a breath of fresh air, enjoyable as a contained piece of storytelling with some subtle and unusual creative choices that reflect its unique protagonist.

Echo trailer


In one early scene, as Lopez finds herself locked in a fight for her life, the only sound is her rapid heartbeat intertwined with her adversary’s until, eventually, only her own remains.

Our reviewer, Kevin Buckle, who is profoundly deaf himself, called Echo a one-of-a-kind superhero – and an inspiration to the deaf community.

Nostalgia bites

This month The Sopranos celebrates its 25th anniversary.

It’s widely considered one of the best TV shows ever made, but when the first episode aired, as our writer Jane Steventon explains, the show’s creators had no idea that it would become such a cultural behemoth.

In fact, creator David Chase was simply hoping it would last beyond one season.

Growing up, an intimate knowledge of the show’s unconventional “bad guy as protagonist” plot was something of a calling card for every cool culture buff I knew. And not much has changed in the years since.

The Sopranos’ fingerprints are all over contemporary television. It’s hard to imagine audiences rallying behind problematic protagonists such as Breaking Bad’s Walter White, or Mad Men lothario Don Draper had the world not first been introduced to Tony Soprano.

The Sopranos trailer


Anna Walker, Senior Arts + Culture Editor, The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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