Colin Farrell’s True Detective Replacement Redeems His Rotten Tomatoes Letdown 9 Years Later

A new show with Colin Farrell as its lead not only serves as the perfect True Detective replacement but also allows the actor to redeem his 9-year-old Rotten Tomatoes letdown. In an acting career spanning over two decades, Colin Farrell has played myriad roles, many of which have also earned him several nominations and accolades. In recent years, the actor has seemingly been on a roll, delivering one successful movie after another. From After Yang to The Banshees of Inisherin, Farrell has been a part of several exciting and highly acclaimed movie projects.

However, like every actor, Farrell has also experienced a fair share of hiccups in his acting journey. One of these hiccups was True Detective season 2, which remains one of the worst-reviewed installments of the HBO franchise. While the actor did an incredible job at portraying his True Detective character, the season just could not match the high standards set by its predecessor. Fortunately, Colin Farrell’s new show spells redemption for him.

Sugar Sees Colin Farrell Play Another Detective, 9 Years After True Detective

Colin Farrell’s Sugar is an anti-thesis of his True Detective character

Colin Farrell in True Detective Season 2 Episode 1

Colin Farrell in True Detective season 2True Detective season 2 introduces Colin Farrell as the corrupt Vinci Police Department detective, Ray Velcoro. However, like most True Detective characters, the show presents him in a way that makes it hard not to empathize with him and despise him at the same time. Ray’s actions throughout the True Detective season also make him a tragic hero who is burnt-out and emotionally scarred, with hardly any redeeming qualities. He is a raging alcoholic, consumed by his demons and trapped in an endless circle of self-destruction and despair.

Farrell’s titular character in Sugar is the complete opposite. Unlike Ray, he is incapable of getting drunk no matter how much he drinks. Sugar also shows no signs of moral corruption and even goes out of his way to help people who may not be able to offer him anything in return. Although there are times when Sugar loses his cool, he, unlike Ray, understands the consequences of letting his anger consume him. He always strives to control his emotions and only uses violence as a last resort during his crime-solving endeavors.

How Sugar’s Rotten Tomatoes Score Compares To True Detective Season 2
Sugar’s reviews are far better than True Detective season 2’s

Colin Farrell as John Sugar in his car in Sugar

Sugar currently has a little over 50 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes but stands at an 81% score with a “Certified Fresh” rating. Based on its Rotten Tomatoes score, Sugar is seemingly performing well among critics. When it comes to its audience score, the Apple TV+ is at 68%, which is still a respectable rating but slightly lower than its critics’ rating. True Detective season 2, in contrast, has a critics score of 47%, which is significantly lower than Sugar’s. Its audience rating is at an alarmingly low score of 26%, which highlights how the majority of viewers did not like the season.

Since Colin Farrell has several acclaimed movies and shows under his belt, True Detective season 2’s underwhelming critical response was undoubtedly one of the biggest lows in his acting career. Given how Farrell brilliantly portrayed Ray in True Detective season 2 and made his performance one of the better aspects of the season, he cannot be blamed for the season’s downfall. However, its reception still cast a shadow over his otherwise illustrious career. Fortunately, Sugar is no allowing him to redeem himself from True Detective season 2’s failures.

Why Sugar’s Reviews Are So Positive
Sugar is being touted as a genre-bending series

Colin Farrell as John enjoying the ocean view in Sugar

For obvious reasons, Sugar’s positive reception primarily stems from Colin Farrell’s ability to perfectly embody the show’s titular detective character, John Sugar. While many reviews for the show have criticized its pacing and use of clichéd noir conventions in its early episodes, others have praised it for its unpredictable twists and turns that allow it to bend the crime thriller genre’s tropes in intriguing ways. One review (via CNN’s Brian Lowry) also commends how Sugar “manages to make the familiar seem original” by adopting an “old-style detective” narrative but sprinkling it with “strange surprises.”

Sugar has received a few negative reviews, but most reviewers are touting it as a refreshing addition to the crime thriller genre.

Another review (via Slash Film’s Ben Pearson) praised the show’s references to film noir, calling it “a noir series for cinephiles.” While some reviewers seem dissatisfied with the show’s unexpected narrative turns and forced season 2 setups, others countered these opinions by calling it (via JoBlo’s Alex Maidy) “a brilliant take on a legendary genre.” Even Sugar’s stylistic editing and direction, which make it look and feel like an arthouse film, garnered praise from critics. Overall, Sugar has received a few negative reviews, but most reviewers are touting it as a refreshing addition to the crime thriller genre.

What Went Wrong With True Detective Season 2
True Detective season 2 seemed pale compared to season 1

Rachel McAdams, arms folded beside Colin Farrell in a scene from True Detective season 2.

Perhaps one of the biggest problems with True Detective season 2 was that it was a follow-up to the widely acclaimed season 1. Many viewers and critics unanimously agreed that True Detective season 2 was a fairly average addition to the crime thriller genre. However, since True Detective season 1 was lightning in a bottle, a mediocre follow-up like season 2 was bound to pale in comparison. The atmospheric Louisiana setting, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey’s performances, Nic Pizzolatto’s brilliant script, and Cary Joji Fukunaga’s immersive direction made True Detective season 1 a nearly perfect television drama.

Thankfully, Sugar is not a part of the True Detective franchise and enjoys the freedom of etching its own path without being held back by audience expectations and comparisons.

It set the bar so incredibly high that none of the new True Detective seasons have been able to match its captivating storytelling. True Detective season 2 was also weighed down because of its focus on way too many detective character beats at once and clear emphasis on repeating season 1’s success without implementing any elements that made season 1 memorable. Thankfully, Sugar is not a part of the True Detective franchise and enjoys the freedom of etching its own path without being held back by audience expectations and comparisons.




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