Why True Detective season 5’s renewal is good, despite Night Country’s major problems

Although True Detective: Night Country polarized viewers, HBO’s decision to renew the series for a fifth season is good news as seen previously.

Despite True Detective: Night Country’s polarizing reception, the crime anthology series receiving a fifth season is good news for the franchise’s future. With the mixed reception regarding True Detective: Night Country’s finale, the crime series receiving a fifth season could make up for the most recent outings’ shortcomings. As seen with True Detective’s second season, True Detective: Night Country didn’t live up to the standards set by season 3 and, to a greater extent, season 1, which puts additional pressure on the upcoming season 5 to be nothing less than stellar.

However, a part of the reason why True Detective’s third season fared better than its second is because True Detective creator and showrunner, Nic Pizzolatto, was allowed to correct course and return to the franchise years after the dust settled regarding the poorly received second season. With True Detective season 5 confirmed, and Issa López slated to return as the season’s showrunner, a number of issues that contributed to the fourth season’s divided reception have the potential to be addressed and even improved upon.

Issa Lopez Deserves A Chance At Making True Detective Season 5
Nic Pizzolatto made up for season 2’s disappointment with season 3, Lopez could do the same with season 5.

López returning as the showrunner for True Detective’s fifth season makes sense when keeping in mind that Pizzolatto was able to return to the third season after the abysmal performance of the second. Additionally, Pizzolatto wrote every episode of the second season, and based on its performance, one could argue that he should not have been as heavily involved with season 3 as he was. However, while he wasn’t the sole creative force behind season 3, his reduced role improved the quality of the season, which speaks to why López should be given a second chance as well.

Although López has handled the True Detective: Night Country criticism well, it is important to note the show’s overall quality as well. True Detective: Night Country averaged around 12.7 million viewers across all streaming platforms since its January 14 debut, the best ratings of any True Detective season. While there are plot holes in True Detective: Night Country, the overall positive reception from critics and audiences combined with its high viewership prove that López made an objectively good show. However, True Detective season 5 could learn a lot from the season 4 criticisms anyway.

True Detective Season 5 Can Learn From Night Country’s Mistakes
True Detective season 3 was a major improvement over season 2.

Finn Bennett frowning as Pete Prior in True Detective Night Country

One of the reasons why True Detective season 1 is still held in such high regard ten years after its conclusion is because of its well-written characters, philosophical musings about morality, and the strong performances of its actors, most notably Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. While True Detective: Night Country boasts an impressive atmosphere courtesy of its Ennis, Alaska setting and excellent homages to horror movie classics like The Thing, True Detective: Night Country’s ending remains one of the most divisive in TV history.

The ending works in breaking down why the women of Ennis chose to take matters into their own hands regarding the death of one of their own, but the mystery and build-up surrounding it implied that it would be much stronger narratively. While the theme of women looking after each other and fighting oppressive forces is strong enough to anchor a story down, it ultimately doesn’t work as well with the series’ whodunit structure. True Detective’s first and third seasons tackle heavy themes while still being compelling. With season 5 in development, there’s plenty of time to improve its story.

When Will True Detective Season 5 Happen?
True Detective season 5’s release date is unknown.

Jodie Foster looking at a phone with earbuds in in True Detective Night Country

With López returning as True Detective season 5’s showrunner, there’s a good chance she’ll be able to lead an even better season than True Detective: Night Country. Since the news regarding the fifth season is still brand new, a release date for True Detective season 5 has yet to be announced. However, given the show’s track record of handling dark subjects with two strong leads, it’s possible that the upcoming season will continue the trend. Additionally, each season’s location and time period is different, so there’s also a good chance the season’s style will be similar as well.

True Detective: Night Country also references the first season, which helped maintain a sense of consistency among the distinctly different seasons. While everything surrounding the fifth season is purely speculative given its freshly announced status, a few guarantees can be assured given the anthology series’ established formula. The cast of True Detective’s fifth season is likely going to feature new characters since every season before it has, and it’s likely to bring in some of the biggest names in the industry to draw viewers in. With López returning after True Detective: Night Country, season 5 could be even more successful.


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