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True Detective Season 4 Sets Franchise Record with Perfect Rotten Tomatoes Score


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Summary

  • True Detective: Night Country has received a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, breaking franchise records.
  • Audiences struggled to connect with the second and third seasons of the show, but critics praised the new season for its thrilling sense of dread.
  • The shorter length of season four and the use of new perspectives are credited as reasons for the season’s success.


True Detective made a significant impression when its first season premiered in 2014, and now its fourth season has broken franchise records with a perfect debut score on Rotten Tomatoes. True Detective: Night Country is another standalone tale in the anthology series, this time starring Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as two detectives investigating the disappearance of six men from an Alaskan research facility.

Despite the success of its first season, True Detective has struggled to maintain a high level of praise through its subsequent seasons. The first season, starring Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson and Michelle Monaghan, delivered an impressive 91% critics rating, which was almost matched by an audience score of 86%. However, the second season with Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaugh saw that rating plummet, with audiences really not liking the change of characters and the disappointing story and giving it just a 19% score.

In 2019, the series returned for a third season with future Blade star Mahershala Ali starring alongside Carmen Ejogo, Stephen Dorff and Ray Fisher. Critics found plenty to enjoy in the third story, but audiences still could not connect to it in the same way as the original season. With critics now heaping praise on Night Country, we will have to wait until the season premiere on HBO on January 14, 2024 to see if audiences feel the same way.

Related: True Detective Season 4 Cast and Character Guide


What the Critics Say about True Detective: Night Country

True Detective: Night Country
HBO

At the time of writing, Night Country has received 21 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and is continuing to maintain its 100% approval score. While there is still a long way to go, it seems that the new season could well be the first to truly challenge the series’ debut after a decade later.

One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that the new season of the show delivers a thrilling sense of dread that has not come across in its last two stories. Of course, there is also plenty of praise for the cast, not only for Foster but for Reis too.

Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall pinpoints the shorter length of season four as one of the biggest reasons for its success. Noting that “the end result is a lean, mean six-episode season that retains most of what was great under [creator Nic] Pizzolatto, while leaving behind the more self-indulgent or outright clumsy parts of those years.”

Collider’s Carly Lane also credits the shows use of “new perspectives,” which brings into the narrative people who are “so often shoved to the margins.” Meanwhile, Vicky Jessop of the London Evening Standard, among others, says that the chilling Alaskan setting “conjures an atmosphere thicker than the polar ice cap, and bleaker than a polar night.”

Movieweb’s own Julian Roman agreed in the sentiment that Night Country is a long-awaited return to form for the show. He said:

“In True Detective: Night Country, the fourth season of the HBO anthology series returns to the quality of its superb first season in a sinister odyssey of brutal murders. Jodie Foster and co-star Kali Reis play Liz and Evangeline, commanding the screen as riveting protagonists confronted with troubling mysteries in a frozen, unforgiving setting. Their personal tragedies fuel an existential search for the truth where each clue leads to twisted possibilities. Is death the end or does another realm exist for tortured souls? Complex relationships intertwine to explore divisive racial, sexual, and environmental themes. Six well-written and acted episodes will have you glued to a truly unexpected conclusion.”

For a series that has failed to recapture the magic of its original premise, Night Country seems to be bringing back everything that made the first season so popular, and cracking the tension up to a new level. True Detective: Night Country will debut on HBO on January 14, 2024.

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