True Detective appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not stellar, the image was more than satisfactory.
Sharpness was usually good, as the shows mostly appeared well-defined and concise. Some wide shots came across as a little soft, but those remained infrequent. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. In terms of print issues, no concerns materialized.
Like most modern thrillers, Detective went with a stylized palette. Much of the flick stayed with a pretty desaturated set of tones that focused on a bluish tint, though some yellows and greens appeared as welll. Within those constraints, the hues were appropriate and well-rendered. Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows showed good clarity much of the time; we got a couple of slightly murky interiors but nothing serious. All of this made the image a solid “B”.
I also felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of True Detective. The soundfield mostly came to life during a few action sequences, as those provided fairly good material from the side and rear speakers. Scenes in clubs and bars also added life. Otherwise this was a mix heavy on atmosphere. Those elements created a nice sense of place and added impact to the material.
Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music appeared robust and full. Effects were accurate and dynamic. Low-end response showed good thump and richness. Nothing here dazzled, but the audio merited a “B”.
In terms of extras, we find audio commentaries for two episodes. Alongside “Who Goes There”, we hear from series creator/executive producer/writer Nic Pizzolatto and composer T Bone Burnett, while “The Secret Fate of All Life” gives us Pizzolatto, Burnett and executive producer Scott Stephens. In these, we learn about story/character areas, music, cast and performances, sets and locations, and other production logistics.
Though not without insights, the commentaries disappoint. Lots of dead air occurs, and even when the participants speak, they often tend toward praise for the show and others involved. The discussions lack a lot of value.
Deleted Scenes accompany two shows. We get clips for “The Locked Room” (6:17) and “Form and Void” (3:40). “Room” offers an extended preaching scene and doesn’t seem interesting. “Void” simply gives us a long series of helicopter shots across the show’s domains; it also fails to become particularly compelling. Honestly, these are about the least useful deleted scenes I’ve ever viewed.
All eight shows provide Inside the Episode featurettes. These run a total of 36 minutes, one second. Across these, we find notes from Pizzolatto and executive producer/director Cary Fukunaga. These mostly examine plot/character domains, though they also touch on topics like sets, locations and related areas. A few insights occur, but these often feel more like episode recaps than anything else.
On Disc Three, we find Making True Detective. It goes for 15 minutes, two seconds and includes notes from Pizzolatto, Fukunaga, Stephens, art directors Mara LePere-Schloop and Tim Beach, production designer Alex DiGerlando, property master Lynda Reiss, artist Joshua Walsh, and actors Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Tory Kittles, Michael Potts and Elizabeth Reaser. The program covers story/character areas, cast and performances, locations and production design, props, cinematography, and episode specifics. Though it comes with a little hype/praise, “Making” usually offers a meaty affair. Despite its length, it delivers a good mix of details.
Up Close runs eight minutes, three seconds and provides comments from McConaughey and Harrelson. They chat about their roles/performances and aspects of the shoot. They share a nice chemistry but don’t tell us a ton about the series.
Finally, we locate the 14-minute, 25-second A Conversation with Nic Pizzolatto and T Bone Burnett. They discuss music, characters, themes, and related subjects. Some of this repeats from the commentaries, but the material comes in a tighter package here.
Given the nature of its storyline, True Detective won’t be for everyone. Those who enjoy grim crime drama will take to it, however, as it delivers a consistently deep, involving tale. The Blu-ray brings us generally positive picture and audio as well as a mix of decent bonus materials. True Detective gives us a solid thriller.
True Detective offers a solid eight-episode take on the serial killer genre.