It might not be perfect—as people far smarter than I have noted, it sure would be great if even one of show's female characters was a quarter as well-written as its male leads—but True Detective is pretty fucking outstanding, to the point where I'm currently trying to figure out if I can budget in enough time this weekend to rewatch the first seven episodes before the eighth and final one airs Sunday night. All the same, here's something to keep in mind, via Ian Crouch's New Yorker piece:
Television fans have been made fools of before, encouraged to delve deeply into a show’s details—to express, in effect, a kind of faith—only to find out, as with The X-Files and Lost, that we may have spent more time worrying about an ending than the creators themselves did. (Via.)
The X-Files and Lost are hardly the only culprits; from Battlestar Galactica to The Sopranos to Seinfeld to Deadwood to Buffy to Newhart to Veronica Mars, TV shows seem to have a far, far more difficult time sticking their landings than books or film. (In fact, the only TV finale I can think of that didn't elicit mass disappointment and/or anger in people might be Breaking Bad.)
True Detective's ending on Sunday is technically a season rather than a series finale, but dramatically, it'll be wrapping up these characters and these events, giving it the same challenges, for all intents and purposes, that are faced by a series finale. And more so than most shows, True Detective's emphasis on a central mystery means that if they drop the ball plot-wise (with, say, Big Bird waddling out in the last five seconds wearing a paper Burger King crown—THIS IS MY IDEA, DON'T STEAL IT NIC PIZZOLATTO), all of Rust's doomsayer monologues and Marty's clenched-jaw rage will deflate.
Even knowing that most TV shows don't have the best track record with endings, I can't wait to see how this thing ends. Maybe that's because True Detective isn't like most TV shows.