TV Character Madness: Round 2 – Part II

<< Previously on TV Madness

We said goodbye to our first #1 seed.

Sad Homer

Don’t worry. He’ll be fine, eventually.

Still Sad Homer

Now it’s time to vote on who else is going to the Sweet 16.

Matchup #41 (Antiheroes)

(5) Don Draper – Mad Men

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vs.

(13) Saul Goodman – Better Call Saul

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Matchup #42 (Sidekicks)

(7) Jack Donaghy – 30 Rock

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vs.

(2) Josh Lyman – The West Wing

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Matchup #43 (Comedy)

(12) Gob Bluth – Arrested Development

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vs.

(4) Ron Swanson – Parks and Recreation

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Matchup #44 (Heroes)

(1) Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones

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vs.

(8) Rust Cohle – True Detective

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Matchup #45 (Antiheroes)

(6) Frank Underwood – House of Cards

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vs.

(3) Dexter Morgan – Dexter

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Matchup #46 (Sidekicks)

(1) Dwight Schrute – The Office

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vs.

(8) Ari Gold – Entourage

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Matchup #47 (Comedy)

(11) Sheldon Cooper – The Big Bang Theory

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vs.

(3) Liz Lemon – 30 Rock

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Matchup #48 (Heroes)

(7) Jimmy McNulty – The Wire

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vs.

(2) Gregory House – House M.D.

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Sweet 16 voting begins Monday, April 21st.

Follow along for more on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Next on TV Madness >>

TV Character Madness: Round 1 – Part II

<< Previously on TV Madness

Some close calls, upsets, and absolute dominance. 

Now for the second half of the Round 1 showdowns.

PiffBracketTV-02 (1)

Matchup #17 (Antiheroes)

(4) Omar Little – The Wire

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vs.

(13) Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill – Better Call Saul

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Matchup #18 (Comedy)

(8) Barney Stinson – How I Met Your Mother

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vs.

(9) Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation

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Matchup #19 (Sidekicks)

(7) Jack Donaghy – 30 Rock

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vs.

(10) Crazy Eyes – Orange is the New Black

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Matchup #20 (Heroes)

(2) Dr. Gregory House – House M.D.

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vs.

(15) Coach Eric Taylor – Friday Night Lights

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Matchup #21 (Antiheroes)

(6) Frank Underwood – House of Cards

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vs.

(11) Ray Donovan – Ray Donovan

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Matchup #22 (Comedy)

(3) Liz Lemon – 30 Rock

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vs.

(14) Selina Meyer – Veep

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Matchup #23 (Sidekicks)

(1) Dwight Schrute – The Office

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vs.

(16) Gary Walsh – Veep

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Matchup #24 (Heroes)

(5) Jack Bauer – 24

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vs.

(12) Jessica Jones – Jessica Jones

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Matchup #25 (Comedy)

(4) Ron Swanson – Parks and Recreation

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vs.

(13) Tina Belcher – Bob’s Burgers

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Matchup #26 (Antiheroes)

(8) Hannibal Lecter – Hannibal

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vs.

(9) Vic Mackey – The Shield

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Matchup #27 (Heroes)

(7) Jimmy McNulty – The Wire

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vs.

(10) The Doctor – Doctor Who

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Matchup #28 (Sidekicks)

(2) Josh Lyman – The West Wing

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vs.

(15) John Watson – Sherlock

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Matchup #29 (Comedy)

(6) Dr. Frasier Crane

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vs.

(11) Sheldon Cooper – The Big Bang Theory

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Matchup #30 (Antiheroes)

(3) Dexter Morgan – Dexter

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vs.

(14) Thomas Shelby – Peaky Blinders

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Matchup #31 (Heroes)

(1) Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones

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vs.

(16) Mal Reynolds – Firefly

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Matchup #32 (Sidekicks)

(5) Joey Tribbiani – Friends

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vs.

(12) Saul Berenson – Homeland

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Round 2 begins Saturday, March 19th. Hear our breakdown of the bracket on the latest Piffcast.

Follow along for more on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Next on TV Madness >>

Piffcast: TV Character Madness Bracket – Selection Show

UPDATE: VOTING HAS BEGUN FOR THE 2016 TV CHARACTER MADNESS TOURNAMENT! 

Just a day after the NCAA Tournament’s Selection Sunday show, The Piffcast announces its own bracket for TV and sports fans alike…

TJ and I reveal the participants of our new TV Character Madness tournament. Voting will begin here on MichaelPiff.com Thursday morning (3/17), as the NCAA Tourney tips off, and YOU will decide who advances toward Television Supremacy.

Also, take a listen for how you can enter our TV Madness Contest and win a Piffcast Prize Pack (Trust us. It’s worth it). Below is the full bracket and you can get copies of your own to fill out on Facebook and Twitter

(Before you freak out about some of your favorites being left out, the bracket goes back to 2000.)

PiffBracketTV (1) (1)

For a closer look at each region…

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Subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes here. Again, voting begins Thursday morning, March 17th. Have a favorite character you want to win? Let your friends know, and follow along on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

The Best Super Bowl 50 Commercials

If you are a big Broncos fan or really love defensive play, then you probably enjoyed the game. If not, well…at least we had the commercials.

I’m not sure there was one ad during last night’s Super Bowl broadcast on CBS that will go down as an all-time favorite, but there were some very good ones – Puppies, a meaningful PSA, Superheroes, two well placed songs, and a casting that probably was cooler to some than others.

At times, you wondered “They really paid $5 million for that?” Like that detergent that nobody’s heard of…or the F’ing PuppyMonkeyBaby. I’m good not spending my money on Mountain Dew for a long time. Was there really a Scientology ad too? Glad I didn’t notice that one.

When you’re forced to sit down and remember what stuck out to you the day after, these are the commercials that worked.

“Commander” Audi

For those of us who are still looking up at the stars to see if Bowie is winking back down at us, this ad was cool. Audi also chose to use my favorite song choice from Oscar-nominated “The Martian”, which I’ve listened to at least 3 times a week since seeing it in theaters.

 

“Ultrasound” Doritos

This may not have been as funny to expecting mothers as it was to me, but come on…Doritos picked a solid one from their annual Super Bowl ad contest. Considering I was a baby shower the day before, it tickled me a little more.

 

“Hulk vs. Ant-Man” Coca-Cola

It felt strange not seeing any polar bears from Coca-Cola this year, but like Bud Light pointed out early on…”everybody loves Paul Rudd.” Believe it or not, I thought this pop commercial was better than any of the Batman v. Superman trailers and teasers we’ve gotten so far.

 

“Wiener Stampede” Heinz

You can’t go wrong with puppies, and Heinz nailed it. If I had a Top 3, this is certainly in there.

 

“Give A Damn” Budweiser

Budweiser didn’t give their Clydesdales much air time in their previous ad (which was really dumb in its own right. Why waste money ripping craft beer when your company acquires those same brewers right and left?) However, Helen Mirren made up for all of that and then some giving a very necessary message with the right platform. Don’t drink and drive, dumbasses.

 

“Getaway Car” Toyota Prius

Two things make this commercial awesome, to me at least. 1. The Sobotka family from season 2 of The Wire (Chris Bauer, James Ransone and Pablo Schreiber) 2. in a Chicago “Blues Brothers”-like chase scene. They almost made driving a Prius look cool.

 

“Someone To Love” Honda

Queen in any ad works. Sheep singing one of their better ensemble songs and a “voice over” works even better. Also in my Top 3.

 

“The Walken Closet’ Kia

How could you not love Christopher Walken…”Punch it, Richard!” killed me in my recliner.

 

“Cranky Marilyn” Snickers

I hope Snickers never runs out of ideas on this campaign. Betty White playing football and Abe Vigoda (*skypoint*) getting decked a few years ago, Danny Trejo as Marsha Brady…Willem Dafoe isn’t quite on Christopher Walken’s, but he’s one of the best angry actors to ever put a dress on. I’ll stand by that hyperbole.

 

What were your favorite commercials from Super Bowl 50? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

 

Chicago Celebrities We’d Rather See At Games

From afar, I’ve admired what the Chicago Cubs are doing. Not just at the plate and from the mound, but also from a promotional standpoint. Rather than trot out any famous person who can afford a ticket with what they find between their couch cushions, the Cubs had players who appreciate where the team is now and put in blood, sweat and tears wearing the blue pinstripes to throw out first pitches in Games 3 and 4.

After Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and 2-time All-Star Kerry Wood kicked off each game, the Cubs utilized their new video boards at Wrigley Field with videos of the late Ernie Banks and Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” That’s classy. That’s also what they should do from now on, but that’s a discussion for another day. (Never let Ryan Dempster do his impression of Will Ferrell’s impression of Harry Caray again)

Amidst the bat-flipping, opposing pitcher name chanting, and hardcore partying, we’ve seen the celebrity faces that we expected (some dreaded) to see at the ballpark. Billy Corgan and his new get-off-my-lawn attitude. Northside/Southside flipping John Cusack. And the worst front-runner on the planet, Jim Belushi (I cringe typing his name like he’s Voldemort). New assistant to Cubs President Theo Epstein (probably) Eddie Vedder has been fun. As an avid Pearl Jam fan, I get a kick out of him partying as hard as the players after each game.

It’s also hard to imagine that Bill Murray isn’t too far away, despite his media tour next week for the upcoming release of Rock the Kasbah. If anything, he could make it an epic cross promotion for his film and the MLB playoffs.

Bill Murray Harry

Vedder and Murray are awesome but it’s time to bring out the big hitters to the seats in Chicago, and not just at Wrigley Field. Last summer, I countered recently-outed heavyweight racist Hulk Hogan’s baiting for angry Blackhawks fans during the Stanley Cup with my own list of better celebrity hockey fans. Those mentioned in that list (CM Punk, Mr. T, Vince Vaughn, etc) get a hat-tip, but the following names will represent star power that we’d rather see regularly, similar to the likes at New York and Los Angeles events.

1. Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford Chicago

We’re talking about Han Solo AND Indiana Jones here. How can you deny the idea of either baseball stadium in Chicago playing the “Imperial Death March” music announcing the Yankees lineup, then following it with a shot of Harrison Ford behind home plate with the Rebel Victory score over it? Maybe it’s a the geek in me, but any opportunity to implement Star Wars, especially with the new film coming out, is super sexy to me.

Note: I also refer to White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu as #Baseball Jedi, so there’s that. 

Ford has Chicago in his blood, being born here and spending his college summers working on a boat in Burnham Park Harbor or managing the first Crate and Barrel on Wells. In an Michigan Ave Magazine interview, Ford said:

I’ve been out in Los Angeles for 35 years, and I think there are some things about my upbringing that reflect the values and the attitudes of the Midwest…. a kind of work ethic that I find particular to the Midwest. I can say that those were important, formative years for me, living in Chicago.”

Cool, Indy. I’ll buy you a beer next time you’re in town, if it gets you to a ballgame.

2. Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman Cubs

Currently featured in the new season of Fargo, Nick Offerman isn’t slowing down since the end of Ron Swanson and Parks and Recreation. Offerman isn’t shy about his baseball allegiance either.

There are many grown men and women who would scream like a 90’s tween at a Backstreet Boys concert if they saw the Joliet native, University of Illinois grad, and professional canoe craftsman down the foul line at a ballgame.

If he’s willing, during a the Crosstown Cup series, there’s plenty of bacon-on-a-stick awaiting his consumption at US Cellular Field.

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Double-thick maple bacon. You know you want it, Nick…

3. Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson Chicago

Yep, X-Files fans, Scully is from Chicago. With The X-Files revival series coming soon to FOX, they’d be making a huge mistake not having Gillian Anderson at Wrigley Field fending off the paranormal and extraterrestrial that I’m sure some Cubs fans still believe will prevent the Cubs from going to the World Series…At least come out to a Men and/or Women’s basketball game at DePaul, where Anderson finished college…something she and I have in common.

4. President Barack Obama

President Obama Chicago

Partisan opinions aside, he’s the MF’n President of the United States. He’s also a hardcore sports fan, which I thoroughly laid out on his birthday, and loves his Chicago teams…

When his term is up, I would welcome the president taking in as much Bulls basketball, White Sox baseball, Bears football, and whatever as he wants.

5. John C. Reilly

John C. Reilly Chicago

Would you really argue with me on this? Who doesn’t want south side native John C. Reilly in their corner?

That’s exactly who you want in games against New York when Billy Crystal, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Jay-Z and Beyonce are behind the opponent’s bench.

6. Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert Chicago

For someone who has spent a lot of his career recently in New York City, Stephen Colbert has not been bashful at all about his time in Chicago. Leading up to the new Late Show’s premiere, Colbert dedicated multiple podcasts to his years at Northwestern and doing improv in Chicago. While interviewing Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez this week, the two bonded over their love for the city and living there. Most notably, as tongue-in-cheek as it sounded, Colbert predicted a Cubs World Series win…a proclamation he believes “in no way will come back to haunt” him.

If the NLCS goes to New York, I would be shocked if Colbert wasn’t in attendance. Heck, he should catch a weekend game in Chicago if the opportunity is there.

More Chicago Celebrities You’d Rather See:

John Landis, Director – Animal House, Blues Brothers

Robert Zemeckis, Director – Back to the Future Trilogy

Patricia Arquette, Actress – Boyhood, True Romance

Common, Hip-Hop Artist & Actor – Selma

Fred Savage, Actor & Director – The Wonder Years

Ben Savage, Actor – Boy Meets World

Chloe Bennet, Actress – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Mandy Patinkin, Actor – The Princess Bride, Homeland

Gina Rodriguez, Actress – Jane The Virgin

Michael Pena, Actor – Ant-Man, The Martian

Frances McDormand, Actress – Fargo, Almost Famous

Shonda Rhimes, Writer – Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy

Michael Madsen, Actor – Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill

Jennifer Morrison, Actress – House M.D.

Michael Mann, Director – Heat

Tom Berenger, Actor – Major League

Dan Castellanata, Actor – The Simpsons

Bruce Dern, Actor – Nebraska, The Cowboys

Andre Braugher, Actor – Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Wood Harris, Actor – The Wire, Remember the Titans

Bob Balaban, Actor – Moonrise Kingdom

Jennifer Hudson, Singer & Actress – Dreamgirls

Chi McBride, Actor – Boston Public, The Terminal

Craig Robinson, Actor – The Office, Knocked Up

Jay Chandrasekhar, Actor & Director – Super Troopers

Jim O’Heir, Actor – Parks and Recreation

Did I miss anyone? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

Time To Exhale: True Detective Season 2 Does and Doesn’t Suck, So Far…

We are three episodes into Nic Pizollato’s followup to the incredible first season story that made the brothers from ‘Edtv’, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, our favorite detective tag team of all-time. Some viewers have jumped off the ledge, some are looking for a reason to hang on, and others aren’t that phased by True Detective Season 2…You can count me in the latter because I’ve suffered through much worse television.

Here’s the part where I warn you that the rest of this is riddled with SPOILERS. Continue at your own risk, if you aren’t caught up on the season. 

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As I’ve already mentioned, I don’t hate this new season of True Detective. There’s an actual mystery that I find compelling and some performances that I can appreciate. However, there are things worth hating and I understand the frustration and annoyance by fans. Pizzollato told us this would be a completely different story, but I don’t think viewers expected it to be THIS much different. If the first season wasn’t on such a high pedestal, would we care as much?

Trying to separate Season 2 from it’s predecessor, while also analyzing what the first season got right, there are reasons to indeed hate this season and reasons not to.

Why Season 2 Sucks

1. Taylor Kitsch! 

When the cast was finally confirmed, after what seemed like an eternity of speculation, I was actually excited about it. Colin Farrell was the most talented of the bunch. Vince Vaughn could finally get back to being the dark and twisted character actor that he started out as. Rachel McAdams is swell. The only wild card, to me, was Taylor Kitsch…TAYLOR KITSCH HAS BEEN EXCRUTIATING AND PAINFUL.

In 3 episodes, his only meaningful contribution to the story is finding the murder victim that kicked this whole thing off, Ben Caspere. Outside of that, Kitsch’s character has been an awful stereotype of a self-loathing war veteran with some messed up mommy issues and sexuality denial. Every curse word he tries using sounds as forced as when preteens discover swearing.

I don’t know if we’re supposed to feel bad for Officer Paul Woodrugh because of what he’s dealing with, but I have zero investment in him. If Paul doesn’t get interesting soon, I’m going to go back to referring to him as John Carter (not a compliment).

John Carter gif

2. Too Many Moving Pieces

This isn’t Game of Thrones. With twice as many main characters as the first season, we’re getting 4 times as many storylines. Part of Season 1’s charm was its simplicity. The main focus was finding the “Yellow King”, and how the development of the dysfunctional, yet charming, partnership between Rust Cohle and Marty Hart made that happen.

Instead, we’re not only worried about who’s killing off associations to Frank Seymon, but also an investigation into Ray Velcoro and the Vinci police department, Ray’s custody battle for his son, Paul’s stupid drama (which we eluded to earlier), and Ani’s family “cult” connections/porn addiction. Because of the multiple separate storylines, there’s very little chemistry between the characters (besides Ray and Ani) and the plot just drags…

It was episode 4 of Season 1,  “Who Goes There”, where the series set itself apart from everything else.

Will they pull something like the “6 straight minutes of one continuous shot” off again to make all the storylines worthwhile?

3. Cut the Bullshit, Frank.

I thought Vaughn with an organized crime background would be much more interesting than it has been so far. I understand Frank is trying to “go legit” and it’s not the signs of fading or weakness that bother me…It’s the soliloquies in bed and “attempts to speak with a blank stare” that do.

Frank push

I’m convinced, though, that Frank has turned a corner following his reawakening as a violent man. I loved him tearing the nasty gold teeth out of Danny Santos’s mouth and saying “Why would you greet the world like that?”

Frank’s wife, Jordan (played by Kelly Reilly), is a different dynamic and I don’t know what to make of her. Her consistent glares from a distance make you wonder if she has something else at play, besides what’s in Frank’s best interest, or if there really isn’t anything going on up there. I know everyone can’t be Claire Underwood, but that’s the kind of character I wish Jordan was. Frank has appeared needy of a backbone at times. I hope Jordan can be someone who can reinforce it….or completely break it.

4. Hitting 1/3 on Cliffhangers Isn’t a Good Batting Average.

Season 1 was masterful when it came to making you want more after the duration ran out each week…Rust telling investigators to “Ask the right fucking questions” after the first episode. “The Monster at the end of your dream”, Reggie Ledoux, entering the picture before everything goes black…

We’ve only had one of those instances in Season 2, and it was nearly a killer (literally).

Ray shotgunned

I found that ending to be brilliant. People were already swearing off the show because they thought Ray was dead. The speculation was as heated as the ending to Game of Thrones this past season. The follow up episode had kept the vigor going, an excellent chase scene, but they couldn’t end it with momentum. A weird awkward scene between Frank and Jordan to close the episode was as effective as Russell Wilson not handing the ball off to Marshawn Lynch at the goal line in the Super Bowl.

5. NO MORE MUSICAL NUMBERS!!!

The “Conway Twitty Impersonator in Limbo” bit was weird, right?

Conway Twitty TD

I allowed it because it matched with Ray’s bolo tie and I was excited to see Fred Ward as his father. Maybe it’s a theme with the bar, that Ray is in limbo whenever he’s seated in his booth, but I don’t need this show to turn out like American Horror Story has. My biggest complaint (among many) is that AHS turned into Glee for their “Freak Show” season, and that’s not why I tune in. For 3 episodes in a row, a performer has gotten too much screen time on the same stage in the same bar and I hope that changes in Episode 4.

Why Season 2 Doesn’t Suck

1. Ray Velcoro

Ray’s bolo tie puts Philip Rivers to shame, He’s also the most compelling character on the entire show.

Ray Fucks shit up

Ray has a little bit of both Rust and Marty in him. The baggage is evident and clear, as is the cynicism. He also prides himself on being a good detective, despite being morally and legally compromised. It’s hard to not get excited when he turned down a drink in Episode 3, saying “…it takes the edge off. I want to stay angry.”

2. Ray and Ani’s Chemistry

Ani is closest to Ray’s level as a cop, she’s not in anybody’s pocket, and there’s definitely a mutual respect between the two. On a show that LOVES asking unanswered questions, they are forthright with each other and don’t let bullshit get in the way. You would think two cops from different departments with different agendas would have unnecessary drama…That doesn’t seem to be the case yet.

I think most fans are glad Ray is alive so that they don’t have to deal with more Paul than they have to. Looking forward to some Marty & Rust-like banter going forward.

…and hopefully Ray heals up in time to actually catch someone.

3. Nic Pizzolatto’s Writing

None of the characters are made for Rust Cohle’s philosophy lessons (even as much as Frank tries telling dumb rat stories). They don’t have to be. As slow as the show has progressed so far, the dialogue has still been fantastic. Whether it was malicious or not, Pizzolatto’s shots at his former award winning director, Cary Fukunaga, in the scene on-set of a post apocalyptic film were hilarious…and completely passive aggressive.

I also know that everything on the show is deliberate, and everything has a purpose. Like creepy Rick Springfield…

If we go by some of the Season 1 playbook, there’s a lot riding on episode 4 this week. It’s the midway point, and you have to think Pizzolatto has something up his sleeve.

4. Who Doesn’t Love a Good Mystery?

Caspere’s murder has taken the detectives down one hell of a rabbit hole…Sex trade, corruption, weirdos in animal masks…And with one of Frank’s soldiers having a similar fate, one wonders if we’ve already met the killer (sorry, Stan)….It’s tough to jump ship if you were already invested in the mystery itself. Whether you like or dislike each of the characters, everyone is a suspect in this case.

5. The Sprinkling of Classic HBO TV Alums

One of my favorite aspects to Season 1 was seeing some of my favorite actors from my favorite shows make appearances. The Wire’s Clark Peters aka Lester Freeman and Shea Whigham from Boardwalk Empire are a few notable ones, and this season of True Detective hasn’t been any different. Another Wire alum, Michael Hyatt (Brianna Barksdale) has made waves as Ani’s commanding officer. Deadwood fans should recognize Ray’s teammate, W. Earl Brown, who played Dan Dority on the classic western series…now stalking Paul, for some kind of leverage.

But probably THE BIGGEST REASON True Detective Season 2 doesn’t suck…

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Masuka from Dexter aka C.S. Lee has made his presence known! And that goes a long way in my book…no matter how brief it’s been so far.

Love the show or hate it? Let’s talk about it on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.