The thing about True Detective is that it doesn’t just explore the darkness of serial killers. It explores the darkness of every character in the show. And though season 3 of the anthology was solid, season 1 is the best. It’s not even close. These warped, twisted, stunning eight episodes changed my opinion on Matthew McConaughey. I always thought he was overrated. But he plays a character who is almost a polar opposite of the person McConaughey is—as Detective Cohle, a cold, cynical, reclusive genius—and NAILS it. His on-screen chemistry with Woody Harrelson (who is also brilliant) works well. Their dynamic is important in the first 3 episodes, which are slow. They are the calm before the storm. Once you get to episode 4, this season explodes into a brilliant crescendo of action, twists, rabbitholes, and expansive layers of darkness. This classic, like Breaking Bad, has a very cynical outlook on the world. But unlike many works, its darkness is justified. Everyone is guilty of something in this series. This involves all of society and the underworld alike—from the cops to the politicians to the churches to the sex traffickers to the prostitutes to the biker gangs to the drug cartels to the killers. The plot, though fictional, is based on a series of murders that really happened in Louisiana. And yet nothing is what it seems; you can’t predict the sheer madness to come. Plus the script, screenplay, shots, soundtrack, and editing are as impressive as the acting.