Too much of a good thing does exist, believe it or not, and there may be no better exemplar of that hoary adage than the US model of serialized storytelling. Stateside, TV shows tend to go on ad nauseam, outstaying their welcome by several seasons and wasting their audience’s goodwill in the process (think GleeThe Office, or perhaps Weeds). We’re getting better at it, though; Parks & Recreation has a finale in sight, while FX’s Fargo‘s vitality measures at just ten episodes.

But not every show should be approach with a “one size fits all mentality”. Most television can, and ought to be, crafted with a clear endgame in mind; there’s a point where the story has to wrap up, lest a series becomes too unwieldy and lose itself in its own scope. On the other hand, certain offerings by their very nature lend themselves to repetition. Take American Horror Story, a show that resets its narrative with each season, telling a different tale, with different characters, in a different setting, every single time. That’s the kind of program that can justify a lifespan of “forever”.

This is also true of HBO’s recent towering critical smash, True Detective, which just wrapped up its first venture last March. Every cycle of Nic Pizzolatto’s uncompromisingly brutal and thoroughly grim take on the police procedural will bring a new cast and a brand new case to solve; though it’s still being developed, season two is already shaping up nicely, with a California backdrop, female leads, and a focus on America’s occult history. It’s almost enough to spur curiosity about the details of season three, but here’s the rub: Pizzolatto, according to The Playlist, actually isn’t thinking beyond the third go-round.

Speaking at the Banff World Media Festival, Pizzolatto expressed his thoughts on where True Detective is headed and where it might end up; taking him at his word, we’re looking at only around twenty more episodes before he calls it quits. His outlook is a bit surprising – True Detective seems like exactly the sort of show HBO could milk endlessly without being shameful about it – but he clearly lays out the reasoning behind his sentiment in the following quote:

It can’t have any growing pains like a regular first season. If it works it has to work right out of the box. That’s incredibly exhausting. I mean, the job is exhausting to begin with, but it’s doubly exhausting and I’m writing every episode.

Seems like a fair concern. Cobbling together a crime yarn as intricately-crafted and intelligent as the one filmmaker Cary Fukunaga unspooled over the course of True Detective‘s premiere outing just once is hard enough; pulling off the same feat until infinity sounds downright Herculean. Even getting three equally great seasons out of the series would be a serious hat trick for Pizzolatto and whoever he has on-board to direct its second and third entries. Pushing beyond that point could be even riskier for a show like True Detective than for a brand like Modern Family. Maybe Pizzolatto has the right idea here.

Then again, all idealism and principal can be jettisoned when a creative type gets tempted by a well-priced carrot, so maybe we’ll end up seeing True Detective go to four seasons and change. It’s up to Pizzolatto and whether or not he’s really dedicated to quality over quantity.

We’ll keep you posted on the future of True Detective as more information is made available.

Source: The Playlist