So, True Detective Season 3 just got a little less interesting.
After completing two episodes of the crime anthology series, director Jeremy Saulnier has exited, leaving one of his hours unfinished. HBO is citing "scheduling conflicts" as the reason, which sounds like bullshit considering the fact that Saulnier was only brought in to helm three episodes total for the new season (which stars Mahershala Ali and Carmen Ejogo, and revolves around a bizarre, decades-spanning crime in the Ozarks).
Fittingly, HBO has enlisted TV lifer Daniel Sackheim - who worked on Ozark for Netflix, as well as Game of Thrones and Better Call Saul - to divide up directing duties on the rest of the episodes with TD showrunner/creator, Nic Pizzolatto (who will be making his debut behind the camera). This set of episodes was mostly written by Pizzolatto, with an assist from David Milch (Deadwood) on one hour.
There are a few curious bits contained in Variety's reporting of Saulnier's departure, notably these two paragraphs:
"The network is said to be happy with the scripts for the third season...sources said the filming on location in Arkansas has been tough at times, and that Pizzolatto and Saulnier had differences of opinion on the episodes.
After lensing wrapped on the second True Detective episode, it became clear the the shooting schedule for the third would run longer than expected, which would have been challenging for Saulnier given his ambition to take on other projects."
Basically, Saulnier butted heads with his showrunner, and HBO backed their macho, warrior poet creator, instead of the relatively untested indie maverick (whose Blue Ruin and Green Room are probably better than anything Pizzolatto's ever done, but business is business), and is now enlisting a regular in-house workman to help clean up the mess. For a show that started out being trumpeted as "auteurist television", this is sounding less and less "visionary", if you ask me.
Anyway, the cast is still great, and Pizzolatto's voice is certainly fascinating (if a bit much at times), but knowing Saulnier kind of got pushed off the biggest stage of his career thus far is going to make True Detective Season 3 a bit of a bitter pill to swallow when it finally airs. Here's hoping it's still pretty good, and that Pizzolatto's first set of episodes wasn't just a flash of lightning that will never be captured again.
Season 3 of True Detective is expected to hit HBO sometime in 2019.