Imagine a detective show. Now, imagine a good detective show. Now, imagine a detective show with so many layers that your brain must enhance and zoomify constantly just to unpack all of the heavy writing and deep character development that goes on. That's True Detective.
Your idea of Matthew Mcconaughey as the kingpin of romantic comedy will be completely shattered. He shows his acting ability by being one of the most unpleasant good guys I have ever seen. He's a cynic, alcoholic, hater of humanity, and basically a sociopath, yet, he's a good guy hunting a murderer. His lines are smooth and flow perfectly with his character; he has so much variety in his thoughts and actions that you really don't know what he'll do or say next.
Woody Harrelson is who you'd expect, but the chemistry between him and Mcconaughey is astounding. The dialog between the two is so witty and really makes you aware that the two really aren't friends. Moments like Harrelson signaling Mcconaughey to walk over to come see something then saying to himself, "Never seen anyone walk so damn slow!" Their relationship is so complex that I really just can't get enough of their constantly changing interactions.
The intro to the show is also one of the coolest ever (be aware that there is some nudity in it)
This show is only 3 episodes in and has gained an incredible cult following, gripping viewers faster than any pilot I've ever seen. There are so many questions and so many directions the story could go that I've had to watch each episode through twice just to make sure I was soaking up every detail. The story is so well written and enthralling that every quote, every scene, is more gripping than the last. It's an HBO show, so naturally, it's going to be a high budget thrill ride. True Detective is doing television right: a ten or so hour long movie, with big celebrities getting to show their chops in a complex and layered story that isn't condensed into a movie theater experience. There is some nudity and some general inappropriateness, being HBO and all, so stay away if that's a deal breaker.
I did not at all expect for this show to be what it is. It has to be one of the most well written and intense shows I've ever seen, possibly outranking my favorite show, Breaking Bad. Of course, it's only 3 episodes in, so we'll have to see where it goes.