Matthew McConaughey’s star power has exploded over the past couple years, capped off with Sunday’s Academy Award win for Best Actor in Dallas Buyers Club. Gone are the days we associate McConaughey with the stoned, naked bongo player or rom-com eye candy. This shift began with 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, continuing with indie films like Bernie, Mud and Killer Joe that eventually lead to his recent Oscar-winning role. Throughout, he’s consistently proven he’s a transformative dramatic performer (in addition to being funny and unflinchingly handsome).
The win comes just a week prior to the culmination of McConaughey’s current on-air project, True Detective (Season Finale, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO). And while it’s rare to see an Oscar-winner on the small screen, True Detective’s characters and storylines rival those of any solid film. McConaughey and co-star Woody Harrelson both nail their roles as Louisiana State Police partners with a true odd couple relationship. The very nature of this anthology series unfortunately means their case and their story closes with this season’s finale, but it also forces the show to tell a tight, compelling story in a finite amount of time.
The cinematic series spun a web over this short, eight-episode season, jumping across time to not only give us a wide scope on the detectives’ dark and complicated case, but also to look at, very simply, how two men can change yet maintain certain aspects of themselves over the course of nearly 20 years.
As Rust (McConaughey) and Marty (Harrelson) zero in on their killer, writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto and Cary Joji Fukunaga (another talented duo) look forward to next season’s fresh slate.
Hopefully they can dream up another case that turns the crime genre on its head and secure another pair of successful stars.
But it will be hard to top McConaughey’s role, which will undoubtedly be noted in his growing list of excellent performances.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 5
Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – Cameron organizes the kids’ spring dance but a popular teacher returning from sabbatical (Will Sasso) threatens to steal his thunder. With Claire chaperoning the dance, Phil takes Hayley to a real estate banquet. Mitchell starts his new job but can’t get a read on his boss (Aisha Tyler)
Workaholics (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – The guys start clownin’ it up at children’s parties to make some extra cash for a pool slide. Wasn’t that John Wayne Gacy’s alibi?
Broad City (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) -– A Sandy-type storm forces the ladies to hunker down with Lincoln and friends, but Bevers and a blackout crash Abbi’s hurricane party.
THURSDAY MARCH 6
Parks and Recreation (8:30 p.m., NBC) -– The crew starts planning the Eagleton-Pawnee arts and music festival. Elsewhere, here comes Swanson with a baby carriage.
Parenthood (10 p.m., NBC) – Kristina has a checkup to determine whether she’s cancer-free; Drew and Julia both cope with moving on from past relationships; Hank reveals his true feelings for Sarah.
Portlandia (10 p.m., IFC) – A militant eco-group (including Olivia Wilde) crusades against animal testing; Toni and Candace host a carwash fundraiser for Women & Women First.
FRIDAY MARCH 7
Hannibal (10 p.m., NBC) -– Last weeks’ premiere teased us about what’s to come later this season — in the form of a brutal Jack-Hannibal showdown. In the meantime, Will continues to plead his case from prison, Jack goes to therapy to deal with his guilt and Hannibal embarks on his own investigation.
SATURDAY MARCH 8
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – First-time host Lena Dunham will undoubtedly address her body, the public’s constant commentary on it and her nudity on TV, but I’m looking forward to her showing other, non-Girlsy aspects of her humor (though a skit with Tina Fey’s Blerta would be amazing). The National also performs.
SUNDAY MARCH 9
The Walking Dead (9 p.m., AMC) – Beth and Daryl continue their journey this week and we catch up with Sasha, Maggie and Bob. One group finds shelter, another discovers they’re surrounded by protection.
Resurrection (Series Premiere, 9 p.m., ABC) – Dead people return in this new drama — just not zombie style. When a young boy finds himself in China with no recollection of how he got there, he returns to his small hometown in Missouri where he is reconnected with his parents … who say the boy died 30 years ago.
Girls (10 p.m., HBO) – Hannah’s fears about her Broadway beau are realized when she feels Adam is no longer interested in her. Jasper introduces Jessa to his daughter (Felicity Jones), who is upset to find her father’s new fling closer to her own age.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jackern