Andy Samberg summarized it best during the opening monologue at the Emmys: “We also said goodbye to True Detective even though it’s still on the air.” The second season had to not only contend with the insurmountable hype and universal acclaim of the first season, but also a mediocre script, at least according to David Cronenberg.
Variety reports that the famed Canadian director (most recently of Maps to the Stars) passed on the opportunity to direct season two’s opening episode (a role that eventually went to Justin Lin of the Fast and the Furious franchise) because he thought the script was “bad” and he didn’t feel enough conviction to rectify it. “In TV, the director is just a traffic cop, but on the other hand, it is work and there’s a lot of it,” he said.
Similarly, Vulture reports that Cary Fukunaga, who directed the entire first season (and got an Emmy for the exhaustive task) but none of the second, has no plans on returning for the presumed third. But it should be noted that it was not because of the second season—which he swears he hasn’t even watched.