Brilliant series. I prefer this to Season 1, though both are equally brilliant. It's not really right to compare them. They are very different to one another.
The opening theme music is Leonard Cohen's brilliant "Nevermind". The lyrics match what goes on in the series.
The aerial shots and general vibe remind of David Lynch's "Lost Highway". And, in an homage to Lynch, the first episode features a car with a dead body being driven onto Mulholland Drive.
The theme of it all being a kind of Dream appeared in Series 1 (Rust Cohle). This theme is reprised here in Season 2 when Frank Semyon notices the two rain stains on his ceiling and wonders the same. He muses is his life like papier mâché? Is it about to begin to implode by forces he cannot see? His intuition is correct. In a nice shot the image morphs from the two ceiling stains to the two now eyeless sockets of the corpse in the morgue. And so it all begins... Later, over coffee, he notices the same stains on the table - and hurriedly tries to cover both of them with his cup.
There is also the weird Dream of Velcoro where he meets his prophesying father.
Some memorable performances here - in particular from Colin Farrell who excels. Rachel McAdams gives a tremendous performance as agent Antigone (Ani) Bezzerides. And what a great character she is! Vince Vaughn and Kelly Reilly also deliver. Taylor Kitsch gives a memorable performance as motorcycle cop turned detective, Paul Woodrugh. And I liked the poker faced "Nails", Frank's loyal bodyguard, who sees much and says little.
There is so much going on in this series. Even the "minor" scenes such as where Velcoro and Semyon meet in the bar, as the musician sings "This is my least favourite life", are laden with atmosphere. (The singer's name is Lera Lynn, in case you're interested.) The music keeps on playing and we now see Bezzerides in the casino, drinking heavily and losing at her table. And finally we see Woodrugh, on his bike and dangerously speeding down the highway, as he attempts to deal with his own inner demons. This sequence stamps the four main characters onto our awareness.
The plotline is often deep so some episodes are worth watching more than once to get the full story. Hence I would recommend the viewer get the DVD version.
An outstanding series. Stylish with a capital S. Six Stars.