The much-buzzed-about, mysterious second season of HBO’s True Detective is starting out more promising than the first, HBO executives say. “The two scripts we have … I hate to jinx it … they are more exciting than the first season,” said HBO programming president Michael Lombardo at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills on Thursday. [Creator Nic Pizzolatto is] an incredibly talented writer. And he’s blown us away with the first two episodes.”

And what about the cast? That’s finally coming together. Lombardo said the announcement could come as soon as next week. And though he didn’t give any hints about who might be cast (“We’re going to do the next season with puppets,” he joked), the executive did confirm the cast will consist of some potentially exciting names.

“The people we will cast will be well-known names, but [casting stars] wasn’t our ambition,” he said. “Great writing attracts great actors… Maybe people initially came for [Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson], but I think they stayed because the show was so compelling.”

From what we’ve heard so far—not entirely confirmed—the second season will star a trio of leads and have a contemporary California setting. HBO executives also took some questions about Game of Thrones.