The Leftovers

HBO

Hey, there. How are you? Are you okay? How is HBO’s The Leftovers treating you? It’s okay to be tender about it! You can even get mad! Any emotions are welcome here. Since it debuted in June, the latest HBO series has garnered responses that run the gamut. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Maybe some people are in the middle there, but who knows! Some people have already given up on it. Some people continue to plow through. Here at Film School Rejects, we’re into completionism, so yes, we’ve (really, though, I mean me) kept up our watching. It’s gotten better. Sort of.

Now the series, pulled from Tom Perrotta‘s novel of the same name and created by Perrotta and showrunner Damon Lindelof, will have another chance to win over viewers — a whole new season, actually. HBO has announced that it will be bringing back their summertime series for another season. There’s no word on when the Sunday night show will debut said second season, but we’re willing to bet we might have another summer of sadness to look forward to in 2015. Putting this thing in the winter might be a bit too much to bear anyway.

Michael Lombardo, the president of HBO Programming, sure seems stoked about the news, sharing, “We are thrilled to bring back The Leftovers for a second season with the exceptional talents of Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta. It has been truly exciting to see the overwhelming response to their provocative and original storytelling. We look forward to continuing the journey as the show delves deeper into the lives of those who remain.”

Well, “provocative” would be the word for it, Lombardo.

The Leftovers is the exact opposite of feel-good television. It’s not even feel-bad television, it’s feel-fucking-awful television. Even The Sopranos, arguably HBO’s most beloved series — and one about people who commit crimes for a living — offered more levity than The Leftovers which, as of today, has not featured a single scene that even nudges up against humorous. The show doesn’t have a happy premise, so its darkness isn’t too shocking, but still, man, does this series take it out of you.

If you’ve so far missed out on The Leftovers kerfuffle, the series opens three years after a Rapture-like event that snatched up 2% of the world’s population (about 140 million people), making them disappear without a trace. Those left behind are still reeling — and the possibility that something else is going to happen soon also hangs over the entire show — but it is compelling to see how everyone has dealt (well, somewhat) with the event.

Beyond lots of sad faces and wall-punching, we’ve so far learned about more logical stuff, like new systems meant to handle the practical stuff (like the organization that pays out death benefits to the survivors) and, in a wonky kind of way, that’s extremely appealing. Sure, everyone is emotionally screwed after the departure, but we want to know more about how the government is working (no, really — and also, do we know who from the government was taken? and did I hallucinate the reveal that the Pope was also snatched?). Then there’s the Guilty Remnant, a cult that seems most interested in smoking, wearing white and totally fucking with everyone who’s not in said cult. Also, there’s sex. It’s a smorgasbord of the bizarre and humane and revolting. It’s not fun, but it’s something!

Justin Theroux is also there, looking like the most unlikely small town sheriff in the history of the goddamn universe. 

Lindelof and Perrotta will both be returning for the second season, though it’s unclear who of the first season cast — including Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Carrie Coon, Emily Meade, Amanda Warren, Ann Dowd, Michael Gaston, Max and Charlie Carver and Annie Q — will be back for more.

Perhaps we’ll get a better idea of who we can expect to see dishing out a second season of existential darkness when the show’s season finale airs on September 7th.

As ever, we must remind you that The Leftovers is a dish best served in single portions — no binge watching here, okay?


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