Ever since the inception of The Sopranos in the 1990s, HBO has been synonymous with high-quality content, delivering iconic shows like The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, and The Watchmen. Before Damon Lindelof ventured into the comic book realm with the latter, he co-created the 2014 series The Leftovers, based on Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name. The show revolves around an event called “The Sudden Departure,” where over 140 million people vanish without a trace, and follows the life of Kevin Garvey in the aftermath. Despite critical acclaim, this somber drama often gets overlooked in the sea of exceptional television. If you haven’t seen it yet, here are several reasons why you should binge-watch The Leftovers.
A Unique Premise
While the disappearance of 140 million people might seem like the central theme, Lindelof doesn’t delve into the mystery of their whereabouts. Instead, the show’s strength lies in its focus on the impact of this event on those left behind. The Leftovers masterfully explores the lives of broken individuals in a world that is both grounded and supernatural. The series delves into themes of life, death, the afterlife, religion, and morality, as we follow Kevin Garvey and his family navigating a troubled world struggling to cope with the loss of loved ones. From cults that won’t let people forget the tragedy to scammers exploiting the victims, The Leftovers is a compelling, albeit depressing, journey.
A great show needs captivating characters, and The Leftovers delivers. With a new cast introduced throughout its three seasons, the series boasts memorable characters like Reverend Matthew Jamison, whose faith is constantly tested, and John Murphy, a short-tempered firefighter grappling with the corruption and deceit plaguing his Texas town. Patti Levin, the leader of the Guilty Remnant cult, is another standout. The show’s intricate storytelling allows audiences to connect with these characters, feeling their pain, sadness, anger, and occasional happiness. In a world full of damaged individuals, their stories are undeniably intriguing.
A Cohesive Narrative
With only 28 episodes, The Leftovers doesn’t waste time on filler episodes that could slow down its momentum. While filler episodes can help develop characters, the show, much like Breaking Bad and The Americans, maintains a clear beginning, middle, and end. Lindelof’s writing may have left some skeptical due to Lost, but The Leftovers avoids the chaos and nonsense that plagued its predecessor, resulting in a cohesive and strong narrative across all three seasons. If you enjoyed The Watchmen and Lindelof’s storytelling style, you should definitely give The Leftovers a try. It’s a weird, groundbreaking, sad, yet captivating and addictive experience.
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