HBO Orders a Second Helping of ‘The Leftovers’

By August 13, 2014

It sounds like audiences just can’t get enough of TV shows from Damon Lindelof that are full of mystery and missing people. HBO has given a second season order to their dark new series “The Leftovers.”

The cable network announced the second season renewal today with over three weeks until the first season ends next month. Based on acclaimed novelist Tom Perrotta’s book of the same name, the series follows a variety of interconnected characters three years following the mysterious disappearance of of 140 million people around the world, which has since come to be known as “The Sudden Departure.”

Lindelof (one of the men responsible for the hit series “Lost”) and Perotta (an Oscar nominee for scripting the film Little Children), co-created the series with the former acting as showrunner as the story follows the ways ordinary people react to inexplicable events that can unite or divide families and communities, examining how their untold grief and the strain of an unprecedented calamity can turn faith into cynicism, paranoia, madness or cult-like fanaticism.

The Leftovers - Christopher Eccleston, Justin Theroux

At least that’s how HBO describes the series. Lindelof has said he doesn’t want people to watch if the overarching mystery is the only reason they tune in, but as someone who gave up on the show after the first few episodes, I think there was far too much mystery and not enough else to chew on to keep me tuning in every week. The main problem is that there don’t really seem to be any likable characters among the cast that includes Justin 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.

The show is bleak, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for a show in which Lindelof wants you to care about the characters, all of them seem to be so morose, hopeless, or bizarre that it’s extremely hard to get invested in any of them. There’s undoubtedly an intriguing premise there, but that seems to be all there is. That’s not to say the performances aren’t good, but there’s just not much to grab onto – at least in this writer’s opinion. (Editor’s note: I agree 100%.)

Anyway, maybe the show will grow into itself in its second season. HBO’s track record speaks for itself, so maybe they know something we don’t about the potential for where this series is headed. “The Leftovers” airs Sundays at 10pm ET/PT and the first season finale airs on September 7th.

Do you like “The Leftovers” at all? Are you excited for a second season?

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.