Critical Condition: The Leftovers

Will a makeover for The Leftovers make this a series reborn when it returns (SoHo, 10.10 Monday)?

Will a makeover for The Leftovers make this a series reborn when it returns (SoHo, 10.10 Monday)?

“In an age of revivals, reboots and general second chances, what Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta set out to do with the second season of The Leftovers demands a vocabulary all its own. Changing the setting, throwing in a brand new set of core characters and expanding on its spotlight structuring of last year, Season 2 is a creative overhaul … Even after three episodes, it’s nearly impossible to tell where the second season’s story is headed. The structuring alone prevents viewers from knowing what next week’s focus will be, and whether that makes the series more accessible to potential fans and as exciting to existing ones is an equally difficult prediction.”

The Leftovers remains a show that defies a warm and wide embrace. Every performance is superlative, including the teen and young adult actors and roles, often the bane of cable drama. There are moments of humor, but even the laughs are sometimes bleak and painful. The show has instances of high-art aspiration that practically beg less-than-wholly-involved viewers to roll their eyes. Even though I was a fan of the first season, I wasn’t always on-board with every moment, but at least through three episodes, I’m locked in for season two.”

NYT“The series began as a gorgeous tease, a haunting exploration of loss that set up a mystery it openly had no intention of answering. Damon Lindelof, the co-creator with Mr. Perrotta, was pilloried by some fans of his saga Lost for leaving questions hanging, and The Leftovers seemed to be probing that wound as much as its characters’ pain. In Season 2, The Leftovers still couldn’t care less about the rules and obligations of commercial TV, or even most noncommercial TV. But it’s also more focused and stronger, having learned from what worked best about Season 1.”

Washington Post“It’s hard to deny that The Leftovers can be both visually and emotionally arresting. It is also hard to deny that it is absolutely no fun to watch, a fact that doesn’t necessarily lead one to abandon it. The addition of a new family in Jarden/Miracle, the Murphys — headed by strong new cast members Kevin Carroll and recent Emmy-winner Regina King — is reason enough to tread lightly and see whether Lindelof, et al., have worked out some of the kinks when it comes to pacing and payoff.”

Variety“A creative reboot ostensibly intended to address the programme’s shortcomings has merely exacerbated them, leaving behind a drama that is arty and provocative, but also pretentious and opaque to the point of infuriating. Admittedly, that appraisal’s based on an incomplete picture, after watching three second-season episodes, each told from a different perspective. Yet while season one featured some haunting moments that couldn’t quite offset the flaws, it’s hard to see this go-round recovering to that modest level.”

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One Response to “Critical Condition: The Leftovers”

  1. I won’t be watching season 2 as I found season 1 too weird and all of the characters annoying 🙂

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