The Leftovers (2014–2017)
10/10
This is right up there with the best
23 April 2020
I am just rolling through my third time of watching this amazing series. Brilliant. Forget what the negative reviewers here say. They've missed the point and "not got it".

This is right up there with Breaking Bad, The Prisoner, Game of Thrones and all the best television ever made.

Why is it brilliant?

It's brilliant because it's a wide-ranging account of the human condition; we are suggestible, we are irrational, we are social creatures (that can go wildly wrong...) and we are dangerous. Above all - we are emotional and we are vulnerable. We watch this account and the effect is profound.

The way that The Leftovers achieves this effect is worth comment. This is sophisticated television with everything working together; the script, the characters, the acting, the filming, the locations and the music (music which is truly wonderful). It's the interplay between the characters, their vulnerabilities and their inner worlds that we see. Or do we? This is the key; WE as watchers interpose OUR values, OUR understanding and OUR world view. In the end - we end up looking at our own inner worlds! It messes with your head. This is the genius of The Leftovers.

The Garvey family and those associated are all trying to continue their lives and we see the effects of the "Departure" through the lens of their experience. Sometimes, often actually - it's deeply shocking. This is very challenging television - not like anything you've ever seen.

These characters are isolated; in silos. They are like characters in a Jean-Paul Sartre novel. They can't and don't understand or come to terms with their own situation, let alone anyone else's. This would be largely true in the real world where there has been no "Departure". But in the world of The Leftovers lots of things have unravelled - exposing the nature of moral codes, belief systems and superstitions. The characters look as if they are searching for meaning, looking for a way to connect, looking for answers. But when it all comes down to it - they can't. In fact they aren't searching at all - that's just US searching and US looking at it trying to give it meaning. Of the many truths exposed by The Leftovers, two of them are; there is no meaning and there are no answers, either for them, or for us.

All 3 Seasons are excellent. Each has truly epic moments that work well because the context has been superbly set up. We come to an understanding of the well-etched characters that are superbly acted. We form a good idea of how they are going to react. We sense their pain, feel their isolation. The seasons are very different one from the next - but the underlying themes are the same. What we see is different manifestations of those themes.

In a sense - The Leftovers is more relevant and better framed now that the world has been hit by Coronavirus. Tragically, between 1% & 2% of the world's population are not going to survive. However - in this world we cope with life and death as the natural order of things. In the world of The Leftovers, 2% just disappear - without any warning or rational explanation. That's the shock of it. The order of the world is transformed by this event, particularly the moral order.

With time on my hands, maybe it's time to read the original book by Tom Perrotta! It's a pleasure to watch the series one more time though. This is television to get you thinking; television to make the hairs on the back of the neck stand up. This is right up there with the best.

Thank you HBO!
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