Television The Leftovers (TV Show)

Solius

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Have watched 30 minutes of it, some random episode. Thought it was garbage. They were having some sort of group sex or whatever it was
Ah the truest and most accurate way to judge a television show.
 

Dante

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Did you manage to see the error of your ways? I listened to this earlier and now I am craving some Leftover greatness.

Any similar shows that people would recommend? Rectify looks sort of same-y, depressive and melancholic.
My ways have no errors. But I've obviously not rewatched the show in the last few weeks, so my opinion on it hasn't changed.

My problem with The Leftovers was the writing. Before I explain, I should say that this post won't be the first time this week that I've criticised a Lindelof for lacking directness.

I quite like the overall concept of the show and the final few scenes definitely packed a punch. But the series could have been better at half the length, and as more of a focused character study rather than a psuedo-mystery. It seemed to stretch out its runtime for its own sake.

Just like with Lost, it's the narrative techniques I found really jarring. Too many story threads centred around revealing little tidbits of 'mystery' to hook the viewer. Then there'd be a promise of the 'mystery' meaning something important. Finally, there'd be some kind of timewarp to reveal the answer of the 'mystery'. The answer itself frequently offered nothing significant to either the characters or the viewer.

Lindelof has previous with this sort of lazy narrative progression on Lost. Just like in that show, it felt like he didn't have enough of a story to tell. So he kept relying on the same tired techniques to pad out the episodes with fake puzzles and moments that left me thinking '"so what?".

The island has a polar bear on it? Wow! Amazing! This reveal is going to be epic! Oh, someone just brought it to the island for no reason. Justin Theroux wakes up with a head injury? Wow! Amazing! This reveal is going to be epic! Oh, he'd just fallen down on his own with nobody around him.

I get that some people liked it, but also that a lot of people found it boring. Which camp you're in depends on how readily you buy into Lindelof's favourite narrative tricks. Because he uses them constantly and shamelessly, and has done for years.
 
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Simbo

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What a load of utter tripe, I want my 30 hours back.
 

Dumbstar

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Almost like not liking Breaking Bad, The Sopranos or The Wire.
Those three had great endings that all made sense. Closure, is that too much to ask for after so much emotional investment?

For what it's worth I loved Leftovers like I loved Lost. Then it shat on my face. Again.
 

Wibble

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Those three had great endings that all made sense. Closure, is that too much to ask for after so much emotional investment?

For what it's worth I loved Leftovers like I loved Lost. Then it shat on my face. Again.
I liked the end of The Leftovers quite a bit. Even Lost wasn't as terrible as it could have been. And The Sopranos had the worst ending of any great series ever - truly enraging and a complete departure from the rest of the show.

All IMO of course.
 

Donaldo

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Correct. In fact, I found the ending of Watchmen more underwhelming than Leftovers, which I thought was quite nicely done.
 

Lastwolf

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Those three had great endings that all made sense. Closure, is that too much to ask for after so much emotional investment?

For what it's worth I loved Leftovers like I loved Lost. Then it shat on my face. Again.
I disagree, I didn't care for the ending to the Wire at all, it did slighty improve the very shitty final season which is why I think people regard it as a "good finale". Sopranos was a cut to black that people thought was a transmission problem rather than an ending :D. Breaking Bad ended pretty good, can't really argue there.

I often feel like an ambigious ending is a cowardly one, they are too afraid to say one way or another, The Leftovers much like his earlier work in Lost often had an undertone of Faith/Mysticism vs Science/Reality and to come down on one side or the other would ruin it for the people that sided with the "losing" one. I choose to believe everything Nora said happened actually happened as that's narratively satisfying to me, if you chose to believe it's just her rationalising letting go, that might suit you more. Doesn't really matter if it's true or not, her whole story was about the fact that she couldn't let go of her grief/ guilt and regardless of what happened, she now does and is ready to move on.


The Leftovers succeeded in being about the people involved journey way more than the why anything happened, but ultimately never gave an answer one way or another which it what people found annoying. But having read similar works like Steven Kings "Under the Dome" even having the exact reason spelled out can be shit.
 
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Dante

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The Leftovers had a good ending. Maybe even a great ending.

But what led up to it was a puddle-deep attempt at mature storytelling.