Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta have created something amazing out of Perrotta’s book The Leftovers. Spanning a mere three seasons, with the latter two continuing on after the book’s resolution, The Leftovers combined intelligent storytelling, emotionally powerful performances and religious sentiment to create one of the most compelling shows in years. It focuses on the aftermath of a mass ‘departure’, where 20% of the world’s population suddenly disappear and how people try to come to terms with their reality and understand their existence. It’s latest and final season ended this June and was widely received with critical acclaim and became the highest rated TV show of 2017 on Metacritic. And so it’s relative absence among the Emmy nominees this year is a shock to a lot of fans.
It did receive one nomination, for Ann Dowd who played the excellent character Pattii Levin. Dowd also received another nomination for The Handmaiden’s Tale. Carrie Coon, who plays Nora Durst also received a nomination but for her role in season 3 of Fargo. Carrie Coon is fantastic in both of these roles, but I think of the two, Nora is a much more nuanced, three-dimensional character. This is of course subjective, I enjoyed Fargo and think it deserves the Emmy nominations it’s gotten.
But The Leftovers left me feeling like nothing had ever done before. Every scene was a dramatic, heart-wrenching ride. And Max Richter’s score is undeniably masterfully crafted, setting the tone in the most hauntingly beautiful way. Eventually, all it took was the music to kick in, and like an emotional version of Pavlov’s Dog, the waterworks began. And I’m not usually the type to get all teary-eyed over TV.
Season One of the show was arguably the weaker of the three, setting up the story with an unmistakably dreary tone. It garnered mixed reviews, but grew a cult-following. It’s story was confusing, so it’s likely a lot of people were put off before the narrative really started to blossom into some magnificent. It’s next season upped the caliber of writing and the whole thing felt a little lighter-hearted than it’s predecessor. But this year’s final season culminated everything of the previous years and brought something so refined, so nuanced and engaging that it sticks with me even now.
That’s not to say that the final season wrapped everything up in a nice little bow and everything is now resolved. Oh no, far from it. From the beginning of the show’s run, creator Damon Lindelof stated that just like his previous show Lost, that there will be questions left unanswered, mysteries left unsolved, by the time the story concludes. Another thing which is bound to put people off. Admittedly, finding this out made me hesitant to try it out at first. But despite the unanswered questions leaving me scratching my head after the finale’s credits rolled, I was absolutely satisfied with the ending Lindelof and Perotta had crafted.
And I’m not alone here; although I know few people who saw The Leftovers, everyone who did loves it as much as I do. It’s almost impossible to find a bad review, but maybe it just wasn’t watched by enough people to get to the recognition I, and many more, believe it deserves. Regardless of the awards it garners, it will still be remembered and its cult status will hopefully grow.
Do you watch The Leftovers? Do you think it deserved more nods from the awards?