I promise this won’t contain any spoilers and even now the show is over and it has been for a little while, I feel I need to share a little bit of the beauty and insanity that was The Leftovers. Seek it out however you can *legally* and try to make sense of it all. It will be worth it, I promise!
I remember seeing the original marketing campaign and being floored by the concept of a world that instantly loses 2% of its population in the blink of an eye. There’s a visual of a woman in a supermarket car park whose baby disappears and the grief and panic that she must feel, that the actress that played her conveyed was extraordinary. And she wasn’t even a series regular. Even now, having seen how it concludes, that concept was so strong. It was just genius. It is genius. I’m still in awe.
I won’t go into detail about what happened during the 3 seasons because I honestly couldn’t explain it if I tried. But I can say how it made me felt. Mostly confused but also inspired and amazed at the boldness of it all.
It’s based on a book by Tom Perrotta and I thought the first series which was based on that source material was incredible. I was so blown away by that first series that I was actually nervous about where it went from there. Although Game of Thrones isn’t a completed book series, they are attempting to finish the show, they luckily had a lot more material to work with than one book for one series. So how can a show that has such a limited source not only run for two more series but end in an authentic way? I don’t know the answer but I feel they pulled it off somehow.
I remember reading reviews and saw the blogs saying that the first series was too dark and depressing. There were rumours of cancellations and people just not getting it. Where was the show going to go? I think because Perrotta was involved all the way through it was able to follow through on the foundations created in it’s first run. And how cool must that be for a writer? He gets to re-explore his story and expand the world in a way, I would imagine, he never thought he would be able to.
Maybe it says more about me that I didn’t see it as dreary. I loved every weird, taut, sad AND funny moment. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen or a story I’ve heard before. For me, it has been one of the most original shows ever. Obviously, I watched it over years, unlike anyone that finds it now who can watch it in its entirety in a couple of weeks. By the way, if you are one of those people, I am so jealous. It’s so intricate and detailed, there are definitely things I wouldn’t have picked up on, things I don’t remember at all. Things that make it worth watching again.
The emotional rollercoaster is real. But like most rollercoasters, you want to ride them again and again. The show definitely takes you on a ride. Each season has a very interesting and unique vibe. Out of all three series, I think the first will always be my favourite. But the second is really impressive and the third and final series was awesome. I guess I loved it all.
There are some super surreal moments with dogs, apparitions and assassins but it all adds to the charm. And it gives me confidence in my writing that you don’t have to follow the rules. More importantly, you don’t need to explain yourself. You write what’s true to you and to your characters. I remember watching it at times and thinking this just does not make sense but I couldn’t take my eyes away from it. It had my mind turning over trying to put things together like a 1000 piece puzzle of a blue sky. I mean, if you’ve seen it, please explain the first segment of the season 2 opener cos damn!
Not to mention the soundtrack. It’s haunting and distressing and intense. There’s this recurring string theme that puts me on edge every time I hear it. It’s so dramatic and delicate yet powerful and stirring. And that’s just the original score by Max Richter. The other songs are so random I wouldn’t even know where to start although James Blake’s Retrograde in the first series was so beautifully placed and unexpected. Once you see the scene I’m referring to, it’ll stick with you. The whole show will. I’ve even started a playlist on YouTube of music to write to and The Leftovers orchestral soundtrack was one of the inspirations for starting it. I want as much music that inspires me as possible that doesn’t have words to distract me, and it’s still in its early days, but the music of this show connected with me from day one so it had to be in there.
I actually heard the music from this show on an advert for another show and I was so annoyed. More annoyed than is probably reasonable. I feel very protective.
I want to have the confidence in my writing to write a bizarre and beautiful story that moves the readers to tears, to laughter, to inexplicable confusion. They put down the book **OR re-watch the TV adaptation** and can’t get it out of their head. You want to run your reader through every emotion on the spectrum like the last two episodes ever. That would be my ultimate goal.
The penultimate episode was filled with all the craziness the show was known for. The final episode was quietly beautiful and more than a perfect way to end the journey. And we all know how disappointed you can be with final episodes. I still don’t have the answers and even after a million watches, I think it would stir up more questions but that’s good. That’s where this show triumphs. You want and need the answers but that’s not what will lead to your happiness so you’re willing to let tht go.
Give it a try, if you love it, let me know. I don’t think we can be friends if you don’t but I’ll be willing to give you a second chance.
And as a final and pertinent note, Justin Theroux is a very handsome man…
xx woeful writes xx