Damon Lindelof On HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ Season 2 Finale, And Viewers Want Max Richter’s Opener Back If We Get Season 3, Highlight Hollywood News

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Damon Lindelof ends season two of HBO’s hit The Leftovers in a very different place than the first season, and it must mean a renewal is on the way, at least I desperately hope so.  “For me, the first season of The Leftovers was an intense, emotional struggle,” he said. “In the second season of The Leftovers, I really feel like it kind of broke through and became its own thing. I stopped dwelling on the past and allowed myself to be in the present.”

 

 

Now the ever-candid writer/producer awaits word on a third season, a decision that’s been complicated by the drama’s ratings, which are almost as bleak as the show itself. Viewership for the second-season drama, adapted from Tom Perrotta’s novel, has plummeted nearly 60 percent from season one, with the series averaging 670k viewers this year.

 

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“If the show had been on par with season one, I think we would definitely be proceeding,” says Lindelof, while acknowledging that conversations are taking place with HBO. “There’s a sense of, ‘Where did everybody from season one go? Are they going to binge it? Are they coming back?’ … There’s all sorts of spin that you can attribute to it, but there is this mystifying aspect of, ‘Well, if everyone says that the second season was better, then where did everybody go?’”

 

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“It just feels awesome and amazing. There’s a part of me that’s like, “Oh, but you know it’s going to go away again.” That’s certainly one way of looking at it. I’m just really trying to enjoy it and be in the moment. The validation is great. It’s not like we were able to execute the plan we put out there and then there was a tremendous amount of high-fiving, like, “Wait until everybody gets a load of this.” You just never know. Up until the moment that the premiere aired, I thought, “There are going to be people who just hate the cave woman sequence and there are going to be people who hate the fact that 85 percent of the first episode doesn’t have any of the characters that we told them to care about in the first season — but we really like this. We think that this is compelling storytelling and Kevin Carroll’s awesome and Jovan’s awesome and Regina’s awesome.” The fact that people embraced it was surprising — not because we didn’t hope that they would; it’s just that you just never know. So, the very short answer to your question is that it feels great and I don’t want to get off the rollercoaster,” Lindelof admits.theleftovers-finale-3

 Lindelof believes the ratings decline is partly due to the lofty and drama storytelling.  “The premise of the show is that two percent of the population of the world vanishes, and as opposed to saying we’re interested in solving that mystery and exploring that alt-history version of where those people went and why, the bread and butter of the show is: what is it like to be kind of left behind? How does it feel to be abandoned or left out? It’s in the title, even. (And I’m not taking credit for this — it’s in the DNA of Tom’s amazing novel.) Most of the people I know all identify with the kid who was picked last for the kickball team. It sort of taps into that idea. How was it that all of us were picked last? Maybe I’m only talking to writers who were not athletically endowed, but I think everybody feels like that. Recreating that feeling is just not something people want to dwell on. We have enough feelings of abandonment in our actual lives, so why would we want to watch a television show that’s about that when we could watch shows about people solving crimes and winning and being heroic and having fun and all the stuff that we like in TV.”theleftovers-finale-4
Discussing how  this season ender was really well done and anti-clamatic.  “When we first sat down and started talking about the second season — without openly stating it as directly as I’m about to — we were like, “Tom, if you were to write another novel that was the sequel to The Leftovers, how would you go about doing that? Because I want the second season to feel like another novel as opposed to the middle of a trilogy. What would the ending be?” We all started talking about the idea of one of the overriding themes of the season being, “Wherever you go, there you are.” And obviously Jill (Margaret Qualley) verbalizes that in the show, but shouldn’t the finale be like, we ran away from Mapleton, but then the exact same thing happened, like almost the exact same thing? We’ll dramatize what happened to the Garveys through the story of the Murphys. The whole idea that this place where no one departed is just as f—ed up as everywhere else, and that energy is basically that wall of Jericho breaking down. It’s not like the Garveys brought the Guilty Remnant to Jarden. In fact, we very clearly illustrate that Meg (Liv Tyler) and that story was in motion before the Garveys decided to move. But the Garveys get to bear witness to the same exact energies. We’ll change up some things — we don’t want the audience to feel like it’s redundant — but we do want to go out of our way to say that there’s a very purposeful mimicry in terms of the way that we’re designing this. It’s going to really feel and look the same — Kevin staggering through this town and coming home — but this time it’s broader. And I will give credit where credit is due: Tom pitched that scene. [He said,] “If we can design the finale so that Kevin basically comes home and we’re not sure if anybody’s going to be there this time but they’re all there and the moment that he has with Nora is exponentially larger than it was because last year it was Nora, Jill, and Kevin and the dog and now it’s everyone — if we can design things to earn that, then there will be a feeling of completeness.””
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The only complaint I had about this season was the  show’s opening title music. Who goes from the lush, elegance of Max Richter, to this hokey music that failed to embrace the story?

“The only reason we changed it this year was it felt like the opening title wasn’t accomplishing everything that we wanted it to. I kind of feel like the new opening does. I’m really in love with the title sequence and Iris’s music, but I also feel like the answer to your question is, first of all, can we afford it? Every time you change the opening title sequence, it’s costly. The other thing is don’t just do it to do it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I liked the title sequence the first year, but the minute that I said I wonder if we should change the title sequence, everyone said, “You should, you should.””

Please, change it back.    Let’s hope we get to see more of the Garveys in 2016, and a return to Max Richter’s enchanting and haunting opening theme. Thank goodness we had some of the great music in the episodes this year, by the world’s more talented composer. 

The first video is from Max Richter’s opener in Season 1. It is provoking, brilliant, mesmerizing and genius.  The second video is the horrible mess that opened the story this season. No wonder it turned many viewers off after this theme was played.  I believed at the time I had the wrong show on, but luckily stuck with it.

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:   HBO
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