Rarely has a show seen as much of a turnaround in its second season as Damon Lindelof’s “The Leftovers”. The HBO series, and the former “Lost” showrunner and “Star Trek Into Darkness” co-scribe himself, were often a punching bag for how to smartly setup an interesting premise – only to screw over everyone with a nebulous or unsatisfying ending.
This year though, critics have fawned over “The Leftovers” with the mistakes that Lindelof has often been labelled with making having been studiously avoided – as a result delivering an excellent season of television. The producer has found the reception to be validating. He tells THR:
“For me, the first season of The Leftovers was an intense, emotional struggle. 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.”
Despite the critical fawning, the ratings for the show have plummeted – more than half the viewership for the first season abandoned the series in its second year, dropping to around 670,000 viewers per episode this year. That, more than anything, has been the reason a third season renewal has not been announced yet:
“It can’t happen until HBO says we want more… If the show had been on par with season one, I think we would definitely be proceeding. 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?’.”
“The Leftovers” just aired its second season finale over the weekend.