Taking anthologies like True Detective, Fargo and American Horror Story off the table, it’s hard to imagine a modern cable drama that’s reinvented itself as thoroughly as The Leftovers has with this second season.
The return of Damon Lindelof and Tom Perotta‘s existential drama sees the action move from the suburbs of Mapleton to the rural town of Miracle, whose residents were sheltered from The Departure for reasons unknown. The Garvey family’s efforts to relocate to the town and start afresh bring them into contact with a family not unlike their own – and it’s out of this friction that the series finds a new path for itself.
Given the intensity and intimacy of the first season, it’d be easy to think The Leftovers might have run out of twisted family dynamics and metaphors for grief to steep itself in. However, the introduction of the Murphy family gives the writers behind the show plenty of new room to explore. The performances by Regina King and Jasmin Savoy Brown are good enough to give even the venerable returning cast members (Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux and Christopher Eccleson) a run for their money.
The series still hits those poignant and emotionally-satisfying notes – supported again by Max Richter‘s powerful score – but the path it takes to get there is one filled with very different imagery this time around. The sullen menace of the Guilty Remnant is deployed more sparingly with Meg (Liv Tyler) offering up a new perspective on the inner workings and ideology of the cult while Laurie (Amy Brenneman) leads the vanguard of the fight against them.
More and more, The Leftovers feels like a show that never quite expected to get a second season. Lindelof and company have seized their opportunity to craft some truly special here with their gambit of reinvention paying off better than anyone could have expected. The Leftovers may remain a little too slow and “Lindelofian” for some – for me, at least – it remains an absolute treasure of a series.
Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
No special features included on the DVD release.
Special Features Score: N/A
The Leftovers is available on DVD and Blu-ray now.