I just finished watching one of the very best seasons of television I have ever seen. The acting, writing, directing, music and cinematography are off-the-charts for television quality, even for HBO. Most amazing is that this is the second season of a show which had only moderately impressed me in season one. Maybe that’s because I had no idea what I was looking at. But I still have no idea what I was looking at (as one of the show’s main characters says to another near the end of the season: “I don’t understand what’s happening,” to which the other replies: “Neither do I.” Amen to that). But this is television at its finest, a work of pure TV art that has shot up into my top five serial dramas of all time.
My review of the show’s first season can be found on this blog (December 15, 2015). The second season continues the tale of the Garveys and the Jamisons after they move to the town of Jarden, Texas, which was the only major town (pop. 9261) in the world that had no departures. Was the town miraculously spared, as many believe? If so, what happened to the three teenage girls who vanish the night the Garveys arrive in Jarden? Is there a connection (other than the fact that Kevin wakes up at the bottom of a suddenly-dried-up lake tied to a cement block and is the first to come upon the vehicle in which the girls were last seen)?
Crazy stuff, you say? You bet. And it only gets crazier. I realized at some point that one of the reasons I was loving the second season was that it was pure Stephen King (yeah, I’m a fan), though filmed a lot better than 95% of King’s books. The Leftovers is often dark and twisted and occasionally violent, but mostly it’s mind-bendingly thoughtful and intelligent drama.
The last two lines of my first-season review were: “Any television show that explores questions of faith and the meaning of life in a mysterious context is on the right path. My hope is that The Leftovers will get even better in the second season.” I don’t recall ever writing anything like that before. It’s almost like I knew it was going to happen. I don’t know why I waited so long to watch this, except for the bizarre coincidence (as befits the show in question) that the third and final season starts on Easter (in three days), which is also somehow befitting. Now I just have to figure out how to watch HBO (we have no TV reception of any kind).
The Leftovers season two gets an easy ****. My mug is up for one of the best things TV has ever done.