Monday, 17 July 2017

TV64: Two Great TV Serials Come to an End: Rectify and The Leftovers

During the last few months, I have had the great pleasure of watching the final two seasons of two of the finest TV serials ever made. They are vastly different shows, but they share a number of qualities that have rarely been exceeded in the history of television. These include brilliant and profound writing (especially the deep character development), focusing on the meaning of life and death, and acting that can only be described as sublime. 


Rectify is the more straightforward of the two shows (see my review from November 13, 2015 for a description). It is also more moving and more rewarding. The last season is not quite as compelling as the first three seasons, but the ending is more than satisfying enough for Rectify to easily retain its position as my second-favourite TV serial of all time (second only to Six Feet Under). What makes Rectify special, beyond what I have already said, is its natural dialogue and the way it encourages viewers to become better people through the changes and growth of its characters. I have described Rectify as the most humanizing TV show ever made and I can think of no higher praise to offer any entertainment. **** My mug is up and full of the most delicious flavours.

The Leftovers

Back in April (see my review from April 13), I described the second season of The Leftovers as one of the finest seasons of television I have ever watched. I couldn’t wait to watch the final season, not least because critics were raving about it (oops - high expectations). I suppose it was inevitable that the final season would disappoint me, although, as with Rectify, the ending was more than satisfying enough for The Leftovers to stay in my top five. While both shows are intense, slow-moving character studies, The Leftovers is far more raw and crazy than Rectify (which is saying something). Even so, the final season of The Leftovers began with episodes that were too chaotic and jarring for me. The choice of music, especially, was not working for me. Nevertheless, as the short season continued, it returned to the form and greatness of the second season. 

Through the first two seasons, I noted that I had absolutely no idea what was going on - I just knew I loved it. The ending provides at least a clue as to what was going on, but only enough to confirm what I knew all along - that The Leftovers is not about answers but about questions. As I watched the last few episodes, it occurred to me how much The Leftovers resembled LOST in this regard. It should have occurred to me a lot sooner, given that the two shows share a creator and key writer (Damon Lindelof).

Of particular note in the final season of The Leftovers is how Nora Durst (played by Carrie Coon) replaced Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) as the show’s central character (though Garvey is still prominent) and the key role of Kevin Garvey Sr. (Scott Glenn) . **** My mug is up and full of intriguing mysterious flavours. 


  1. I have loved all 3 seasons of the Leftovers....and the questions that it has asked. So many interesting characters and circumstances. It's a shame that such an intriguing show never really found it's audience.

  2. A New Series that I'd recommend to you both is "American Gods" based on the Neil Gaiman Novel. One of the stars is Ian McShane who became quite famous in Britain for his long running series, "Lovejoy". If you enjoy his acting than you must simply see his work in "Deadwood", if it hasn't come past your radar yet. Cheers, Rod