HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Leftovers: Season 2
HTS Overall Score:78
“The Leftovers” is a series that completely took me by surprise last October when the Blu-ray was released. I had no idea what it was about besides the trailer and that seemed a lot more action packed/sci-fi like than what we got. The series is, at heart, a complex character drama that takes place in a mildly post-apocalyptic world where 2% of the world’s population suddenly vanished. While you would think that the show would focus on the WHY these people were taken, and WHO did it, but instead we got a very nice and heavily layered character study that deals with the lives of the people who are left. The differing emotions that come from such a tragedy and how it shapes the people around them. Season 1 left us with our jaws on the floor as the Garvey’s and the rest of their town ended with a tragic and violent note, but now they have a chance at freedom in a new town. A town that is unique among the rest of the world.
Last season we learned that 2% of the world’s population had been taken. That created a worldwide system of panic and depression as remaining 98% dealt with the loss and the struggle they have for going on in a world that is infinitely more frightening than it was before. Cults were formed, faiths were shattered, and a general distrust of humanity rumbled just under the surface. After the violent actions of the season finale, the Garvey’s and their new found relationships (both marital and blood) take up roots and move to a single town in Texas. A town that is unique among the world as it is the only reported place on earth to have not a SINGLE person be taken. A town that sounds like miracle in and of itself.
However, just because they haven’t lost any people doesn’t mean that the town is unscathed. Tempers run high and relationships are shattered as a result of the world wide strain. The main family of interest in the town of Miracle is the Murphy’s, a clan that has been spared the cost of losing a family member, but has their own struggles and own dark secrets to hide out in the open. With the Garvey’s moving next door the Murphy’s dark secrets start coming to the surface, as well as a host of other issues that will turn the town of Miracle into something the very opposite of its name.
I have to say that “The Leftovers” is a very different sort of HBO show. There’s some mild nudity and some swearing, but nowhere even close to the levels that so many other “mature” shows out there on the same channel. The opening scene of the first episode is one of the most artistically done scenes in all of TV history in my opinion. The tension, the beauty and the filmography are nothing short of breathtaking. It may not be apparent at first what the scene has in correlation with the modern day series, but if you take the image as a whole, and place it side by side with the series as a whole, the allegory and poetry of the scene feels oh so comfortable. Season 2 takes a completely different approach to the show, especially after the convoluted season 1 that dealt with the depression aspects of the new world. We have the town of Miracle, and the inclusion of the Garvey’s into a completely foreign city, which adds a whole new dimension to the interactions. We have half the cast being replaced with new people, new places and new motivations in the world, along with a definite tightening of the belt in terms of narrative.
I’m usually not a fan of non actiony sci-fi shows, but “The Leftovers” does a magical job at keeping you constantly guessing. If it feels a bit like “Lost” than that’s understandable, as Damon Lindelof heads both shows as the writing power behind the scenes. This is both a blessing and a curse, as Lindelof has a name in the writing community. He has an incredible ability to ask questions and give an era of mystique to a show. However, the downside to that gift is that he has a problem wrapping up loose ends, being one of the major reasons people had a lot of frustration with how “Lost” ended. I really REALLY enjoyed season 2 even more than the 1st season did. The narrative isn’t always linear and isn’t always completely perfect, but it does a wonderful job at capturing your attention for 50 minutes at a time and have you hitting the “next” button on your remote.
The Episode Rundown is as follows.
1. Axis Mundi
2. A Matter of Geography
3. Off Ramp
4. Orange Sticker
5. No Room At The Inn
7. A Most Powerful Adversary
8. International Assassin
9. Ten Thirteen
10. I Live Here Now
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=64938[/img]The 1.78:1 framed transfer looks as good as you would expect for a modern TV show. Colors are vibrant and bright, with natural color shading all around. like last season, there is some digital noise in the background, but nothing too annoying.. Outdoor shots look exceptionally bright and vivid, with bright splashes of primaries and wonderfully detailed shots of the landscape as well as close up facial and object detailing. Black levels are very strong, showing a nice depth and excellent shadow detail. Contrast levels are perfectly balanced, and the skin tones look completely natural.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=64946[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is just as good as the video, covering its bases well with strong dialog and good surround support. As the majority of the show is really an extended drama, the track is naturally a tad front heavy. The main 3 channels carry the weight of the show on their shoulders and do so excellently. Effects and sounds carry well across the front sound stage and dialog is locked straight in the center channel. LFE is tight and carries some strong weight, but it’s never too aggressive or bloated. Surround channels aren’t exactly firing on all 4 cylinders, but the handle directional ambient noises quite well, which makes the track a tad more robust.
“The Leftovers” is a series that you REALLY need to watch from the beginning. There is so much going on under the surface with interconnected storylines that starting in the middle would be like waking up in the middle of a party where everyone knew each other but you. You’re wondering just what is going on around you and who these people are. The show has so many different character layers that it’s a show that really deserves your undivided attention at all times. Missing an episode in this series isn’t nearly as bad as missing an episode of NCIS or the like, as so much goes on in 50 minutes. The first season was really good, almost great, but the show has really evolved into something special and the quality jump was very appreciable. Highly recommended.
Starring: Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston
Created by: Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrotta
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 607 minutes
Own it on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD February 9th, 2016
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
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