The first season of HBO’s The Leftovers was alternately miserable or mesmerizing, but it always gave us something to talk about last summer. By the time it ended its freshman run, though, the series was in a bit of a pickle, having exhausted all the material from co-showrunner Tom Perrotta’s novel. As such, Damon Lindelof, The Leftovers‘ other driving creative force, teases that when the show returns it will be drastically different than what viewers have already seen.
Speaking with Collider, Lindelof referred to the storytelling of another HBO series, peerless crime drama The Wire, as an example of what he wants to strive toward in The Leftovers‘ sophomore year:
Although some people think the second season for The Wire is its least successful, I was just completely and totally captivated by the audacity and boldness of just shifting the storytelling down to the docks, and taking the characters who I had become deeply enamored of and sidelining them in favor of entirely new characters. In my mind, it paid off huge because it set up the paradigm for what the third season and the fourth season of The Wire could be, not to mention the fifth season. So, I’ve always felt that the next logical season of The Leftovers would just be the continuing adventures of these people in this place. Let’s not do that. Let’s try something different.
Though The Leftovers, with its unresolved plot threads and dismal tone, is a far cry from The Wire, Lindelof’s ambition has to be admired. Of course, he’ll have to come up with a really interesting second season to back up what he’s saying here – and the Lost alum doesn’t have the best track record for satisfying devotees. He elaborated on the mindset with which he, Perrotta and the show writers approached what comes next for the Garveys and company:
We’ve exhausted all the story from Tom Perrotta’s book. It was a novel, it wasn’t meant to be a continuing series. Tom remains very involved in the storytelling moving forward but what could we do that would shake things up a bit and pitch a bit of curve ball but at the same time, not reinvent the wheel. We’re still making a show about the same exact thing thematically, we still want it to feel the same way that the first season felt, but I do feel like the catalyst for coming back was “let’s try something bold!” And if it doesn’t work, well, it will be a spectacular failure as opposed to a humdrum one.
The Leftovers had its problems last summer, so maybe a creative retooling is the right approach. We’ll find out when the show returns to HBO sometime this year.