Still licking his wounds from the controversial finale of “Lost” four years later, writer/producer Damon Lindelof will have something to prove with his upcoming HBO series “The Leftovers.” And he’s already letting folks know he’s changed his approach to storytelling. “ ‘The Leftovers’ is not constructed as a cliffhangery show,” he told the NY Times. “It’s not built to be like, oh, my God, we’ve got to watch the next episode immediately. But at the same time, it is built so that when one episode ends, you want to keep watching the show. So by virtue of that, [we are] finding the spirit of: Well, what will make someone excited to watch ‘The Leftovers’ this Sunday night?”
It’s a smart distinction to make, particularly given how easily the premise for this new show could be switched to something overly heightened or melodramatic. Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, the show will focus on the titular “leftovers,” the vast population of Earth that struggles to understand what happens when 2% of the population just vanishes. Is it the rapture? Is it something less spiritual and more logical? It’s the kind of stuff Lindelof delved into deeply on “Lost,” and here’s hoping there’s a more satisfying resolution here. But whatever happens, Lindelof is holding himself to a high standard.
“There might be a lot of noise around the show, and people might love the pilot, but it might completely and totally sputter and burn out,” he explained. “We have not written a script or produced an episode yet where I go: ‘Booyah! That’s what I’m talking about!’ They’ve all been a gargantuan struggle.”
“The Leftovers” arrives on Sunday, June 29th at 10 p.m.