So we're 6 episodes in to this sucker, and I will admit, I'm part of the group that is the answer to your "who's actually watching that show?" question. And you know what, I'm about at the point where I consider that a valid question. This mother fucker refuses to give in, like at all! We're on the back end of the season by now and I'm tellin ya, I have little more, potentially even less, of an idea of what the hell happened in this world than I did when I saw the first episode. And that fuckin sucks.
I get the idea of avoiding answering the audience's questions, but this damn show basically just throws it's feces in your face every time you think they're giving you some insight in to what the hell is happening.
That said, I will say I've been gripped enough to watch up until this point, I guess, so if you're like me and watch this show but are starting to have serious questions as to why you're wasting an hour of your Sunday night, then hopefully my following Pro vs. Con list for The Leftovers will help you to decide (as it shall me) whether or not you should continue to give it your attention:
- Interesting concept: this whole rapture-ish story is pretty compelling and they do a pretty good job of not going overboard with the turmoil it caused. I'm not arguing that it's a turmoil-less show by any stretch, but it's mostly confined to the individuals that the "departure" affected the most as opposed to turning the world in to absolute anarchy and chaos, which I don't think would be as interesting. Watching the individual human introspectively deal with the sense of absolute loss and confusion, and then seeing that manifest itself in the outside world in some usually very ugly ways is really what keeps you connected to this story. Shit just seems more grounded than most "apocalyptic" tales.
- Relevant tone: every shot matches the mood of the scene really well. The town of Mapleton seems to be the gloomiest place of all time, and the consistent grey skies and fogginess of the environment represent that pretty perfectly. The empty white tones of the Guilty Remnant cult tell their story without any of them having to speak. When there is sunlight, it is almost jarring and used very well to note a shift in the usual mood. Whatever the show wants you to be feeling will be very visible in each moment.
- Good acting: didn't know much about Justin Theroux before this show, other than that he's gettin Brad's sloppy seconds, but I gotta say he's doing a pretty great job as the slightly (and by slightly I mean really fucking) "off" sheriff of Mapleton. And the same can be said about the majority of the other actors, most of whom fall in to the "oh I know that guy/girl but couldn't tell you his/her name if my life depended on it" category. Lots of strong characters, all of whom seem to have a very good sense of what the mood of this show is supposed to be.
Shit, is that really it? Okay...
- What the fuck happened and why won't you even give me a taste of what is going on and how the entire world is affected by it: yes, I know this sort of goes against the pro of "interesting concept" that I claimed earlier, saying that the charm of this show is that it doesn't portray a world of anarchy and chaos and focuses more on the individual turmoil. Yes, that is a good way of going about telling this tale, but guess what? If that's all you're going to give me, and you pretty much keep saying "fuck your face" every time that I feel like you're giving me some insight in to the mystery behind the Departure, then eventually I'm out.
Now how eventual that will be is a different question, as I'm a relatively loyal watcher when I've decided to focus on a series. So I will probably finish out this season, but if there isn't at least a hint (looking for way more but I have tapered expectations) of what is really happening, or some assurance that I will soon find out, then I quit. And, I would imagine based on reviews, that so will the rest of the world. The rating on Rotten Tomatoes has gone down every week as less and less is divulged, so maybe take a hint and give your watchers something to keep watching for other than characters being miserable and trying not to be miserable. Cus if that's really all you have to offer us, which I'm starting to worry is actually what's going on, then you don't have a show, you have a pretentious commentary that's already been said and is completely unnecessary... and fucking annoying.
... I think that's the only Con, but it's a big one.
So there you have it. Final conclusion: I'll finish out this season cus there are some things that keep me watching (daughter's hot friend...), but if the show continues to spit in my face over the obviously most compelling part of the story, then I must go... I feel like I'm developing Stockholm Syndrome or something.