Lindelof explains why he's back in TV for HBO's supernatural series The Leftovers

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Jan 9, 2014, 11:46 AM EST (Updated)

It’s obvious that Lost would be a pretty tough act to follow, but producer Damon Lindelof is finally coming back to TV for his first series since the island. So why’d he pick HBO’s new supernatural drama The Leftovers?

Lindelof became a geek icon during his time on Lost — and a pretty divisive figure after that series’ controversial finale — and has spent the years since then working on blockbuster (and *also* controversial among fans) films like Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z

He was fairly content to keep working in movies until he stumbled upon a review of Tom Perotta’s 2011 novel The Leftovers written by horror icon Stephen King and fell in love with the supernatural tale at the heart of the story. After that, and tracking down and reading a copy of the book itself, it was only a matter of getting the rights and finding a network.

Now the story, about survivors left behind on Earth after a Rapture-like event leads to 140 million people vanishing in the blink of an eye, is heading to HBO with an initial 10-episode order. The project also boasts a solid cast, with Justin Theroux, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler and Amy Brenneman all playing key roles. Considering the supernatural subject matter, it looks like this one has the potential to be just as intriguing (and controversial) as Lost’s run.

Here’s Lindelof’s explanation to Entertainment Weekly for why he’s coming back to TV:

“When Lost was ending, the two questions were: ‘What are your feelings about the ending of Lost?’ And ‘What’s next?’ The way I was answering the ‘What’s next?’ question was, ‘I don’t really want to think about it right now — I just want to enjoy this process,’ but the truth was ‘I don’t know if I can ever do another television show again because I’m so terrified that it’ll be just so much less than Lost,’ and I didn’t quite know any classy way of articulating that idea…. I went off into movie-ville with no real strong feelings about whether or not I was going to do TV again…

And then I was reading The New York Times Book Review – which is the way that I pretend to read books; I read the reviews of the books and then I can articulately pretend like I’ve read them — and Stephen King wrote a review of The Leftovers, which he described as the best episode of The Twilight Zone that had never been shot. I was a Perotta fan. I read Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher and just on the premise alone [of The Leftovers]. I was completely and totally engaged by this idea. I ran and got the book immediately and I got maybe 50 pages in before I decided: This should be a television show and I need to collaborate with Tom [Perotta, who is an exec producer and co-wrote the pilot with Lindelof] on that show. It took a year for things to sort themselves out but there was never any doubt as to like, ‘Should this be my next project?’ It was love at first sight.”

It’s great to see Lindelof has so much passion for the project, and it’ll be cool to have him back working on the small screen. Say what you will about Lost’s ending, Lindelof had a hand in crafting one of the most watched and beloved series ever made. Regardless of whether this show is spectacular, or spectacularly bad, it should be an exciting trip, nonetheless.

Are you glad to see Lindelof working on a new series? Do you plan on checking it out?


(Via Entertainment Weekly)