A successful television series captures its audience within the story that it tells. The audience of a successful show will fall in love with the main characters as if they were real people, and they will fill with the same emotions in which that character is feeling. A successful show will make the audience think about their own world with different perceptions that they have never thought about before. A successful television show will create a large following behind it, and will make their audience talk about the show on various social media and at work the next day with their buddies. A successful show will reach the goals in which the creators set for it. A successful television show will do all of these things but do them all a little bit (or a lot) different than any other show has done before it. I believe that The Leftovers is a pretty successful cult television show.
With this being said I believe that The Leftovers could probably be a little bit more successful than it is. The series has a great story line and plot. However they could expand their audience a lot more by not just airing their series for HBO subscribers only. By limiting the target audience it prevents its self from expanding not only the audience but expanding its profits. Also because this show is just on HBO they really don’t have any other way of marketing it because if they were to market their show in other ways or have commercials on other stations. People are not going to want to have to pay to watch the show when there are so many other competitors out there such as just average cable channels that they can watch that have an unlimited amount of series or they could go binge watch shows on things like Netflix or Hulu if they own their own account on those. The show its self may attract a great audience base and people who may be interested in watching the series but that means nothing when people have other options and don’t want to pay for an extra premium channel.
I really wish that The Leftovers was on another channel. However, since it is on HBO, the audience is limited to only HBO subscribers and people who know people with HBO subscriptions. I believe that if The Leftovers was on a major network like ABC, FOX, or AMC, it would be a lot more popular than it is now.
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The Leftovers strength lies in its ability to draw its audience in. With characters that are easily relatable put in situations that are out of this world, the audience starts to feel for these characters rather easily. Kevin Garvey plays a man with a lot of shit going on, his wife left him for a cult because of an event he had no control over. His daughter hates him because he couldn’t keep his wife from leaving or coming back and just when he starts to find some normalcy, he starts to see people who are not there and he believes he is going crazy like his father did some years ago. His father was put into a mental institution for seeing dead himself. As an audience member you start to feel for Kevin Garvey because you start to put yourself in the same shoes that he is in. This to me is a huge part of creating a successful television show, creating characters that people will both fall in love with (Kevin Garvey), or hate, or maybe a little of both (his wife, Lori). These characters and the situations they are put into get the audience talking about what is going on week to week. The audience relates to these characters because they see themselves in the same situation.
I think that The Leftovers has many attributes to make the series into a cult show. It is very offbeat, I have never seen a show quite like it, the story of 2 percent of the world population disappearing in the “Sudden Departure” is a spin on the rapture, an idea that most faithful people believe in. The second season sets place in Jarden, TX, although Jarden does not actually exist, Jardin, TX is actually a real place that people might be able to visit if the show reaches cult status. As I was walking around campus the other day, I saw what must have been a fan of the show walk past me wearing a “Miracle, Texas” shirt. The same shirt that is shown to be sold at Miracle National Park in the show. There is a scene early on in the second season that shows a vendor selling these shirts out a cart in the business area of the park. Since the creators of the show are the same creators as LOST, it would not surprise me if The Leftovers was another shot at making cult television.
In the show, people reflect cult behavior by traveling to Miracle National Park. Miracle was only named after the sudden departure, there were no recorded departures in Jarden, TX. People began to think the place was special so it became a National Park to protect the numbers. You see, the population was 9,261 at the time of the departure and that number doesn’t change. The people who run the park make sure of that. So now the town is fenced in and there are squatters on the other side of the fence desperately trying to get in. People from all over to visit the park and they buy water from its stream. If this place were real, I would consider it a cult phenomenon. There is also an actual cult in this show, “The Guilty Remnant” a group of people who wear all white gowns, chain smoke cigarettes, don’t speak, and who’s only goal is to make sure people don’t forget what happened on October 14th.
With all of this being said, I believe that The Leftovers is a relatively successful television series. Although I think it would be a lot more popular and have a much larger audience if it were on a major broadcasting network, the show does well with what it has. What it has is a relatively small audience but that audience is in the know, as a fan of the show I love telling people to watch this hidden gem and every person I’ve told to watch it can’t get enough. We have talked about making trips to Miracle, TX ourselves if it actually existed, another reason why I believe this show is successful. The show I believe is designed to be a cult classic and it does its job right, it follows many of the cult characteristics and is put together beautifully. I cannot wait to see what the third and final season has in store for us, the relatively small but avid fan base.