7 Recent TV shows that are genuinely cinematic

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The Leftovers

The Leftovers didn’t start out being cinematic but became so over time. The show’s first season was a compelling adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name. It was a cerebral, humanistic thriller that felt like a spiritual sequel to co-creator Damon Lindelof’s Lost. The series felt like a better than average prestige cable drama. However, freed from the parameters of the source material, the show became something more.

It became less dialogue centric and plot driven. It moved away from being about the conflicts between the various groups jockeying for power in a post-Apocalyptic America. It began focusing on how a bunch of ordinary people dealt with overwhelming, identity-shattering grief. In its third season, the Leftovers reached its apotheosis by resolving most of the questions that drove its core narrative. After that, it narrowed its focuses to exploring the question of whether or not the profoundly self-destructive Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and irretrievable haunted Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) could find a way to truly love one another.

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The Leftovers series finale, which almost works as a standalone film, answers the question. Director Mimi Leder invests every scene in the film with a palpable sense of warmth and anxiety. Theroux gives the performance of his career and Coon gives the kind of performance that acting students should study for decades to come. And Lindelof, along with co-writer Perrotta and Tom Spezialy, finally provides answers to the questions he’s been posing over the course of his career.  “The Book of Nora” is an intimate, empathetic piece of filmmaking that is immensely moving even divorced from  rest of the series.