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@emnofseattle People have different circumstances. You can't always just quit and work somewhere else. Maybe it's not that easy for you to get another job, and you feel like you have no other options. Being a "human with free agency" means you could technically do anything, but the real world is more complicated than that. You have the benefit of distance, and a 360 view of the situation - the people actually in these circumstances don't have that luxury. As has been said by others in this thread, they're dealing with societal pressure and coercion, they may be young and inexperienced and not fully grasp the situation.I also don't understand the fact that you practically have an allergic reaction to the idea that someone could be considered a victim for being taken advantage of by what can be a deeply sketchy industry. Earlier in the thread you assert that "if you're not physically forced/drugged you're not a victim" - a viewpoint so shallow I don't even know where to start with it - and then go on to state that if you just say you're not a victim enough, it'll come true and you'll succeed in life, which sounds like a line from the most stereotypical bullshit self help manual ever written. If you said that to someone with severe trauma/anxiety/depression/whatever, they'd laugh in your face for how absurd it is. It seems to me like you've only ever looked at the world through the lens of your own experiences. ("I dealt with bad employers, but I just quit and worked somewhere else, so everyone else in that situation must be able to just do what I did.") I know "put yourself in someone else's shoes" is a bit generic, but it really wouldn't hurt you to try it some time.
@Melia004 If 2% of the population had died under mysterious circumstances instead of Departed, this would not even be a remotely similar show. Sure, people would still be upset, and it would still be a meditation on grief and loss, but that's not all The Leftovers is. A huge part of it is the uncertainty, the fact that the Departure can't be explained, and the complete lack of closure. Are they alive? Where did they go? Could they ever come back? None of this would be the same if the Departed had just died.The thing about comparing Lost and The Leftovers is...they're very different. A shared showrunner and mystery aspects, sure, but they are two completely different shows. Watch the first few episodes of each show to see how each one establishes itself, and you'll get what I mean. Lost set itself up from the jump as a show with mysteries, mysteries with clear answers that would be revealed down the line (the pilot literally ends with Charlie saying "Guys...where are we?" - if that's not an implied promise to the audience, I don't know what is). The Leftovers, on the other hand, started with the Departure, but made it very clear that its interests lay in seeing how people dealt with something like that, rather than actually answering it. It set up other questions along the way, sure (some answered, some left deliberately ambiguous), but it was always obvious that it really was "about the characters", and that's not a bad thing at all.To sum up: ambiguity is not bad by definition - it all depends on the execution. The Leftovers and Lost are both technically "mystery shows", but the difference in how they framed those mysteries and the audience expectations that they generated right from their first episodes is key to understanding why you could be bothered by a lack of answers in one show, and be completely fine with the same thing in the other. If Damon Lindelof spends six years telling you that all your questions about the Island will be answered, and then they aren't, then that's his problem. If he spends three years telling you to let the mystery be, and you're annoyed when things are left ambiguous, then that's your problem.
My opinion is that The Leftovers is the better of the two shows, and the podcasts for it have more interesting discussions than the podcasts for Fargo. It really depends on your own taste in TV though - The Leftovers is amazing, but the first season is pretty unrelentingly bleak and a lot of people just straight up don't like the early episodes, so it can be a rough watch at first, especially compared to Fargo.
It's also worth mentioning that most of these 'crazy theories' were just that - crazy theories that didn't have much relevance to the plot, and also that the "big reveal" of season 2 (what happened to the three girls) was guessed by barely anyone before it happened. I can understand where people are coming from after Mr. Robot and Westworld last year, but I really don't think you're going to get the same thing with The Leftovers.
If you like meditations on philosophy, religion, grief loss and the uncertainty of life, it's GREAT!I was 18 when I watched the first two seasons and loved it. I'm not sure how much age factors into it (at least to a degree, since I certainly wouldn't have gotten the show when I was 15 or 16) - but I feel like more than anything else it just depends on the person - more than anything on TV, this is a show that you're either into or you're not into. Not everyone is going to like the same things, and that's fine.And, I am gunna sound condescending here, but I feel like you need to be at least mid-twenties before you can get on this ride, I know in my younger years I would have been bored and confused by all of this. Wrote it off as arty nonsense.Going back to the OP - there have been plenty of these kinds of "You guys told me The Leftovers was awesome, but I'm really not getting it after x number of episodes, what do?" threads on the forums in the last year and a half. Some of those people eventually came around on the show, and some of them didn't. Even if you get to season 2 (a top 5 all time season of television IMO - I'm rewatching it now to prepare for season 3 and it absolutely holds up), you still might not like it - like I said, not everyone is going to like the same things. But season 2 is so good that it's absolutely worth getting through season 1 to find out.One last thought: as plenty of people have said, this is not a show for binge-watching, even if you can deal with the emotional heaviness. The creators put a lot of effort into making each episode feel complete in its own way, and you can appreciate that a lot more if you leave a bit of time between watching each one.edit: I find it pretty funny how many people had their "do I want to keep watching this?" moment after episode 4. There seems to be a consensus that that particular episode (it's the "Jill steals the baby Jesus" one) is the low point of the series, and I'd be inclined to agree.