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The Leftovers, HBO’s drama based on the novel of the same name written by Tom Perrotta, returned this Sunday for its second season. Season 1 focused primarily on the people of Mapleton, a fictional town about an hour drive north of Manhattan, and their dealing with the mysterious disappearance of 2% of the world’s population. In season 2 the story shifts to Jarden, Texas, appropriately nicknamed Miracle National Park, as not one person was taken from them in the Sudden Departure.

There is a bleak nature to The Leftovers, unlike anything else on TV at the moment (perhaps the only thing close in the “dark” department is, oddly enough, Review, which is great, but a comedy) that sucked me in entirely midway through last year’s first season. It’s grim. It’s depressing. Add that to a level of despair that will undoubtedly turn people off. It’s a divisive show, with a view of the world most people wouldn’t dare tackle nor one they want to be a part of.

Damon Lindelof, co-creator/writer, is no stranger to polarizing television. When LOST ended it’s 6 season run in 2010, many were unhappy, feeling they were left with more questions than answers. I was not one of those people, but I can’t argue with those who thought the show should’ve gone in a different direction. I didn’t agree with all the decisions made regarding the final couple of seasons, but I believe no less in Lindelof, who helped create something wholly original and unique, unlike anything else on TV then and with its failed copycats in the years since.

Alan Sepinwall, excellent TV critic for Hitfix.com, posted a wonderfully candid interview with Lindelof that gives great insight into the process of creating such a show, and the pitfalls of controlling something the magnitude of LOST.

The Leftovers is a show about grief, but it’s also a show about hope. A hope that these people can move on with their lives. Maybe not to rebuild the lives they once had, but to expand on lives they never thought possible. The departed are not coming back. We, the viewer, have been told by the creators that we won’t ever find out what happened to them. That focuses us entirely on what’s happening on-screen, right in front of us. There’s a supernatural aspect of the show that’s exciting in a non-alien way. No matter what your religious allegiances, it’s a show that tests your faith.

Mapleton has burned, figuratively, and to a point, literally. The Garveys, along with Nora (Carrie Coon’s performance as Nora Durst is transcendent and one of the great new TV finds in recent memory) are leaving that behind to start anew. I can’t wait to join them.

Here’s a beautiful piece of music from season 1’s Soundtrack. Part of a deep, emotional, and often contemplative score:

Twitter: @BobbyJDaniels

Robert is a current student here at CUNY SPS, pursuing a degree in Communication and Media. He is interested in platforms of media, especially those related to digital media; and a fan of serious film as well as this current golden age of television.

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As we continue to discuss ways to strengthen your personal brand online, proper attention needs to be given to the importance of blogging.  If the idea of starting a blog, or contributing to an existing one, sounds like an attractive idea it can become the centerpiece of your online presence.

Content is Key

More important than a fancy design is the text, photos, or other content you’ll be delivering.  You can dress it up any way you like, but the most important thing is engaging your audience.  Find a topic that you’re interested in presenting and can hopefully provide new insights.  The last thing anyone wants to see is a lazily produced product that is never updated.  So if you’re excited about your content, it will become that much more appealing to prospective readers.

Pick a Platform

If you’re starting a blog from scratch, your second big decision after deciding on your theme, is to pick a blogging platform.  There are a variety of popular and free sites that will host your blog for you and offer a variety of benefits.

WordPress – When we were deciding on a platform for the SPS Community Blog, WordPress emerged as the clear frontrunner.  It is the most fully featured free blogging platform, and offers the most options in terms of customization, content control, and reporting.  The drawback is that it isn’t the easiest site to familiarize yourself.  Especially when compared to some of its competators.  Still, it’s far from rocket science, and once you get the hang of all the WordPress dashboard has to offer you’ll find a wealth or resources to improve your blogging.

Blogger – It’s impossible to talk about something tech related and not expect Google to be a key part of the conversation.  Blogger is Google’s blogging platform and it boasts an easy to use interface that only affords a minimal amount of customization.

Tumblr – The new kid on the block, Tumblr is known as a “microblogging” site.  It focuses on shorter updates, with an emphasis on photographs and creative layouts.  This is a funky and fun platform that’s ideal for artists.

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Another great way to get your name and content out is by joining a preexisting blog.  Find something in your area of interest, and reach out to them about becoming a contributor.  There’s strength in numbers, and it also adds a certain sense of legitimacy to your content that you would otherwise have to work to gain on your own.

I’m happy to answer any and all questions on getting started as a blogger, and invite all SPS students and alumni to try it out by contributing to this very blog.  Feel free to contact me at shawn.abraham@mail.cuny.edu with any questions.  I look forward to reading your future posts!

Shawn Abraham is SPS’ Virtual Campus Manager, which means he gets to have a lot of fun building an online community for the school.  He also has a lot of fun reading books about zombies.  These two things rarely intersect.