Damon Lindelof has been spiritually linked to NBC’s “The Good Place” since its launch in 2016. Not only did Drew Goddard, an alum of Lindelof’s “Lost,” direct the pilot and serve as an executive producer, but creator Mike Schur had turned to “The Leftovers” and “Watchmen” showrunner for advice on how to craft a serialized comedy tackling subjects like philosophy, humanity and mortality.
Lindelof, in turn, became a huge “The Good Place” fan — and he’s not afraid to reveal that he cried while watching the show’s finale on Thursday. “It ended beautifully,” he told Variety at the Writers Guild Awards on Saturday afternoon. “It was exquisite. I definitely cried. It was very elegant and understated. It didn’t feel manipulative, which I most certainly would have done. There would have been much more overtly teary goodbyes. And I loved how understated it was, and how much it trusted the audience.”
Lindelof also appreciated the show’s shoutout to “The Leftovers” early in the episode, when Maya Rudolph, who plays the Judge, reveals she’s binging the show — and that she nearly destroyed 2% of humanity after learning star Carrie Coon never received an Emmy for the show.
“Obviously I was deeply and personally touched and surprised by ‘The Leftovers’ shoutout,” Lindelof said. “Especially for Carrie. But once I recovered from that… I’m still weeping over the ‘Parks and Recreation’ finale. Those guys are pretty good at it.”
Lindelof said he texted Schur immediately after the finale ran: “I watched it live, which was a little bit frustrating because you have to sit through all of the commercials,” he said. “And normally I watch it DVRed so I can experience the full emotional weight of it. But I was so concerned about being spoiled or needing to be in the know. So as soon as Seth Meyers started asking them questions [in the aftershow] I was texting Mike. I’m formulating a much longer response.”
As for the ongoing question of whether he’ll produce any more seasons of “Watchmen,” Lindelof repeated his assertion that, at least for now, he’s not itching to do anything more.
“I understand that the culture writ large wants a firm answer,” he said. “Is there going to be more, isn’t there going to be more. And unfortunately the answer is, ‘probably not.’ I’ve been pretty consistent about that since we premiered the show at Comic-Con.”
“When I first pitched the show to HBO, where I looked at it as, in the model of ‘Fargo’ and ‘True Detective,'” he added. “I think there’s a very high likelihood that there will be more ‘Watchmen.’ I think the likelihood of me being involved as showrunner starts to drop off. I would love to see more, and I think I’d love to see television shows like ‘True Detective’ or ‘Fargo’ where other visionaries can come in and take their run at it. I didn’t create ‘Watchmen,’ so I think it’s hypocritical for me to say I’m the only one who can do it. But I also want to leave space for, if three or four or five years from now I have that ‘eureka’ moment that we could do another one.”
Given the not-so-positive reaction among some fans and critics to the “Lost” finale, Lindelof did have a chuckle over the ongoing demand he’s hearing for more “Watchmen”: “We do have to appreciate the irony of me now being asked, ‘can I please have another season?’ I’m OK with legacy.”