If there's one subject that has captivated people for decades, it's the Church of Scientology. The relatively new religion includes some of Hollywood's biggest characters, from Tom Cruise to John Travolta. Much of the organization is shrouded with mystery, but that seems to be changing. HBO's documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief was met with critical acclaim back in 2015, and was praised for reportedly revealing the inner secrets and corruption within The Church. And this year actress and former scientologist Leah Remini brought her own perspective to A&E with the series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. The show focused on the experience of ex-scientologists, and was met with high viewership and pop culture status.
And now it appears that we can expect much more of Leah Remini's work. A&E has renewed Scientology and the Aftermath for a second season. Additionally, Season 2 will also be longer than its predecessor, going from eight episodes to ten. And given that the series has become the #1 new unscripted television project on TV, it should come to no surprise that the network is bringing Leah Remini back for another go.
While Going Clear may have paved the way for Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, they're actually quite different projects. Rather than explaining the layered and confusing mythology of Scientology, Leah Remini's series focuses on the individual people who have left the Church. The stories are reportedly true, and focus on what life is like once someone leaves Scientology.
And given The Church's practice of ex-communicating those who depart, the stories are very emotional. The subjects of the show are often without their families, who may still be Scientologists and are therefore forbidden from contact. Additionally, Leah Remini and company maintain that The Church often goes on the offensive with ex-members, using their impressive fiscal resources to seek legal action, as well as harassment techniques and creating websites that attack their character.
With the news of Scientology and the Aftermath's renewal, host and producer Leah Remini stressed the importance of the series for not only the participants, but any victims of abuse. She said,
Our intention is to send a clear message to abusers that they will not go unchecked and will not be permitted to continue harming people without being questioned and challenged. We have been deluged with messages from those who have stories to tell who feel the show is a forum where their voices can be heard. We have been overwhelmed with support from well-wishers and fans of the show from around the world. But most importantly we felt compelled to proceed with another season to continue to reveal truths and seek justice for all victims.
It should be interesting to see if and how the Church of Scientology responds to Leah Remini's renewal. The organization is obviously staunchly opposed to Scientology and the Aftermath. As such, A&E usually airs a small disclaimer at the start of each episode, where you can essentially hear the Church's side of the story. This is to presumably avoid legal action, but it certainly allows the organization to stick up for themselves.
Be sure to check back with us here at CinemaBlend for updates on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath as they become public.