I miss Damon Lindelof! Since closing up his internet account (damn internet trolls!), he’s been quietly working on a new show for HBO based on the book by Tom Perrotta. The Leftovers debuts on HBO this Sunday after True Blood.
The story takes place three years after a Rapture-like incident where 2% of the world’s population disappeared. Although the government is trying to convince people that 2% isn’t a big deal, everyone is still shaken and grieving.
The world is looking for answers; science is still searching for an explanation as to what happened and not everyone is buying the religious angle since the missing seem to be randomly chosen (not rewarded for good behavior).
In response, a few cults have developed: a secret cult with a leader who believes that something big is about to happen and a creepy cult who dress in white and avoids speaking so they can constantly smoke.
The Leftovers focuses on a small town where there is a sort of emotional paralysis as people just exist day to day. Our focus is on Police Chief Garvey (Justin Theroux) who is trying to hold order in his town even when he can’t keep it at home. His son (Chris Zylka) has joined the secret cult and won’t speak to him and his sullen teenage daughter (Margaret Qualley) is having problems relating to anyone.
Yes, as a Damon Lindelof show, daddy-issues is one of the conflicts, but this time it’s the father reaching out to the kids who are unresponsive.
The pilot also introduces several other characters including Meg (Liv Tyler), who is getting harassed by the creepy cult in white, Laurie (Amy Brennamen) who is part of the creepy cult and some other folks you know you’ll see again (played by Christopher Eccleston, Michael Gaston among others), but their role is still unclear.
A mysterious pilot for a complex story, the pilot sets up the main story of Garvey, but not much more. Directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Battleship), it’s a hard pilot to watch since it’s a cast of grieving, damaged people and not everyone gets their story set up – they’re sort of on the back burner for later.
There are moments of humor (such as a look at which celebrities disappeared which clearly indicates it’s not just saint-like people who vanished), but there is so much guilt and grief that this is an odd show to put between True Blood and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
So this is a show you need to invest a few episodes in to figure out if you want to stick with it since the pilot doesn’t show enough to really judge. While it was unsatisfying for me, I’m cautiously optimistic that it’ll be worth watching further, but I hope some of the characters and story threads start to come together fast.
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