Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Premiere of HBO’s The Leftovers: What’s Not to Like…?

Photo of Darwyn Carson By Darwyn Carson | Leonard Maltin June 29, 2014 at 3:14AM

by Darwyn Carson -- In HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ folks are either in pain, in denial or in a cult…What would you do if you were left behind?
18
Justin Theroux is Chief Garvey
Photo Courtesy of HBO

The Leftovers jumps deep into a mass of angst gurgling inside nearly everyone ‘left’ untouched after what may have been The Rapture swept the planet and 2% of the world’s population disappeared without a trace. If not tormented, people are in denial, if not in denial, they’re in a cult. There are personal hells-a-plenty to go round.

Now… three years after “The Sudden Departure,” government officials proclaim that it’s time to stop grieving… that everyone is ready to “feel better.”  Naturally, the date of the occurrence, October 14 is set aside as “Heroes Day.”

In the small town of Mapleton, New York, this means a parade down Main Street, complete with speeches by the mayor, bereavers-of-note, and a reading of the names of the departed.

All to the good except for the small but growing contingent of a sectarian-like group, the Guilty Remnant or GR who silently hike around town, chain smoking cigarettes and stalking the surviving family members of those who have vanished. They don’t really do much of anything except show up everywhere, paint the town white and stare—a lot.

An air of combativeness inhabits their quietude, however, as if they are judging folks who are striving to return to some degree of normalcy. They find fault without actively appearing to do so and yet appear hurt and confused when antagonistic members of the community become physically aggressive with them.

In this clip, Chief of Police Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) attempts to warn Mayor Lucy Warburton (Amanda Warren) about the dangers of the upcoming celebration.  Wonder if she’ll heed his advice?    

Bestselling author (Election, Little Children) Tom Perrotta scripted the pilot, based on his novel, with series co-creator Damon Lindelof.  Perrotta says the book “became an examination of collective grief, and I realized I was writing about a search for meaning in the wake of a terrible mystery. What would an authentic contemporary American religious upheaval look like?”

Episodes One to Three—The Wrap Up:  What’s not intriguing about a light shone on a Rapturesque event in a way that questions everything we’ve ever thought that event would be? Religious and ideological concepts are stretched, pulled apart and reconnected without, dare I say, any disrespect.

There are no slackers in the ensemble to be sure: Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston and Liv Tyler, among others, join Theroux and Warren.

In a summer that’s threatening to boil over with dark material, HBO’s The Leftovers certainly isn’t the darkest; I only wish I felt a bit of hope for someone about something in the town of Mapleton. Right now, there is nothing save despair and more despair. Still, with numerous characters and ghost subplots galore, maybe a tiny light will seep into one of the story-lines. There’s still time.

The Leftovers debuts Sunday, June 29 — 10:00-11:15pm, Eastern and Pacific. There are ten episodes.

This article is related to: HBO , Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Tom Perrotta, Damon Lindelof, Television, Television, The Leftovers