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Are You Ready to Meet THE LEFTOVERS?

By Jef Dinsmore on Jun 26, 2014 to HBO News

TheLeftovers_titleSunday nights beginning on 06.26 at 10:00pm we face THE LEFTOVERS. Just who are they? When 2% of the world’s population abruptly disappears without explanation, the world struggles to come to terms with what happened. Three years later, THE LEFTOVERS is the story of the people who didn’t make the cut.

In case you have missed on all the information here, one more time, and straight from an HBO Press Release are the details. Also Damon Lindelof spoke with HBO to offer insights that appear throughout this post.

Based on Tom Perrotta’s bestselling novel of the same name, THE LEFTOVERS is an original look at The Rapture…or was it The Rapture at all? Set in a small New York suburb, the intimate fTheLeftovers_KevinGarveyamily drama focuses on the residents of the fictional town of Mapleton, whose preconceptions are shattered in the wake of a global event dubbed “The Sudden Departure.” Three years after the fateful day when 140 million people disappeared without a trace, the series focuses on the ways ordinary people react to inexplicable events that can unite or divide families and communities, examining how their untold grief and the strain of an unprecedented calamity can turn faith into cynicism, paranoia, madness or cult-like fanaticism.

At the heart of THE LEFTOVERS is the Garvey family. Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), the town’s beleaguered chief of police and father of two, is trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy when the notion no longer applies. While Kevin and his rebellious daughter, Jill (Margaret Qualley), try to go back to the way things used to be, Kevin’s son, Tom (Chris Zylka), sees the event as a wakeup call to take action. At the same time, Kevin is faced with the conflict between the townspeople of Mapleton and the Guilty Remnant, a mysterious cult-like group that seems to offer an escape for traumatized residents.

Did you catch that important piece of information there? Do not expect great clarification of “The Sudden Departure.” That is just a warning viewers.

 

HBO: What makes “The Leftovers” different than other stories of a similar vein?

 

Damon Lindelof: I think what distinguishes THE LEFTOVERS the most is the idea that if you look outside your window, you can’t really tell that the end of the world has happened, unless you look very closely. There are no zombies out there that are trying to eat your brains, no mushroom cloud in the distance. All the thingsPeople_DamonLindelof2 that visually establish a universe as being at the end don’t exist here. It’s more of a look and a feel and the way that people behave that conveys it.

 

HBO: What has it been like working on a cable show for HBO versus a network?

 

 DL: It’s certainly been very liberating on a number of different levels. I loved doing “Lost” for six years and I didn’t really feel significantly restricted, but I think that there’s something about the presentation of this show that is very freeing. We don’t have to define the success of THE LEFTOVERS in terms of whether or not 15 million people are going to watch it. There’s a way to embrace the ambiguity that’s built into the construct of the show. I don’t know if that makes the show better or worse, but it has been really liberating.

TheLeftovers_LaurieIn addition to  Justin Theroux (HBO’s JOHN ADAMS and SIX FEET UNDER), series regulars include: Amy Brenneman  (“Private Practice”) as Laurie (pictured), a mother with a successful career who felt all she could do after the Departure was surrender; Christopher Eccleston (“28 Days Later”) as Reverend Matt Jamison, who thinks he knows exactly what the Departure was and wasn’t, and is committed to renewing the town’s faith; Liv Tyler (“The Lord of the Rings”) as Meg, who has serious doubts about her impending wedding; Chris Zylka (“The Amazing Spider-Man”) as Tom Garvey; Margaret Qualley as Jill Garvey; Carrie Coon (“Gone Girl”) as Nora Durst, who lost her entire family in the Departure; Emily Meade (HBO’s “BOARDWALK EMPIRE) as Aimee, Jill’s friend and the big sister she never had; Amanda Warren (“The Adjustment Bureau”) as Mayor Lucy Warburton; Ann Dowd (HBO’s TRUE DETECTIVE) as Patti, a Guilty Remnant leader; Michael Gaston (“The Mentalist”) as Dean, a stranger who could be Kevin’s greatest ally, or a force to be reckoned with; Max and Charlie Carver (“Teen Wolf”) as Adam and Scott Frost, twins who forge a friendship with Jill and Aimee; and Annie Q (“The Rewrite”) as Christine, a follower of Holy Wayne and object of Tom’s interest.

Theleftovers_statue

Here are details on the first five episodes!

 

 – Episode #1: “Pilot”

Three years after millions of people – some 2% of the world’s population – vanished into thin air, residents of Mapleton, NY weigh the pros and cons of a “Heroes Day” tribute to the local “Departed.” Attempting to maintain a sense of normalcy in his strained community, police chief Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) faces additional challenges at home with his daughter, Jill (Margaret Qualley), who’s lost in a cloud of apathy with her friend Aimee (Emily Meade), and son, Tom (Chris Zylka), who has gravitated to a cult led by the charismatic Holy Wayne (Paterson Joseph). Also of concern is a silent, white-clad group of chain-smoking men and women called the Guilty Remnant, who team up in pairs to stake out people and places around town. As tension in Mapleton escalates, the lives of Laurie (Amy Brenneman), an unexpected member of the Guilty Remnant, and Meg (Liv Tyler), a recently engaged young woman, converge.

  – Episode #2: “Penguin One, Us Zero”

In the wake of a sTheLeftovers_feareries of disturbing encounters, Kevin pays a visit to a therapist. Tom finds himself in a precarious situation with Christine (Annie Q), a favorite of Wayne’s. A frustrated Meg is asked to part with pieces of her past. Jill and Aimee tail Nora Durst (Carrie Coon), who became a local celebrity when her entire family disappeared in the Departure.

 – Episode #3: “Two Boats and a Helicopter”

In the face of dwindling church attendance and threats on his life, Reverend Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston) continues to preach his gospel: that many who disappeared in the Departure were sinners and not saints. Matt’s campaign is detoured when he learns he may lose the church to foreclosure, forcing him to launch a desperate, last-minute plan to come up with the cash to keep it.

  – Episode #4: “B.J. and the A.C.”

A holiday display goes wanting, sending Kevin scurrying to find out who is responsible. Tom and Christine run intoTheleftovers_GuiltyRemnant trouble at a hospital and on the road. Kevin retrieves a surprise detainee from a neighboring police station, and receives unexpected visitors at hom
e. The Guilty Remnant put its stamp on the holiday season.

  – Episode #5: “Gladys”

Laurie’s resolve is put to the test in the wake of a brutal hate crime. After his latest initiatives to maintain the peace in Mapleton fall short, Kevin turns down an outside offer to rid the town of its problems. Matt brings his pulpit to the street. Meg takes on a new role.

 

 

It is going to be powerful  and heartbreaking. Don’t miss THE LEFTOVERS.

HBO: What do you hope viewers will take away from the series?

 

 DL: My hope is that the show taps into something emotional and personal for them. I think all of us have had some kind of experience with loss, or the fear of loss. We’ve all had some experience with the search for meaning and trying to understand why TheLeftovers_Questionsthings happen. I think this world forces the characters, and therefore us, in a way, to think about the meaning of life and the existence of God. There are certain existential questions that we can believe we know the answers to, but there’s no defined proof. There are certainly characters in this show who are very interested in discovering the answers to the mystery of what “The Sudden Departure” meant and where they went, but I had to take this job knowing that there was a possibility that this show might never want to answer those questions, much in the same way that the mystery of life is that we don’t know what happens when we die.

Join HBOWATCH as we watch and review THE LEFTOVERS.

  • Eleonora Iafano

    Looking forward to this show Sunday evening. Trailers had me hooked but having additional information is like icing on the cake.

  • Weds

    Really excited for this one. The reviewers I trust most (Greenwald, Sepinwall, Todd from the A.V. Club) have all loved it, and that’s reason enough for me to have faith that this will be something worth watching.

    The tone is one of the main attractions for me, to be honest. Novels, movies, music – all of these art forms have had works that mainly trafficked in grief and loss on a thematic level, so why not a television series?

    I had a feeling this would be a divisive show from the beginning, based on the source material, and it’s probably for the best that it is. Even the negative reviews are praising the acting, production values, etc. Many just seem unable or unwilling to immerse themselves into something so bleak. Which is completely and totally understandable.

    Hopefully this continues the already amazing year HBO has had thus far, and I’m glad that they’re still taking chances on shows that are more experimental, and tonally/atmospherically different than anything else on television.

  • Jef Dinsmore

    The one trick that this show needs to master I think is the dark tone it takes. When you are dealing with unexplained loss, anger, confusion, abandonment, fervor, sadness and conflict as your underlying themes it can drag some viewers down. Others won’t mind it as much and will accept the rollercoaster of emotions it will take viewers on.

    I am of the latter group and am looking forward to it.

  • Great hype piece, Jef!
    This show looks good. The reviews are coming in and most are solid.
    I think for a show like this it may have a rough first season too so it’s a good sign that most people are satisfied already.

  • prell

    I’m looking forward to finally be able to watch this. I also have high hopes for this show, and HBO rarely disappoints!










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