HBO is set to premier the dramatic series, The Leftovers, on Sunday June 29th at 10:00 PM. The series, in the words of Chris Eccleston (Dr. Who), is about what it means to be human.
The show is an adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel of the same name. The series begins in small-town Mapleton three years after the Sudden Departure, the day 140 million humans simply vanished. This isn’t the first time Perrotta’s work has been adapted for the screen- his 2004 work, Little Children, was adapted to a 2006 Academy Award nominated film starring Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly. It seems his pages are fodder for screen magic.
The protagonist, Chief of Police Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), is the primary vehicle for moving the series’ action. While Garvey was written as a mayor, his adaptation to a police officer places him in the mix of the world’s mayhem as people struggle with the only reasonable question.Why?
While executive producer Albert Berger (Nebraska) may later reveal an explanation for this Sudden Departure, he wants viewers to focus on the way the different characters react to this tragedy. When people inexplicably lose everything, especially a sense of safety and purpose, what do they have left? This smart new dramatic series tests humanity’s mettle.
In one scene, a mother straps her infant into its car-seat and before she can close the car door, the child vanishes along with several others in the grocery store parking lot. Just like that, a mundane errand on a regular day is transformed into a day of infamy- and such is life.
This slice-of life character study examines the struggle of piecing back together a shattered existence and questions if it is morally right to move past such a catastrophic event. Two groups, the Guilty Remnant and Holy Wayne, function as the series antagonists.
Members of The Guilty Remnants act as living monuments, reminding leftovers of that devastating day and urging them to accept that nothing is okay. This painful reminder and silent judgment sparks violent reactions, yet the Guilty Remnants never strike back- even that they view as an act of futility.
The post Apocalypse survival theme has been a Sunday staple since the dawn of The Walking Dead nearly four years ago. Once again, civilization as we know it is over and some struggle to rebuild while others see little point and live only for the day. While this new series is void of zombies, the basic human elements remain. This nihilist exploration is sure to have viewers talking.