TV: HBO’s The Leftovers Series Premiere

The leftover series


The concept of people disappearing and reappearing in a small town as a human, a ghost, a zombie or other creatures have been repeated way too many times (4400, The Returned, Jericho, The After, etc) and yet year after year, there will always be one of them. In this case it’s The Leftovers. 

The Leftovers series premiere of Damen Lindelof-created and Peter Berg-directed centers on the lives of Mapleton’s residents after the mysterious global disappearance that took 2% of the world’s population.

In this town we follow the lives of several residents, primarily the Garveys family. Kevin Garvey (played fantastically by Justin Theroux) is the small town’s sheriff with his own problems. His wife (played by my favourite Amy Brenneman) left the family after the mysterious occurrence to joined a cult named Guilty Remnant. His son, Tom, dropped out of college and joined another cult-like place runs by a false prophet, Matt Jamison. Where else his daughter, Jill, the once A-straight student is now a rebel who attends teenage orgy party.

If you have enough of the Garveys, there is always Meg Abbott and her fiance who were stalked by the GR cult members at first but she ended up joining the silent-enthusiast at the end of the episode.

My initial reaction after watching the 75-minute long pilot was exhausting. My mind was scattered all over the place. I hated the unnecessary teen sex scene (choking huh?) in the middle of the episode, and thinking how mistaken HBO was to produced this show. However, after an hour of much-needed break from my computer screen, I can’t stop thinking of the ending: shootings at those stray dogs? Kevin talking to a deer? and of course, Liv Tyler still looks like she hasn’t age.

The Leftovers’ pilot delivered an exciting yet experimental end product with no real target audience. As if, this is Lindelof’s revenge for those who hated Lost’s ending (not me) to make them watch a more bizarre show. Lindelof’s decision to create a puzzling pilot with no end game is refreshing, because as the audience I feel challenged to ignore my previous knowledge and just to go with the flow. However, no matter how inviting the flow appears to be, it doesn’t look crystal clear from this side.

Can the show pulled it off without being too preachy and political? Can the show do justice to the discombobulated Mapleton’s residents? Or at least, can the show focuses more on Liv Tyler and Amy Brenneman because let’s be honest, they are the interesting ones here.

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8 thoughts on “TV: HBO’s The Leftovers Series Premiere

  1. snapcracklewatch

    So glad you reviewed this!! I am seriously on the fence so far, but we are only 2 episodes in. I don’t know about it, part of me feels like there is so much going on and nothing has been thoroughly explained, nor have they given us enough to piece the puzzle together. I think they need to give us something soon. Like True Detective, yes that whole show was a mystery, but it kept you on your toes, revealing bits and pieces and making the central characters, the center piece of the story itself. Here I find that everything is a bit all over the place. Like you said though, I want to know more and understand more, so I will continue watching and hope that it gets better! And yes Liv Tyler is still a babe!

  2. 13mesh

    The first episode was weird as hell but the second was slight better, don’t you think? But you are right, there are lots of things going on here and it’s quite exhausting after sometime.

    I am so glad to see Liv Tyler again and chopping the hell out of that tree LOL

  3. 13mesh

    Lol and that bagel scene? Poor toaster (or whatever that is). I did see few biblical references, but there must be more of them. Seems Lindelof know his theology huh?

    Oh and is it me or the bald guy seems to be Kevin’s guardian angel or something? I doubt his father is that crazy that he needs to be admitted to an asylum. Too many puzzles.

  4. snapcracklewatch

    HAHA yes the toaster. I was thinking is the bagel now in this realm where everyone disappeared to? Well at least they have bagels. Oh yes that must be it because remember the last season of Lost, it was full of biblical references. Gosh I miss that show!

    Yes I think so… I kept thinking it’s his monitor. lol

  5. 13mesh

    Haha the toaster might be the passage to another realm. Oh I missed Lost too! In fact my whole family was obsessed with the show when it aired. Did you like the ending? I did and don’t know why so many people are not.

  6. sidekickreviews

    That was a messed up teenage party wasn’t it? I haven’t seen the second episode yet but I’ll give it a try. The pilot was intentionally all over the place though by the end the main characters are revealed to be connected. Still it isn’t exactly Must-See TV. I’m most interested in the cult aspect and how it will develop.

  7. 13mesh

    The second episode is slightly lighter and better in my opinion. I agree, the cult aspect is what makes the show interesting. Let me know what you think of the second episode 🙂

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