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.