The Leftovers is a supernatural television drama series broadcast on the American network, HBO. The show was created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, based on Tom’s novel of the same name. Tom is also one of the executive producers along with Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey, Mimi Leder, and Tom Spezialy. The show debuted on June 29, 2014 on HBO, and has since then completed two full seasons. The third season is on its way, and is slated to be the final installment of the show.
The show revolves around the mysterious disappearances of people all over the world. Roughly a hundred and forty million people, which is about 2 percent of the global population, have suddenly disappeared under mysterious circumstances. This global event is termed as “Sudden Departure” and happened simultaneously all over the world at once. The people who disappeared, simply left no traces as to what happened to them. Not even clothing. People who were driving cars disappeared while the vehicle was in motion, leaving their car to crash. Even fetuses disappeared from their mothers’ wombs. Scientists all over the world tried their best to explain the phenomenon, but completely failed to understand what happened. Interestingly, nobody has seen anyone actually disappear. The pets, who did, turned hostile towards humans, and even turned vicious.
The series itself is set after three years of the Sudden Departure. It follows the lives of a family in the fictitious town of Mapleton in New York. Garvey family and their acquaintances are still grappling with the whole situation when it appears that the worst might not be over for them yet. While the first season of the show was set in Mapleton, the second season shifted to another fictional city of Jarden in Texas. After the Sudden Departure, the world’s major religions have lost their followers and simply lost their relevance. The void left by them has been filled by numerous cults that emerged from all corners of the world. The most notable of these cults is Guilty Remnant, which is growing stronger with time. The Garvey family is not immune to these events. Kevin Garvey is the Chief of Police, and has quite a lot on his plate. He is trying to maintain some level of rationality in the society, which is now marred by the grief and cluelessness of losing their loved ones inexplicably. His wife Laurie has joined the Guilty Remnant.
The role of Kevin Garvey Jr. is played by Justin Theroux. The father of two has been hit both professionally as well as personally with the Sudden Departure. It is upon him to maintain order in a society whose structures are increasingly falling apart and new ones are emerging in unprecedented ways. Also, his unborn daughter was among the ones who disappeared. After the event, his wife Laurie has left the family. With his son Tommy leaving for college and his teenage daughter Jill acting out, he is simply clueless as to what he should do about his family breaking up like this. Kevin’s wife, Laurie is portrayed by Amy Brenneman. At some point after the global event, Laurie left her entire family and joined the Guilty Remnant, a cult force that is growing in size and influence. Kevin’s son, Tommy, is played by Chris Zylka. Tommy dropped out of his college and is significantly being influenced by a strange person who goes by the title, “Holy Wayne”. While Kevin’s daughter Jill, played by Margaret Qualley, has been a straight-A student all her life, her relationship with her father has been less than warm.
The former reverend, Matt Jamison, played by Christopher Eccleston, believes the global event to be a Biblical rapture, and is unable to cope with the fact that many sinners were taken, while he, a good Christian was left behind. He self-publishes a tabloid that outs sinners. His sister is Nora Durst (Carrie Coon), who lost her husband, daughter and son in the departure. Matt’s wife, Mary Jamison (Janel Moloney), was paralyzed by a car crash that occurred during the departure. The other notable cast on the show include Ann Dowd as Patti Levin, Michael Gaston as Dean, Max Carver as Adam Frost, Charlie Carver as Scott Frost, Emily Meade as Aimee, Amanda Warren as Lucy Warburton, and others.
HBO was quick to acquire the rights for the development of the series based on Perrotta’s novel even before the novel hit the shelves in August 2011. The network also signed up Perrotta as a writer and executive producer for the show along with other executive producers Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger. By 2012, HBO had brought Damon Lindelof onboard to be the showrunner. By February the next year, a pilot was ordered and by September, HBO decided to produce a 10-episode season for the show.
The first season completely covers the main events from the book. However, the second season is all original content created specifically for the show. The show is produced by HBO in association with Warner Bros. Television.
The show has received generally favorable ratings from the audience as well as critics. Critics have praised the performance of the actors, and how the show has managed to bring life to its various characters. However, the show is best noted for its portrayal of events that are thought provoking and a commentary on what makes people tick under duress. The show has received a number of award nominations, including Critics’ Choice Television Award, Writers Guild of America Awards, the Satellite Awards, and so on.
It is interesting to note that the show gathered an average response from the audience in its first season. By the second season, it had developed a cult following among its fans. So much so that after the conclusion of the second season, fans demonstrated outside the offices of HBO in Manhattan in a bid to convince them to not give up on the show, and produce a third season. HBO has given the nod for the third season, but it will be the conclusion of the series.