HBO is known for destination shows, even if they aren’t good. From “Sex and the City” to “The Sopranos” to “Game of Thrones,” the cable network knows how to get people to commit to a show. The next show to have you stop using condoms and pack the U-Haul for is “The Leftovers.”
This series creates a dystopian present where people are reeling from a Rapture-like event. It’s like our world only delightfully dark and creepy. Unlike a certain show that was up its own ass about mysteries, “Lost,” this series focuses on humanity and morality rather than the hows, whats or whys.
It’s kind of great that the series isn’t dwelling on the mysterious event that resulted in 2 percent of the population disappearing. Instead, it focuses on the aftermath. People are unaware how to live, morality changes and strange things happen. The show is able to create a real global understanding of the world with such a close-knit cast unlike “Game of Thrones.” Let’s be honest, that show should come with flash cards of who the hell everyone is. Mr. Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, plays a Kevin, a cop with strange visions and people constantly killing animals around him. His wife Laurie (Amy Brenneman) has left her family to join a cult of silent smokers. His son, Tom (Chris Zylka), has been drafted by a would-be messiah who gets his powers from Asian teenage girls. His daughter, Jill (Margaret Qualley), is your typical angsty teen but in this world, emo adolescents play spin-the-bottle with sex and mutilation.
The casting is great. Theroux is kind of good as a sexy tattooed anti-hero. Zylka, despite starring on so many failed series and movie vehicles, does shine as a sensitive yet misguided youth. Liv Tyler takes a break from obscurity to pop up in this series with her patented wilted flower acting. The characters are real and compelling, which is the making of a real HBO series.
“The Leftovers” is dark and reminiscent of some of the more cerebral HBO series like “Carnivale” or “The Comeback.” Here’s hoping it’s more widely adopted by audiences. It has such a distinct take on morality and what it means to be human. This mass disappearance changes the way people function in the world. Some abandon morality, while some embrace magical thinking. Regardless of the details, visiting this world is fascinating, thought-provoking and genuinely entertaining. It’s worth committing an hour each Sunday, especially since “True Blood” has been sucking and no one needs to give “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” more money.