THE LEFTOVERS Season One
Sometimes They Don’t Come Back
released out now! 2014 | 18 | Blu- ray/ DVD
Showrunner Damon Lindelof
Cast Justin Theroux, Christopher Eccleston, Ann Dowd, Liv Tyler, Carrie Coon, Paterson Joseph
With Lost’s Damon Lindelof running the show, The Leftovers is exactly you’d expect: a slowmoving, wantonly cryptic, stylishly- shot mystery about characters who don’t quite act as you’d expect them to in the bizarre situation they’ve been dealt.
In this case, the world is learning to cope after one tenth of the planet’s population disappeared in the blink of an eye. Is it the Rapture? Is it aliens? Is it the most ambitious stunt Jackass has ever pulled off? There are no answers forthcoming – in this first season, at least. That’s not a spoiler. That’s not a passive aggressive criticism of Lost’s finale. Although the characters may raise the questions themselves, The Leftovers isn’t a show about “why?”, it’s a show about “what now?” How the characters cope. Or don’t cope, in many cases.
Because it takes this approach, The Leftovers also doesn’t fall into the trap of similar high- concept shows such as Under The Dome and Flashforward, where once the big special effects- driven “event” that kicks everything off has done its job, the show becomes a bit, well, dull after that. The “Rapture” is handled in a surprisingly low- key way. It’s a clever move. It immediately says, “This show isn’t about spectacle, it’s about people.” It doesn’t give the popcorn crowd a false idea of what’s ahead.
And it carries on being low- key, concentrating on one small town, where the Rapture has wrecked lives and caused divisions within families. A cult devoted to silence and smoking tries to guilt- trip those left behind. A priest campaigns against the missing being regarded as heroes, giving out leaflets describing how some were sinners ( he’s not popular). A cop, Kevin, nominally the show’s hero but with demons of his own, tries to hold the town and his family together, but fails at both.
There are shocking moments of storytelling genius, especially in a swerve- ball penultimate episode that changes a lot of what you think you know, or whenever the smoking cult pulls off some odious stunt. But there are also some dull characters, dramatic dead ends, and moments when the gears driving the plot crunch with all- too- obvious artifice. Plus Christopher Eccleston attempting a bizarre accent that you assume is authentically whatever it’s supposed to be, but makes him sound like a comedy geek rather than a driven priest.
It’s all as annoyingly addictive as it is frustratingly pretentious. Just pray it gets cancelled before Lindelof writes the final episode…
Extras Commentaries on the pilot and the finale with creators Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta; a conversation between the pair ( 15 minutes); a Making Of ( 29 minutes); a featurette on ciggy- loving cult The Guilty Remnant ( eight minutes); a short preview of season two. Dave Golder
The first season adapts all of Tom Perrotta’s original novel, and there was no sequel, meaning season two will be all- new storylines.
It was the only way to make her watch Lost again.