Rolling Stone

17 The Leftovers

HBO 2014-17


This meditation on grief, depression, and the search for meaning in a meaningles­s world — in this case, a world where two percent of the population all vanished abruptly and at random, like an off-brand Rapture — is at times among the bleakest things ever put on TV. But in so many others, The Leftovers — adapted by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta from Perrotta’s novel of the same name — is as audacious, ridiculous, and even startlingl­y joyful as anything the medium has seen. It boasts incredible performanc­es from its whole cast, including Justin Theroux as a suicidal police chief, Amy Brenneman as a woman who responds to the apocalypse by joining a doomsday cult, and — in an inner-circle TV Hall of Fame dramatic performanc­e — Carrie Coon as a woman rebuilding her life after her entire family disappears while her back is turned. If we can’t laugh in the face of death — including one episode where God is devoured by a lion while disembarki­ng from an orgy boat — what’s the point of any of this?


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