The Leftovers Series Premiere Review: Ours Is Not to Question Why

The Leftovers S01E01: "Pilot"

You probably are expecting this as the soundtrack for this review:


But I will offer you this song, heard during the clash with the Guilty Remnant, as an alternative, which I like a lot better but it's weird:


You may have been tempted into The Leftovers' clutches by the show's central hook: two percent of the world's population, including Jennifer Lopez (yay!) and Gary Busey (no!), mysteriously disappeared. As the pilot notes, two percent might not seem like a lot, but it's one out of 50 people for a global cume of 140 million instantly erased. The answer on our minds naturally is, "WHYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?" 

But for the characters of The Leftovers, which takes place three years after the big disappearance, the question of "Why?" has been replaced with "What do we do now?" In the New York suburb of Mapleton, life has moved on, there's field hockey practice to be had, teen choking (?) to do, and parades are organized mostly out of a sense of doing what seems to be right rather than honest reverence. "They're heroes because no one's going to come to a parade on 'We Don't Know What the Fuck Happened Day'," the mayor of Mapleton—who is awesome, btw—barks when someone challenges the notion that the disappeared shouldn't be referred to as heroes. For The Leftovers, this portrayal of a damaged society on the brink of an epidemic of Nihilism is the core of the show, not figuring out what supernatural force made grandma wink out of existence.

And that might be the biggest frustration for someone who casually strolls into the first episode of The Leftovers looking for answers like this is Lost's follow-up. Yes, Damon Lindelof is the man behind The Leftovers (along with author Tom Perrotta, who wrote the book it's based on), but even though the show is built on a mysterious and likely supernatural phenomenon, Lindelof doesn't appear to be digging himself into the same hole—ANSWERS, ANSWERS, ANSWERS—that got him crucified for the (opinion alert!) mostly unsatisfying ending to Lost. The Leftovers' pilot barely touches on how these 140 million vanished, leaving it to TV snippets of a Senate hearing to show the anger over not knowing what happened. And honestly, that's probably best for Lindelof's mental well-being as he clearly suffers from the derision of spurned Lost fans whose questions remain unanswered. He's choosing not to address the big question at all.

Instead, The Leftovers is a brutal examination of loss on multiple levels, from the multitude of microscopic personal experiences to the wider effect on a small town as a whole to the blanket effect on a globe that instantly shed a ton of human weight. As this kind of show, The Leftovers is sometimes fascinating—at times stunning—and almost universally bleak, an atmosphere that will likely turn a lot of people off. It's not the kind of sad show that will make you well up and weep like Rectify, but it might do more damage by slowly chipping away at your soul until you dive face first into an empty swimming pool (hopefully you'll just turn your TV off first). Only Aimee, Jill Garvey's hottie friend, carries the teenager "whatever" attitude while everyone else's shoulders appear to hold a permanent slump from the ripple effects of loss. The good news is that this type of sourness feels confined to the show itself because of the bizarre circumstances, so it becomes #MapletonPeopleProblems. The gloom isn't as pervasive as something more relatable, like Matt Saracen crying in a bathtub in Friday Night Lights

But there's an odd sense of beauty to the show as characters survive while all their flaws and insecurities bubble to the surface and living a normal life is part of the charade everyone participates in. The creepy kid from American Beauty who filmed dancing plastic bags would fucking love this show. 

Replacing the temptation to make The Leftovers one big exercise in answering the question of "What the fuck happened?" are a whole bunch of other smaller "What the fuck is happening?" queries, a necessary addition of energy (or possible scam) to a show that would otherwise be the mopiest hour of television ever. However, they're not necessarily The Leftovers' lifeblood. It's hard to tell whether or not these mysteries are actually integral to the series or if they're more Lindelofian trickery to entice excitement. But as all questions that have just been asked are, they immediately draw attention. 

There's the Guilty Remnant, a collection of weirdos who wear all white, take a vow of silence, and chain smoke on cancer sticks to point out just how dumb it is that we're all breathing in the first place. They're like a cloak of nothingness, a bank of white fog that rolls over the hills to protest Mapleton's collective remembrance. A Westboro Baptist Church that chooses stoic silence over gay slurs as its message. Its message? Umm... that's unclear. 

There's a faith healer who unburdens Buddy Garrity a congressman up at his secret ranch that's populated by a harem of tanning Asian girls in bikinis who suck on Gummi Worms two at a time. And what that faith healer does is... ummm, I'm not sure. 

There are packs of dogs who have gone feral and downright pissy, gang-chomping on majestic bucks. And there's the guy who shoots the dogs, and ultimately gets main character Kevin Garvey to join him. Why are these dogs going bonkers? One teen posits it's because they've snapped and that's what humans are going to do, it's just taking longer. The real reason? Who knows! 

These teasers are enough to help pass along the time during the pilot episode while the real core of the show builds its foundation. What will make The Leftovers work—and there are big neon-lit questions of whether or not there's enough here to sustain a series—are the characters central to the show's sense of being. Specifically, the Garvey family, from which everything else spiderwebs out from (like the broken glass on the Garvey family portrait crafted by heavy hands as a subtle-free metaphor). 

Kevin lost his entire family despite none of them going POOF in a cloud of smoke on October 14 three years ago. His son Tom is working for the wacky faith healer and won't answer his calls, his daughter Jill is being drawn into angsty teen ragers that are no doubt fueled by the fact that there are 2-percent less parents on the Earth, and his wife Laurie inexplicably packed up her whites and joined The Guilty Remnant. It's enough to make Kevin punch inanimate things and have bad dreams about road kill. Or was it a dream? Did a drunk Kevin bring home a dying buck and let it trash his kitchen? Again with these questions! And again, it's probably not the answers that are important, so don't even start. But Justin Theroux does enough to show the anger that wells up as his family breaks apart, and if The Leftovers makes this the core of its show, it will be one fine f'd-up family drama.

Okay, but how were your senses supposed to feel? The Leftovers did a fantastic job setting the mood with Peter Berg's dark direction and particularly with Max Richter's twinkling, piano-tapping score. In fact, after an hour, it's probably the series' strength. It's easy to imagine the pilot episode losing a lot of its potency without the music, which is a bit of a lifesaver for things here. 

The first hour of The Leftovers felt like an epilogue to what's next. Heck, I'm not even sure there was a real story in the pilot or anything to look forward to for the second episode, which is usually the sign of a broken pilot. Yet I'm much more anxious to watch Episode 2 of this than any of the other summer pilots I've seen, because the series—while both intriguing and overwrought—still feels so formless to me and I need to know where this show is going and what it wants to become. The question of why everything happened might not be the show's purpose, but Lindelof is still figuring out ways to add enough mystery to make things interesting. What worries me is that while the big question isn't important, resolutions to these new mysteries are. We'll see if he's got answers this time around. 



LEFTOVER THOUGHTS


– HBO wanted critics' previews of The Leftovers to keep quiet about the relationship between Kevin and Laurie, but was it really that surprising or interesting that they were married? 

– The most surprising acting performance of the episode so far? Chris Zylka, formerly of The Secret Circle, who really was good. 

– So this probably wasn't the Rapture, as there was no order to the people taken away. 

– I'm looking forward to spending more time with Christopher Eccleston's wacky preacher character, because we don't know much about him at all yet. Heck, we don't know much about anything yet. 

– What kind of stupid teen party was that? What happened to playing Mario Kart with friends instead of branding yourself with a hot fork or jerking off while getting choked? Was I just not one of the cool kids? 

– What do you think is up with Kevin? Who leaves a dead dog in his trunk and then lets his kid borrow the car? 

– Lindelof likes to use the F-word a lot, doesn't he?

– Lindelof goes to flashbacks again, only here they're jarring and annoying. A flashback shouldn't scare the crap out of you because it pops up with no warning and an irritating sound. I hated them. 

Comments (117)
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Jul 09, 2014
Lots of people still hung up on the whole Lost thing, huh? {shrug}

"The Leftovers is a brutal examination of loss on multiple levels, from the multitude of microscopic personal experiences to the wider effect on a small town as a whole to the blanket effect on a globe that instantly shed a ton of human weight. As this kind of show, The Leftovers is sometimes fascinating—at times stunning—and almost universally bleak, an atmosphere that will likely turn a lot of people off."

That's this show in a nutshell. Take it or leave it. Me, I'm taking it...ALL of it.

Knowing nothing going into the pilot, I was open for anything. Even if I had, I wouldn't have recognized Damon Lindelof's name, though, since I'm not a hating fanboy of how that series ended, it wouldn't have mattered. But I'm glad I had no expectations...cause, WOW!

I don't know why people disappeared and frankly I couldn't care less. If the hint that there could be more people vanishing comes to pass, I won't much care about the why there either. For me, it's not about the why. This is a dark show about some VERY broken characters. Perfect!

Chief Garvey, his son, daughter and wife are all kinds of messed up. As is Liv Tyler, the Mayor, everybody in that cult and the majority of the high school student body. I know WHAT happened (initially) to break them, but I'm FAR more interested in why they are the way they are and how they got there.

I don't need every last detail explained to me. I'm quite happy to accept that the reason for the disappearances is and shall remain unknown. It's that unknown that damaged these characters, so answering that question immediately gives them closure. Closure prompts healing. Healing makes for less broken people. Since their issues are what drives the show for me, I'm all for renaming it "We Don't Know What the Fuck Happened Day" and leaving it at that.
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Jul 09, 2014
I liked it...
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Jul 09, 2014
Watched the Pilot, fought narcolepsy throughout. Tuned in for Ep.2 on DVR and wound up FF'ing through most of it. Doesn't pass the sniff test, Quite honestly this show sucks. Unless they're planning it as a short run series it's got no legs in my view. Of course planned or not I suspect it'll have a short run..LOL..Shame on me for thinking Lindelhof wasn't really that bad...
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Jul 08, 2014
I don't get what happened, I don't get who's who and where it's all going, I don't get anything in this 70mn+ (??!!) episode. I don't even know if I liked it...
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Jul 07, 2014
I watched three quarters of this pilot, then fell asleep. I found it bleak, gratuitously depressing, terribly slow paced and honestly no characters made enough of an impression for me to care about their fate in subsequent episodes. Y'all let me know if it gets better. After all I had initially dismissed "The 100" as the new "Terra Nova" after the pilot - now I'm so glad I gave it another chance and suffered through the first couple of episodes. But boy this pilot was all kind of shades of boring.
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Jul 07, 2014
Finally watched the pilot and god, does this show hide behind it's score and it's bleak direction. If a television show was just a series of images set to music then this would be the best show ever, but sadly there needs to be more there. I hope that this can coalesce into something more compelling, but I really don't have much faith with Lindelof at the helm.
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Jul 06, 2014
Admittedly, "Gary Busey, but that's just crazy!" or whatever the line was in the bar, was great. The other dialog wasn't too hot, but considering this is abstract and existential (or just artsy-fartsy as the vote suggests?), that's not surprising. HBO usually doesn't piss away money on just anything, do they, so there's always some kind of street cred in that. Another poster mentioning Fast Forward, The Event and Under the Dome (and Revolution which I loved, then hated) but this is some degrees more wacked than any of them.
By the way, where do we get that app with "f*ck, choke, and hug?" - it's probably literally available in the app store. Tim's spot on with the impression that this is like "Ok, you thought the end of Lost was ambiguous, suck on this show for a minute!"
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Jul 05, 2014
I love character dramas so this is right up my alley. Very strange yet intriguing, and I'll definitely take this over the same old summer shows any day. However, my dad thought it was too depressing, but I convinced him to at least try the next episode.
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Jul 05, 2014
Gary Busey! Funnee.
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Jul 05, 2014
I originally had almost zero interest in this show, but I promised myself I'd be a good sport & give it a shot for one episode.

The cool thing about having low expectations is that sometimes I can be highly impressed.

The show isn't what I expected it to be & that's a good thing.

What I expected was some jesus-freak, rapture based apocalyptia with a whopping 98% of the world still around...What I got instead was a slice of apocalypse on an individually personal level

There were multiple moments that made me cock my head to the side like a confused dog & say "what the fuck" but past that, I think I get what the show wants to be. I don't really give 2 shits about why a tiny handful of the world went poof, but I do give a shit about what happens to the characters next.

I'm in for the rest of the run
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Jul 04, 2014
Erm... found it boring. Will watch only because of Christopher Eccleston, luckily he is only in 3 eps if I understood correctly... but which ones??? LOL

I'd rather re-watch The Second Coming or Les revenants.
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Jul 03, 2014
They will never, ever, ever answer the question of "what happened when they disappeared and why." They don't answer it in the book and they won't answer it in the show. The difference between that and Lost, is Lost answered the BIG mysteries: "Why are these people on the island?" That was the big mystery and it was answered. This show's big mystery will never be answered.
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Jul 03, 2014
Its hard to feel bad for Garvey family since they haven't lost anyone but still managed to drift apart. Wake the F up and look around you and be thankful you have each other!!
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Jul 03, 2014
To those interested the hauntingly beautiful music played through out was by Max Richter and the main piece was "Vladimir's Blues" check out his other compositions particularly from his album Memoryhouse. Really good soundtrack music.
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Jul 03, 2014
My concern is that the premise is too contrived to be sustainable... sure, liked the cinematography and the acting (mostly) but the artifice is too heavily overstated... like a TV bucket of cold water for your enjoyment... maybe once with a quick nip of Finish vodka... but also maybe I don't wanna get cold-wet every week ;-)
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Jul 03, 2014
so..i was about to write that this show reminds me of the american beauty..and especially the scene with the psycho...and then i read your review and boom.... damn that was kinda creepy!!!!! :P so yeah..i liked the american beauty movie and i like this seriez...gr8 cast g8 music...i don't know..i loved it!!
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Jul 02, 2014
I think I might really like this. I feared it would turn something like FlashForward, The Event, Revolution, or Under the Dome, but it had a complete other feeling to it. The focus on the characters' dispair almost had me thinking of a magnified Six Feet Under (Season 1 in particular), and, yeah, it had some Lost touch to it (i still hold Lost as ome of the most extraordinary series to have been produced - from start to end) in how it told the events using the reactions, emotions and mental states of the characters rather than the hit-and-run method used by most genre shows. Yes, it was depressing and dirty (although I had hoped it to be even more so) and I get that it's not everyone's cup of tea. But for me, it really worked. And I'm not that eager to find out THE TRUTH, but rather watch the characters fight for their hope. Preferably while reading classics like Camus :)
That said... I still fear it will turn into another stupidity-fest, like FlashForward et al. Thinking of it, I kinda seem to recall feeling optimistic after the FF pilot too...
Actingwise I was also impressed, with the main exception (yeah I'm surprised to) being Liv Tyler. Margaret Qualley surprised me the most, while Theroux, Eccleston, Dowd, Zylka, and the Carver twins also did great.
Anyhow - there was just enough vibes of Lost and Six Feet Under to keep me interested, and the pilot had a really nice cinematic feeling to it (almost making me think of the The Killing pilot, which I hold as one of the most beautifully shot pilots I've seen). It overplayed the music a bit too much for my taste, but that could be passing.
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Jul 02, 2014
With this kind of pilot I really don't need a 4 episodes test to know that I don't want to keep watching this.
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Jul 02, 2014
I'm one of the few people not pissed off about Lost. The ending wasn't great, but the show was... so I'm more than willing to go along for the ride on this show. I enjoyed the pilot, even if I did feel like I was a bit lost during most of it. Can't wait to see how it all plays out.
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Jul 02, 2014
Yes you have to read the book, or just sit back and watch the creepy ride. Most of what I read on this thread and the speculations of the plot and storyline are way off. This is about one small town after the most crazy unexplained event ever happened. This is not a tornado, earthquake or a plague but it is more like the missing Malaysia Airline plane X 1.000.000. How do we morn the loss when we can not bury them?
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Jul 02, 2014
Gripping, to say the least. I wanna know what happened so bad that I wouldn't mind getting frozen and then defrosted when this whole thing is available on Bluray
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Jul 02, 2014
I liked the pilot, will stick with it and see. A couple of takeaways I get: a) Given a catastrophic event, time and time again, humankind goes bonkers, and, b) after a catastrophic event, being a mangy black dog has some serious downsides.
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Jul 02, 2014
and c) if I'm ever caught in a post-catastrophic event world, I'll probably start smoking again :-)
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Jul 02, 2014
One of the most intriguing pilots that I've seen in a while. I have no idea where this show is going, but I'm interested so far!

I do have a certain amount of skepticism over whether Damon Lindelof can keep things going, though. Like many, I was burned by Lost, and I haven't been particularly impressed by anything he's produced since.

I have no problem with questions being asked that may have no answer (such as the reason behind the disappearance of 2% of the world's population). In fact, asking questions that have no answer is often the mark of great art.

The problem with Lost was that it posed many questions, quandaries, and mysteries that it promised to have the answers to, and ultimately did not. Let's hope that there isn't a repeat of that kind of chicanery with this show.
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Jul 02, 2014
I don't know about you, but those dogs that aren't our dogs anymore scared the heck out of me!
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Jul 01, 2014
I have no clue what the hell I just watched, all I know is that I loved it and it made me cry so, so much. I don't really care about why the people left three years ago (well, of course I want to know, but I want to know so much more about the weird silent Westboro Baptist ripoffs and the preacher guy and Justin Theroux's deer problems that I don't really mind not knowing what supernatural mystery is behind the disappearances).

You're quite right Kaitlin, Chris Zylka was a very nice surprise when it comes to acting. I also loved to see the Desperate Housewives twins in another setting (haven't seen Teen Wolf yet, shame on me).

The music did a whole lot of greatness for the pilot. Max Richter is a sheer genius. The music kind of reminded me of Amelie and Intouchables, the piano score in those films is quite haunting, too.

I have no idea where this series is going, but I cannot wait to see more.
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Jul 01, 2014
This is some effing good television. I love how they truly captured the lost and depressed feeling. Great acting and great writing.
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Jul 01, 2014
Ok, so I'm hooked to the series despite being completely clueless through most of the episode! I just hope it keeps things interesting as we progress through the season. (Is it just me, or did I half expect the people to come back in the episode?!? Maybe I've seen Les Revenants too recently..)

Can anyone please let me know if the score from the first episode is available anywhere online? you know that music in the background that plays during various scenes in the episode... I LOVED it and now I want to listen to it on a loop. I understand that it actually may not be available, but anything similar to it, and I'm down for it. (I'm not talking about the songs but the musical score which played during the episode. For example, it plays during the scene when Jill and the guys are putting the dog into the grave they just dug, and it also plays when Kevin says "Hey! We're still here..." and then spots the guy at the bar and runs out after him as he drives away). {Yes, I've replayed these scenes just to listen to that small piece, but I can't help it... its kind a soothing and addictive!}
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Jul 03, 2014
The music was Vladimir's Blues by Max Richter.
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Jul 03, 2014
Thank you for that. Wasn't the one I was looking, but loved this one too, so thanks!

This is the one that I'm talking about: https://soundcloud.com/msalmank/the-leftovers-score-from/s-JFjQn

(Sorry for the crappy recording, couldn't record it properly)
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Jul 04, 2014
I listened to it a few times and it sounds like the track from Max Richter's album Memoryhouse, the track is The Twins (Prague). Hope this is the one, You can find it on youtube.
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Jul 04, 2014
Not the same, but close one. I guess they edited the track or recomposed it for the series... Thanks!
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Jul 03, 2014
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Jul 01, 2014
p.s. During the clash with the Guilty Remnant, as I saw Kevin pull up Laurie, I went back to the scene where Kevin cracked the picture on the stairs and made the connection that Laurie's his wife. (I know the cracked picture wasn't that clear, but i kinda made the connection at that time)
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Jul 02, 2014
I guess that's why he was do adamant to protect the people from "them", he was one of the people trying to protect himself from his wife.
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Jul 01, 2014
So Jennifer Lopez dissapeared 3 years ago. This is a good reason to keep watching
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Jul 01, 2014
LoL ...and it's a clue that they didn't go to Heaven!!!
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Jul 02, 2014
Not if the animals are any clue...
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Jul 01, 2014
That's another series like The Dome and FlashForward where we'll never find answers but they'll just drag us around with a few WTF moments, maybe, to keep those who will continue to watch interested. The pilot made Falling Skies look like a masterpiece.

With Damon Lindelof at the bar, I can pretty much predict the end (if it ever gets there):
There are weirdos dressed in white and there will be weirdos dressed in black later, and we'll never know who they really are. There is also the "mysterious" cigarette smoke which could also be an entity of which we'll know nothing about. That is because they are ALL dead and the 2% are the survivors of a Worldwide cataclysm.

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Jul 09, 2014
No actually the 98% are all living in this town and all carry on with a full life, they'll rendevous at Church and meet up with the 2% that actually lived on a different plane of existence....Someone will certainly win the Lotto on this show playing 4,8,15,16,23 and 42...LOL
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Jul 06, 2014
Nicely played! Still, it's summer and anything normally watchable is on break.
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Jul 01, 2014

most people would have made up a story ...heaven ..hell.. Aliens or government conspiracy and a year afterwards no one would give a crap!..business as usual. After all, worst things happen every day....show is silly .. just for quasi-intellectual filled with rage...Another Lindelof story based on characters without any real mythology or story.....sad
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Jul 02, 2014
Amazing how you can come to that conclusion after one whole episode, while also ignoring that it is based on a book and the author of said book is part of the production...
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Jul 02, 2014
I'm thinking humanity can cope when there's an answer; people can be resilient to war, 9/11 or plagues because there's an answer for what they must endure. Remove the answer and it's hard to be resiliant to something there's no control over.

This was like a tornado, tsunami or earthquake only there's no explanation for it and there's no way to predict when/if it will happen again.
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Jul 02, 2014
Yeah, 140 million people gone is a lot...though I kinda think the world would get over it. That sounds horrible I know, but I feel like humanity is far more resilient than what this show is trying to portray. Recent societies have lived through global pandemics, world wars, and brutal acts of terrorism and yet we as a people have not only bounced back but thrived afterwards. Having this one event (albeit a devastating one) cause this overwhelming sadness that seems to be permeating all of society still after 3 years. It just feels unlikely to me. I'm sure the mystery of an event like this would haunt us, but none of our existences are ever guaranteed. We don't like to dwell on death, but everyone knows that today could be your last day alive. I just think we'd come back from losing 140 million people stronger than before, much like humanity has done in the past.
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Jul 02, 2014
It's not why they disappeared, but that it could happen again. These people have no control over the situation and no one: government, scientists, priests have any clue.
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Jul 06, 2014
Cue the 4400 theme, which by the way was a decent show.
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Jul 06, 2014
I'm thinking more of the early seasons of The Walking Dead, back when the characters're still thought their random survival was based on the idea of "being good people".

...a notion that pretty much died with Otis and Sophia.
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Jul 01, 2014
I did like it! :)
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Jul 01, 2014
Storyline created by some random generator.. it tried to be a lot of things without really succeeding in any of them.. big fail if you ask me
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Jul 01, 2014
Chris Zylka, 'nuff said I'm in TSC not gonna forget
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Jul 01, 2014
I'm not going to totally say this was a crap pilot, because it wasn't THAT bad. but they did a piss poor job of actually setting anything up, just throwing a bunch of weird things happening in a pot and draw one of out a hat and that's pretty much how it seems to have been constructed. it's obvious we won't know why they disappeared in the pilot, and maybe we never will... but you can't just give us a bunch of crap and not give us anything to try and make sense of what's happening. doesn't have to be answers, but hell, some actual information would be damn fine right about now!
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Jul 01, 2014
Still on the bubble, have to see a few more!
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Jul 01, 2014
Ok so we didn't get any answers as to what the big mystery is but I'm still intrigued by the white clothed cult, the Wayne(?) guy and the crazy animals. So it's definitely enough to keep me wanting more.

I enjoy the character examination and the other mysteries, but I'll be disappointed if we don't figure out the big disappearance mystery. Maybe it ties into the compound/Wayne story.

I suck at reviews, but anyway I was hooked and I'll keep watching it.
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Jul 01, 2014
So we are going to just ignore that fact that this a very weak (very very weak) clone of the 4400?!! How do you do a review and not bring it up. That shows pilot was great and the seasons went on pretty well. This show is trash. I really shocked it's an hbo show....the dialogue is slow and b movie ish
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Jul 05, 2014
Of course we're going to ignore it. (well, except me, obviously) because It simply has no basis in "fact" since the two shows are completely dissimilar to one another.
Thinking this a clone in any way to the 4400 simply because they both have unexplainable dissapparences at the beginning of the 1st episode is like saying coffee is a weak clone of tea because they both have water in it, or that a car is a clone of a bicycle simply because they both vehicles have wheels.

I'd hazzard a guess that in order to stretch your imagination enough to lump these two shows together, you either didn't actually watch the show, or you weren't actually paying attention to it while it was on your TV.

Now, a legitimate example of a weak clone of the 4400 would be Heroes.
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Jul 01, 2014
I watched the first 4 episodes of the 4400 and quit. Did that show get any better? I didn't even make any connection with the two shows. It didn't feel that similar besides the disappearance, but the 4400 people came back instantly. But like I said I stopped watching early on.

Resurrection on ABC reminded me more of The 4400 than The Leftovers did.
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Jul 06, 2014
I think the 4400 got good, but failed in the final season because Billy Campbell decided to sail around the world (more power to him!). It certainly got better during the first season. I may be able to watch The Leftovers for an episode or two and hope for the best.
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Jul 01, 2014
I knew pretty much next to nothing about this show, beyond the premise revealed in the trailers, so when the Remnant were going over the pictures of the people they were following and came across the one of Liv Tyler, I was like "Damn, that looks like Liv Tyler..." Lo and behold, it really fucking was Liv Tyler. No clue she was in this show. Made me feel like kind of a dumbass. And I feel like that sums up viewing the pilot, in a real roundabout way. Not that it was bad per se! I'm intrigued enough to come back next week to see just what the fudge is going on. But I feel like when it's all said and done, that lingering feeling of dumbassery will come back with a vengeance.

I get that this show is supposed to be a character examination, that Lindelof is aiming for the whole "the answers are incidental to the story of what happens to people when the inexplicable happens on a global scale", but if he's gonna spend the season doing only that and pulls another Lost, leaving the viewers -the ones who haven't read the book- yearning at the end for just an inkling of what happened to 140 million people, what's the point? You can only take an audience so far on character introspection and the posing of deep philosophical ponderings, without alienating them due to lack of understanding of the big picture, under the delusion that people are going to enjoy a mystery that never gets solved. It doesn't even have to be telegraphed with easy to read pictures on a white board, explaining the tip-to-tip efficiency in a way a third grader could understand! It just has to leave people feeling like they didn't get gypped!

In all fairness though, it's only the pilot and I'm assuming there are 9-12 more episodes left, all of which could help bring the audience in further to connecting with the premise, beyond "Look! This tortured teen had a catharsis, lending to growth of character and a feeling of connection in a disconnected world that is devoid of any answers!" After six years dedicated to Lost leading to pretty much nothing, I'd like to see this be a show that is a great character study, a pleasant existential experience every week, with a good mystery that keeps viewers coming back, to get that satisfying answer to their questions.

Here's hoping I don't end up feeling like a dumbass again...
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Jul 06, 2014
I think the number is 10 episodes total?
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Jul 01, 2014
This is really bugging me, so please hear me out. It happened on Oct 14..we aren't given the year, so we are left to figure out what day of the week this happened on. As a HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy fan..I was curious. So here are the misleading clues..or bad writing. The daughter was at school and went to a party that night..Friday, lets say it is..that logically leads to the next day for the parade as a Saturday. Great! Three years earlier makes the "Rapture" happen on a Wednesday. Interesting. Oh but wait...the lady who got up to make a speech about her vanished family claims that the year before they were gone and all sick, it was a Saturday at the beach, which makes the next year a Sunday. So, huh? Bad writing or misleading clues. I think with dates involved they need to be more careful.
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Jul 01, 2014
She didn't say it happened on a Saturday at the beach; she said she and her family had a happy Saturday at the beach a few weeks before October 14.
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Jul 01, 2014
Have you considered there's no school on Oct 14th in the show's reality because of what happened? Therefore you could have school the day before and a party that night and it wouldn't mean the parade took place on a Saturday. It's only logical it became a holiday in every god damn country. You can suppose nobody was at work either because most if not all the town seemed to be there which wouldn't be the case on a regular Saturday.
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Jul 01, 2014
I want this show to be good. I really do. I was disappointed. All the dialogue was exposition. People don't talk to each other like that just in case theres a third party watching who needs to be informed of what transpired. I hope they quit with all this on the nose dialogue. Between that and the woman who opens the episode's "acting" and "crying"...I'm frightened. I hope Damon Lindelhof wins. I really do. I loved Lost until they revealed they had no plan, which hurt me in the end. But I still enjoyed the ride and the moments. I haven't had a moment with this one yet, one episode in, I know Im demanding. But its because I expect more from Damon because he is fucking capable. I hope they pull it together because this can be the redemption for Lindelhof. Peter Berg :/
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Jul 01, 2014
Has hunting changed? Is it now cool to walk in front of the other guy with a gun? When another dude with a gun is in front of you is it okay to fire your gun? Is this the liberty that Dick Cheney has given us? Awesome.

Also, it took me until just now to watch that last ten minutes because the first 60 bored me so severely I had to recharge.
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Jun 30, 2014
I don't quite understand why Damon Lindelhof gets to keep making shows. "Once Upon a Time" is bad, "Lost" is bad, and "Star Trek: Into Darkness" was also bad. I'm trying to figure out what he did that was good...
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Jul 02, 2014
"The world must revolve around my opinion of things! How dare it not!"
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Jul 02, 2014
Once Upon a Time its from the dudes that ruined Charlie & Claire, Lindelof had nothing to do with it.

In fact, I think he was working on Prometheus or World War Z when it happened.
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Jul 01, 2014
Good is irrelevant. All of those things were popular.
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Jul 02, 2014
Star Trek: Into the Darkness - also written by Lindelof (and Kurtzmn and Orci) - was popular, Lost was like Cowboys & Aliens: the kind of things a writer only writes because it's fun for him/her.
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Jul 02, 2014
and yet insanely popular. A cultural phenomenon. The show that made water cooler television a thing again. The 9th most popular television show of all time on imdb (its slipped, two years ago it was in the top spot).
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Jul 02, 2014
Heroes was made to be popular, Once Upon a Time was made to be popular, Vampire Diaries reeks of desperation to be popular...

Lost was a fluke: something Cuse & Lindelof loved that just so happened audiences connected with.
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Jul 01, 2014
True.
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Jun 30, 2014
This is really a weird show and the premiere was long and boring. Are people saying it is good because this guy created LOST and the show is on HBO?

I am still wondering WTF Liv Taylor is doing here. She got a good movie career and she is not even the lead here.

It will watch a few more episodes before I give my final verdict.

I suspect ratings will drop very fast if the rest of the episodes are like this one.
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Jul 02, 2014
I'm saying the episode was good because they dogs really were off all along.

Who knows what else is off...
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Jun 30, 2014
Ok this was the weirdest hour of tv I've seen in last few months. And I want to find out what the F... is going on here.

I suspect Mrs, Garvey was preggers and the baby vanished from her tummy or something. Why else would she join the Nut House?
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Jul 02, 2014
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Jul 01, 2014
Hmm good debate on whether or not it was a life depending on how many weeks she was..probably don't want to go there.
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Jun 30, 2014
That would be terrible but good theory!
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Jun 30, 2014
Now I don't want to come right out and say that it was a pretentious piece of crap, but.....

I don't even really know where to begin. But we can start here and work from the top down.

First, this

"So this probably wasn't the Rapture, as there was no order to the people taken away."

First, don't mistake that there was no order just because Lindelof and his partner can't handle the science. As anyone that has ever taken a statistics course can tell you. Random isn't random. There is an order, they are just too lazy to write it and prefer to wright crap like the Congress and the government contacted religious leaders before they contacted scientists. Now granted that my home country is as about as superstitious as they come and elect people that would certainly do this, but for crying out loud that is pretty piss poor. And if this town is a microcosm for the rest of the nation then wow the writers of this and Dominion don't have a lot of trust in how we as a nation would respond to something like this. Not that I am disagreeing with them, I mean we saw what happened after 9/11. I mean seriously, 2 measly percent of the population and the world loses it's collective shit. I mean serious, 2% of people gone and all of a sudden prayer in school is ok. People driving around without license plates, etc etc etc.

Second, 2% is nothing in relation to the 7+ billion people on this planet. It is nothing. The 1918 flu wiped out 3 to 6%. And they carried on and didn't whine about it. Hell you could take the whole 140,000,000 out of the population of China or India and it wouldn't have that much of an effect. I learned a lot from my grandfather, one of the last conversations that we had before he passed was that we as a specie are becoming soft whiners that can't deal with anything really without a pill to help them out. And this town kind of exemplifies that. Now granted the Psychologist in me would want to help these people grieve, the capitalist in me would want to get paid a very good amount for helping them grieve. But me, non professionally would tell them to put on their big boy pants and suck it up. The world doesn't stop because people lost loved ones. It happens everyday to millions of people, get over yourselves.

Now the top down.

The Mayor is a freaking moron. The Chief told her to expect the cult. She didn't think it was necessary to listen to him, so all that were injured is on her because she is stupid. Second, who in the hell, who wants people to get over this and move on brings up the most tragic tale of the town in order to do so? What genius comes up with that? And speaking of that woman, how in the hell has she not been interviewed by the lack of scientists in the show, or even the police. Her losing 3 members of her family is so statistically improbable that honestly I would have to question if she truly lost them all in the event. Because she has a better chance of winning the lottery while simultaneously being struck by lightening. How this hasn't occurred is likely because the town and the nation is run by morons.

The Chief, ah the Chief. Is he just a drunk or does he have an undiagnosed sleeping disorder? Because when he asked the man with the rifle if he was sleeping that is a sign of something potentially hazardous. And frankly not someone that I would trust with the safety of the town. But out of all of them he is the most relatable. He didn't lose his family in the event, he lost his family because they were kind of selfish assholes. It happens a lot. I get that he is pissed, but letting his daughter walk all over him and showing up in a drunken stupor at the cult for his wife isn't going to win him any favors. But hey, at least he was right about the cult showing up to the event.

Speaking of the cult, this is the most sloppily written aspect of the show. First, the most obvious, the "vow of silence" isn't a vow of silence. A vow of silence is a tremendously personal thing, it isn't just not talking, it is not communicating save for essential conversation and most of those are done with signals. Them writing everything down is stupid, they should just talk if they are going to carry on conversations and it means that the "vow of silence" isn't religious at all, it is them just being pompous assholes. I get the smoking, they wanted the cult to be repellent and smoking is a rather repellent hobby. That makes sense, they are disgusting assholes, got it. But how are they still functioning. Liv Tyler's character isn't the only one that they are stalking. Stalking in the manner in which they are doing it is a class B misdemeanor in NY. You arrest them for that once, the judge slaps them on the wrist and then when they do it again, it is I believe a felony and then you lock them up and they can take their pompous silence and see how that works for them in prison. Especially because it is a concerted effort in that they had dossiers on people. You could get them all even the ones that didn't do the stalking. Done and done. This probably could happen if A. The chief wasn't a drunk. B. The mayor isn't a moron and C. The drunk Chief's wife wasn't a member of the cult. Also, that can't be the first time someone hit one of them. How has the police not been involved previously.

The son and the mother should get together and compare their respective cults to see which one comes ahead. I am not sure who wins, because we have yet to see the smoking cult's leader and I doubt that Patty is it. But the son is kind of a dumbass. Did he really not think that in a community that is so enclosed that no one would notice that he was doing favors for and flirting with their leaders precious asian girls. Also, no phones means no phones. No phones for the congressman and no phones for him. He should be in more trouble for busting their OPSEC than anything.

The daughter is all right. However, the writing of those around her was feeble. Using the phrase "mother went away" is more indicative of the mother getting lost in the event rather than her just joining the cult. With abandonment people use phrases and terms differently then death or potential death in this case. They used abandoned, they use left, they don't really use "went away". Same with the friend. BS. But the daughter at this point is the only interesting one. But her nihilism is a bit slathered on. And again is more akin to her being the victim of the event rather than her mother just being unbelievably selfish and foolish and joining a BS cult. But again she is the best character thus far so she is forgiven.

The rest is just kind of wallpaper at the moment. Not that the main characters are that dimensional right now. But it is the pilot and they were introducing a lot of the "plot". But this is so unbelievably pretentious. The thing with the deer and the dogs and it being analogous to the people of the town and the cult was a bit much. I have only seen a few episodes of Lost, was Lost this pretentious? I mean I get the bad at science aspect of the story, I saw Prometheus, Lindelof is bad at writing science, scientists and basically that whole craptastic movie. But this just seems overly intentional and time consuming. I don't think there is going to be a likable character in the bunch. Certainly no redeemable ones. So who exactly are we to root for. Or is this just a window to people reacting poorly to an event that they can't describe, or well are more forced to not describe. If this is the way an average American town deals with this, then I am kind of glad that I am currently living in the UK.
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Jul 01, 2014
agree with some of what you said, but your reasoning in the second paragraph is completely flawed. When it comes to the 1918 flu or the plague I can get on board with the "get over mentality" and even agree that it is a necessary occurrence for the sake of global population, but we are dealing with something completely different in this show. When 2 percent of the world's populations literally vanishes into thin air without any scientific explanation whatsoever, I think bat-shit crazy bananas is the appropriate reaction.
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Jul 01, 2014
Haha. "Now I don't want to come right out and say that it was a pretentious piece of crap, but....." -Then proceeds to write one of the most pretentious replies I have ever seen. Good stuff.
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Jul 01, 2014
Perhaps, but I really don't attempt to impress anyone. Lindelof clearly does.
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Jul 01, 2014
True, can't argue with that one.
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Jul 01, 2014
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Jun 30, 2014
Yup, no need to bring up Lost and demand answers where there shouldn't be any. The Leftovers is based on a book, so before attributing all the potential unanswered themes to Lindelof, it would be wise to read the book first. So far, I didn't see much of Lindelof's own plot changes in the pilot, and don't expect to see more as the show progresses.
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Jun 30, 2014
Great episode and stop comparing it to Lost. We don't care!
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Jun 30, 2014
Stop comparing to Lost. Why does everyone obsess with getting the "answers"? It is a character-driven show. Lost was a character driven show too. When you just focus on the "mysteries", you miss everything else, like the great story and character development. It is what it is. Stahp it.
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Jul 02, 2014
the answer to you question might be "Because we live in a world where Michael Bay movies keep cashing in". Questions scares people, answers make them comfortable. Not having to think makes people feel safe, while the idea that sometimes the greatness is to be found in the questions asked or the possibilities they raise, rather than in the answer wanted.
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Jul 01, 2014
I agree with this so much!
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Jun 30, 2014
Agreed. I found myself wondering how the characters that were left behind got where there were and how they are dealing rather than where the "heroes" went.
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Jun 30, 2014
I am stil wondering as many times in that hour...WTF i am watching and mostly WTF is happening?

First Kevin, beside he is damn handsome, he really show the anger and annoyence and ignorance of the people around him. He is keeping his head up barely, but trying...
I like Jill from the first moment i saw her. I think she is the most stable one on the show at the moment. The way she handled the dog and the whole teenage choke thingy...that game looked really like fun and nasty....
Laurie, i don't know..i think if Kevin would go there daily and did the same thing, begging, asking that she would finally crack and go home...i think at some point she will...
Tom, looks taugh, but is a scary cat...loved the whole naked, screaming in the pool thing...nobody sees you, or hear you...nice way to get rid of some nasty emotions..
Loved loved loved the Mayor...she is one tough cookie...me like..
Liv Tyler...so gorgeous...but sad that is she going to join the creepy ones...

I am for sure giving it the four episode thing i do, with all new series...but for now...it looks good!!
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Jun 30, 2014
Pure awesomeness on so many levels I'll forget most of what I want to say after the first point. What was the first point...

How awesome? no explanation, and I hope there won't be -- I mean, seriously, people, you're STILL comparing LOST to shows of the more ephemeral nature, and the reason is solely because it did not give you a solid answer. That is success! Another awesome point is the whole cult idea, the irony of 'wasting your breath' while they chain smoke and don't speak, and sweet lord imagine the magnitude of your partner disappearing exaggerated by it happening during sex! That's not a low-brow comment or toilet humor, it's worse than the heart attack while on top kind of thing.

The potential for this show is endless, with the dogs, the deer, iPhone spin the bottle, and all the other crazy stuff on top of the whole original concept. Well done! and only the pilot!!
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