For HBO, expanding on the elliptical, bare-bones teasers released thus far for their upcoming series, The Leftovers, doesn't present much of a challenge; neither of the initial clips for the show go very far in-depth as regards story or plot, only hinting at what may unfold once Damon Lindelof's newest televised enterprise airs this summer. Yet The Leftovers' first full trailer, seen here, goes above and beyond its seemingly meager task of establishing tone and theme, giving an immense sense of scope to the proceedings.
We already know the basic gist of what's going on here, thanks to The Leftovers' adaptive roots. Lindelof has found the basis for his project in author Tom Perrotta's 2011 novel of the same name, an eerie, lurid tome that examines what happens when a small percentage of the world's population simply pops out of existence in the blink of an eye. "A small percentage", of course, translates to millions in total, with millions more left behind to sally forth and continue slogging through life while trying to make odds or ends of the mass disappearance.
The hook here is that everyone reacts to the event differently. Some people, like leading man Justin Theroux's melancholy, struggling police chief, attempt to get things back to normal, even though normalcy has irrevocably passed them by; some of them take to a life of hedonism, partying like there's no tomorrow and taking full pleasure in all experiences available to them.
But others fail to cope, spurned at the idea that they've been excluded from what is believed to be the Rapture, while others still band together to form a cult known as the Guilty Remnant. Mute by choice thanks to a vow of silence, members of the Guilty Remnant dress in white, smoke cigarettes religiously, and spend their days stalking nonmembers in hopes of recruiting fresh blood - the more the merrier for waiting out the end of the world.
The trailer captures all of this quite effectively, suggesting that the world Lindelof has constructed is just a powder keg of frayed emotions waiting to erupt. Nobody, it seems, cares much for the Guilty Remnant, and given the latter group's creepy outward behavior and penchant for harassment, it's easy to understand why. Seeing the tension escalate between not just the show's divided social factions, but between individuals, should be a highlight considering its talented cast.
The Leftovers has a full series order, so we'll get to see all of that conflict play out in full - assuming Lindelof can successfully dramatize it. From the looks of things, though, he has something interesting (and, considering the amount of sex and violence on display here, well within HBO's wheelhouse) on his hands.
The Leftovers premieres on June 29th, 2014.