ABC's Resurrection asks how we might react if our deceased or missing loved ones suddenly, spontaneously came back to us; HBO's The Leftovers take that question and flips it around. What if the people we cared about, or simply the people that we know and interact with on a daily basis, just vanished off the face of the Earth, leaving no hint, no trace, of where they went? What kind of impact does a mass-disappearance have on a society at large, and also to the individuals that make up its backbone?
The above teaser sets up the foundation of the premium network's latest ambitious endeavor: 2% of the planet's population, roughly one hundred and forty million souls in total, suddenly and unceremoniously blink out of existence. It's a global Rapture of sorts, maybe Biblical, maybe not - the show comes to us from Damon Lindelof, of Lost, Prometheus, and Star Trek Into Darkness notoriety, so you can pretty safely bet that the nature of this mysterious exodus will be of huge consequence to both the series' overarching narrative and its cast of characters.
That cast, by the way, includes quite a few recognizable names, including Justin Theroux, Ann Dowd (Gimme Shelter, Compliance), Christopher Eccleston (Thor: The Dark World), and Liv Tyler (The Lord of the Rings trilogy); they're joined by Amy Brenneman and Amanda Warren, and the pilot also has the added benefit of being directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Lone Survivor). Not too shabby a troupe, though HBO never has much trouble gathering talent for their small-screen enterprises.
Each actor will play a member of an unnamed suburban community, and depict how its remaining inhabitants deal with the world-changing event that makes up The Leftovers' basic conceit. While the trailer itself doesn't get much into specifics, it does suggest a bit of cult activity (at least if we make assumptions about the numerous people wearing matching white outfits), and, unsurprisingly, a great deal of grief. One can only wonder if the show will also deal with issues of resentment, too, as these people all ponder why they were ultimately left behind.
Of course, Lindelof may be the most important player here; his involvement, more than anyone else's, will determine the shape of The Leftovers' story and the direction taken by its plot. Will more emphasis be placed on discovering the truth behind the Rapture, as well as it source? Or will that riddle be left unsolved, leaving us only to see how our principal and supporting characters cope with their losses and move on with their lives?
We'll find out in just a couple of months, and since The Leftovers already has a full series order, we can at least expect to get some answers without fear of cancellation.
The Leftovers premieres on HBO on June 15th, 2014.
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