So Far, HBO’s New Series, The Leftovers, Has Me Bored Out Of My Mind

Entertainment, Featured — July 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm by

by Babes
I’m usually extremely loyal to HBO shows where the subject material interests me.  The Sopranos, The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, and True Detective were all series that I was able to sink my teeth into and follow religiously.


On the surface, the new series The Leftovers has a premise that should include it in that group of fine television shows, but after two episodes I’m really left wondering how long I can hang on without being bored out of my mind.

The Leftovers is a book by Tom Perrotta and the series is being adapted to television by Perrotta and Damon Lindelof of Lost fame.  I haven’t read the book, but in hearing from folks who have, they say the series strays drastically.  The main premise of the series is that two percent of the world’s population simply vanishes on Oct 14.  This is obviously a weird and disturbing occurrence and coping with it would be a big deal.  That’s where the story picks up, three years after the mass population disappearance in the fictitious small town of Mapleton. In Mapleton, most of the plot centers around the Garvey family.  The main protagonist is Kevin Garvey, played by Justin Theroux, who is the town’s police chief.  His wife, played by Amy Brenneman, has mysteriously abandoned her family to join a cult called the Guilty Remnant.  The GR, as they’re referred to, are a group of people who don’t speak, wear all white clothes, chain smoke cigs, and stalk new recruits by showing up and staring at them.  I don’t see the draw, personally, but somehow they manage to get new members to join them.  One annoying aspect of the show is that these GR people communicate by writing on a pad.  I have to lean up in my chair to find out what the fuck these wackos are writing, and most of the time it’s simple words or phrases that are vague as shit.

The story is very ambitious, I’ll give it that.  Part of me really wants to like the show because it is intriguing, but after two episodes it’s almost too broad.  There seems to be ten different story lines going on simultaneously and it’s all wrapped in this thick cloud of melodrama and abstraction.  I get it, the show is all about the emotions of all these different characters, and how they deal with loss, but so far it’s not making for compelling TV.

A lot of successful HBO shows have flirted with the “artsy” tag.  Artsy has been prevalent in a lot of HBO’s best shows and I have no problem with abstract story lines, but so far I think The Leftovers is taking “artsy” a few steps too far.  I’m gonna continue watching for a few more weeks, but my interest is fading fast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *