HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Leftovers: Season 1
HTS Overall Score:77
My first thought when I read the description of the show and looking at the cover was that we were in for another Sci-Fi/alien type of series, like “The 4400”. Count me in as being VERY surprised when I actually started digging into the mean of the series. Instead of a taught thriller, or science fiction mystery where people have vanished, we are on the OPPOSITE side of the fence. Very grounded and dealing with the internal struggles of a people who have watched 2% of the entire population just up and vanish. We think of these things as second nature to TV shows, but instead of having some giant mystery to deal with, including shocking twists and turns along the way, “The Leftovers” tries to delve into the psychological implications of seeing such a global tragedy and being stuck with the knowledge that NO ONE knows why.
3 years ago, 2% of the world’s population vanished ala the rapture. One moment they were there, the next moment they were gone. Humans tried desperately to find out what happened, but the best answer they could get from the best and brightest was a bewildered “I don’t know”. Following the lives of the people in the town of Mapleton, New York, the show watches and observes the effects that the incident had on the 98% who are left. 2% seems insignificant at first, but when you think about it, that’s one in every 50 people. Most everyone knows a LOT more than 50 people, meaning just about every one of those 98% surviving knew a friend or family member, or acquaintance who was taken away mysteriously. When this happens in small groups, you can be certain that there will be a lot of sympathy for the remaining people. When it happens on a global scale, the results have been devastating. No one knows WHY the people vanished, and the underlying uncertainty is terrifying and emotionally scarring.
No one has been left unscarred. People’s animals have been roaming the streets, turning feral in their master’s absence. Police officer Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) has had his whole world turned upside down. His father is in a mental institution, his wife Laurie (Amy Brenneman) has joined a cult who has taken a vow of silence out of respect for the people taken, his daughter Jill (Margaret Qualley) is no longer the A+ student she once was, and acts out at every turn. Even the oldest son, Tom (Chris Zylka) has gone a bit rogue, falling under the spell of a mystic/cult leader by the name of Wayne (Patrick Joseph). Others like Meg (Liv Tyler) have lost their entire family to the departure, left empty and crushed inside. Pastor Matt Jamison (Chis Eccleston) struggle with the idea of the rapture, wondering if the wrong people had been taken, or if he was really one of the lost after all, despite his faith.
With the world careening out of control, the series focuses very intently one the individuals. Each episode looks at the people, their actions, their reactions, and even the effects they have on others around them. Officer Garvey desperately wants his family back together, but his wife has taken her vow of silence with the cult “The Guilty Remnant”, and his children have gone so far to either side of the spectrum that they have almost nothing in common. The basis of the show is really watching people deal with grief in their own way. Some people act out in hatred and anger, others take advantage of those around them, building a false flock to gain power over others. Another segment just grieves for the lost, wondering why they weren’t taken instead. Or even worse, if they’re going to be taken next.
Justin Theroux tends to take the brunt of the screen time, and does a magnificent job at portraying the moral center of the show, even if he’s fundamentally damaged as well. Liv Tyler is my second favorite here, as she just emotes pain in very look that she gives the camera. She’s trying to rebuild her life, but feels literally (and was) abandoned by her own family, and struggles with trusting that anyone will be there for her ever again. Eccleston does a great job, as he always does and the rest of the cast melds well, straining and struggling for understanding in a world that seems to be offering them none whatsoever.
The Episode Rundown is as follows.
Penguin One, Us Zero
Two Boats and a Helicopter
B.J. and the A.C.
Solace for Tired Feet
The Garveys at their Best
The Prodigal Son Returns
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=56042[/img]The 1.78:1 framed transfer looks as good as you would expect for a modern TV show. Colors are vibrant and bright, with natural color shading all around. I noticed some digital noise and a little bit of banding in some of the darker scenes, but nothing too egregious to the eye. Outdoor shots look exceptionally bright and vivid, with bright splashes of primaries and wonderfully detailed shots of the landscape as well as close up facial and object detailing. Black levels are very strong, showing a nice depth and excellent shadow detail. Contrast levels are perfectly balanced, and skin tones are excellent, if not a hair breadth ruddy at times.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=56050[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is just as good as the video, covering its bases well with strong dialog and good surround support. As the majority of the show is really an extended drama, the track is naturally a tad front heavy. The main 3 channels carry the weight of the show on their shoulders and do so excellently. Effects and sounds carry well across the front sound stage and dialog is locked straight in the center channel. LFE is tight and carries some strong weight, but it’s never too aggressive or bloated. Surround channels aren’t exactly firing on all 4 cylinders, but the handle directional ambient noises quite well, which makes the track a tad more robust.
• Making "The Leftovers"
• Audio Commentary
• I Remember: A Season One Conversation with Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta
• Living Reminders: The Guilty Remnant
• Beyond the Book: Season Two
• Audio Commentary #2
Despite the series not being ANYTHING what I expected, I ended up really like “The Leftovers”. It’s slower and more focused pace works well for the series, and even though it’s an HBO show, the “adult” nature of the series isn’t anything what other HBO shows have as content. Sure there’s a little bit of nudity, and some R rated knowing, but that’s really about it. My only hesitation with the next seasons is knowing that Damon Lindelof is involved as the main creator along with Tom Perrotta. Lindelof is known for being a man who likes to write more questions into his works than answers, and is (in my opinion) one of the main reasons why season 6 of “Lost” ended so badly. However, so far I’m enjoying what I’ve seen so far, and definitely recommend it for a watch.
Starring: Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston
Created by: Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrotta
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Italian, French, Spanish DD 2.0, German DD 5.1
Runtime: 558 minutes
Own it on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD October 6th, 2015
Buy The Leftovers: Season 1 Blu-Ray on Amazon
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