I remember when I first started reading The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. I expected this ‘end-time’ story of people being raptured to heaven. That was far from the truth. It was a slow-burning dramatization of the monotonicity of life as it goes on with no answers. I didn’t get past the third chapter. It was a well-written piece of fiction, but it wasn’t the story I was looking for. Still, that gnawing curiosity stayed with me. I still wanted answers, or at least and explanation of the event.
So when the HBO series based on the book debuted, I thought maybe this would give me what I wanted. Typically, television adaptations need to be ‘dumbed down’. You can’t string the audience as long as a book because the attention-span of a watcher has reduced dramatically. Maybe they’d alter the plot/premise. Maybe I’d get scenes of God’s might hand reaching down and pulling up souls to heaven.
Uh.. that was not the case. Unfortunately, I was given that same feeling of disappointment. The fact that the series was being developed by Damon Lindelof (Lost), I should’ve known that there wouldn’t be any answers.. at least for the next few years. In the end, it was apparent that the rapture questions I had were never going to get answered.
2% of the world’s population simply vanished. Men, women and children, good people, bad people,religious zealots, atheists, murderers, Saints… There is no pattern to who was taken.
Two episodes in, and I was ready to write this show off. You could tell that Lindelof was going for the ‘slow burn’, similar to what he did on Lost. We were entering the story AFTER the summer blockbuster and peering into this world during that space before the next blockbuster sequel.
I didn’t notice that my episode 5, I was hooked. I was all in on these random story threads that seem to be traveling their own way, unrelated in anyway. But it didn’t matter. I was invested in the characters and their journeys. Police Chief Kevin Garvey trying to keep his family and his town together, but losing on both fronts. Reverend Matt Jamison and his quest to save the souls of the members of the fringe cult, The Guilty Remnant. The Prophet Wayne Gilchrest, who seems to have a supernatural ability to take away a person’s pain. Remnant leader Patti Levin deploying her followers throughout town like chest pieces.. she and her people ready to put some sinister plan in motion.
I’M ALL IN!!! I Don’t care about The Event anymore. I just want these stories.. these people to keep going so I can see them live their lives. I know tragedy is coming by the season finale. And now I hear that HBO has ordered a second season, this has become on of my favorite shows on television right now. I am now officially a Leftover.
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