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Somebody's calling Reverend Matt Jamison. It's a woman, asking for some kind of supply he promises to pick up on his way home. It's our first indication that he has a life beyond his quixotic quest to reveal that the victims of the Sudden Departure weren't the secular saints they've been painted to be. Eventually we learn he has a wife, name of Mary. Hmm…he must be neglecting his marriage. That explains why he's so reluctant to tell people how's she's doing, right?
But when Matt finally arrives home, »
With just two episodes so far, Damon Lindelof’s “The Leftovers” has already laid out a strong handful of mysteries, the central one being what exactly happened on October 14th that caused 2% of the world’s population to vanish. But as Lindelof has been stressing since even before the show first aired, that instigating event is not the hook of the series. “If that’s why you’re watching the show, don’t watch the show,” Lindelof recently said. And as I’ve emphasized over the past two recaps, “The Leftovers” is about the characters and consequences, and no better is this exemplified than in this week’s “Two Boats And A Helicopter,” which rewardingly breaks the format. In their early review assessment, Av Club called this episode “stunning” adding that it “works almost as a very short feature film” and while I wouldn't go quite so far with the »
- Kevin Jagernauth
A review of tonight's "The Leftovers" coming up just as soon as I think I know what happened to your face... "Why do you persist?" -Mary What a bizarre, marvelous, freaky, abrupt left turn is "Two Boats and a Helicopter."(*) After two big, sprawling ensemble pieces to open the series and give us a sense of the Departure's impact on the larger world, this one essentially turns into a solo piece about Reverend Matt — or, rather, into a duet between Matt and the cruel, capricious cosmic force that's brought so much uncertainty into the world, and misery into Matt's life. Kevin and Laurie appear briefly (Laurie, interestingly, watching her husband and daughter's house while they sleep), and we also discover that Matt and Nora Durst are siblings, but the great bulk of this is just Christopher Eccleston running around, chasing signs and wonders sent from a deity whose behavior suggests »
- Alan Sepinwall
In the first five minutes of The Leftovers, Justin Theroux’s character jogs along the road when he spots a dog in the middle of the street and stops running to kneel down and pet the friendly pup. Aw, we say, what a sweet moment. Then, within seconds, boom: Someone shoots the dog dead. Thanks, HBO.
TV shows love killing dogs: There’s that Leftovers dog-murder that turns into a dog mass murder at the pilot’s end, there’s Frank Underwood strangling a hurt dog to its death in the House of Cards pilot, there’s Family Guy’s Brian. »
- Ariana Bacle
Jack Shephard was originally supposed to be played by Michael Keaton, and he was going to die in Lost’s pilot episode. After his death, the first to be killed by the smoke monster (that honor ended up going to the plane’s pilot, played by Greg Grunberg), Kate would take over as the leader and primary protagonist. This would have been surprising because it would buck conventions, killing off the heroic white male leader so that the female could take over.
J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof quickly changed their minds about Jack’s death, Keaton backed off so that Matthew Fox could become the character we all know, and the rest is history. Kate became just another supporting character in the show’s massive ensemble. The first thing we see in the actual pilot episode is Jack’s eye, and from that point on we stay mostly with him. »
- Jake Pitre
Toronto, On. With "Lost" (and "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr," if you like) front and center on his resume, Carlton Cuse knows a thing or two relating to fanboys, but that's actually how he originally came to Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's "The Strain" series. "Almost two years ago, I was approached by Wme and asked whether I actually knew this property, 'The Strain' trilogy," Cuse recalls, sitting with a small roundtable of reporters on the Toronto set of "The Strain," which premieres on FX on July 13. "In fact, I had read the first book just as a fanboy, just because I was intrigued by it and loved Guillermo's stuff. I actually had a little bit of a relationship with Chuck Hogan. We had talked at one point about doing something else together. I really loved the book. So Wme said, 'Hey, would you consider meeting with Guillermo? »
- Daniel Fienberg
San Diego Comic-Con has released the full schedule of events for Friday, July 25, following the Thursday schedule that was released yesterday. You can clickHere to view the lineup in its entirety, which includes numerous comic book panels and events, but we have pulled out all of the movie, DVD and TV-related panels for your convenience.
Friday, July 25
Good mornin'! What's better than a panel of one Cartoon Network Comedy? Two cartoon network comedies! That's right fans, prepare yourself for double the comedy, double the fun and double the friends with Uncle Grandpa and Clarence! Join the always-entertaining cast and crew for a behind-the-scenes look at two of the newest hit shows on Cartoon Network. It's woooooorth it. Appearing from Uncle Grandpa are creator Peter Browngardt (Uncle Grandpa), Kevin Michael Richardson (Mr. Gus), and Eric Bauza (Belly Bag). Appearing from »
The Leftovers, Season 1, Episode 2, “Penguin One, Us Zero”
Directed by Peter Berg
Airs Sundays at 10pm Est on HBO
While the pilot was almost pure set up, and in this mostly disappointing second episode we have a further muddling of that set-up, what has at least become clearer now is that despite its literary origins, The Leftovers is definitely shaping up to be, for better or worse, Lost’s direct successor.
There are no extended flashbacks (although there are flashbacks), no smoke monster, no strangers in an isolated setting, but the structure of a supernatural mystery, and tiny character advancements while interacting sideways with that mystery, is still intact. Also, in a way, people in The Leftovers—neighbors, whole families—have become strangers to each other, even if they weren’t before. Characters like Laurie and Tom have taken on new personae in this brave new, »
As if TV viewers needed more reasons to back away from HBO’s The Leftovers…
After two somewhat disappointing installments, the freshman dystopian drama hasn’t given viewers any indication that an answer to what caused the Sudden Departure, an event in which 2% of the world’s population inexplicably vanished, is coming soon. And when you consider that one of the two showrunners is Lost creator Damon Lindelof, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Regardless, Lindelof and fellow showrunner Tom Perrotta (whose novel The Leftovers served as the series’ source material) probably aren’t helping the series gain fans by admitting that answers to the biggest questions on the show may never come at all.
During an interview with Vulture, Perrotta talked about changing certain aspects of his novel to give The Leftovers a shot at a green light over at HBO. To give one, protagonist Kevin »
- Isaac Feldberg
Damon Lindelof and author Tom Perrotta (whose book serves as the source material) are behind this supernatural drama, one in which a mysterious, Rapture-like event has made 2% of the world's population disappear. And the show's central question isn't necessarily what happened, but as we've noted in our recaps, how it affects the characters three years on. And Lindelof has some advice to those perhaps waiting for the big answer. “If that’s why you’re watching the show, don’t watch the show,” he told Vulture. Fair enough. And Lindelof and Perrotta certainly had to do a little bit of battling to see their show get greenlit, with HBO rejecting their first draft of the pilot. “It wasn’t propulsive,” said HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo. “It retained too much of its meditative quality.” So to that end, the lead character played Justin Theroux, who as Perrotta notes was "maybe a little too nice, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Even though the pilot episode of The Leftovers was co-written by Tom Perrotta, the author of the 2011 novel the HBO series is based on, it departed from the source material in a few ways — most prominently, the transformation of our hero, Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), from small-town mayor to grizzled police chief. Perrotta didn’t write the second episode, but he had plenty of say in the writer’s room as showrunner Damon Lindelof and his team set about taking the show farther and farther away from his book. Vulture spoke with Perrotta about several serious divergences we noticed in last night’s episode, and he generously broke it all down for us — what’s changed, how, and why, and what The Karate Kid has to do with it.As the episode opens, Holy Wayne’s compound is stormed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives, and Cults, and »
- Boris Kachka
Stop Wasting Your Breath. When the Guilty Remnant, the cult (or movement, or whatever) at the center of The Leftovers, tried to troll the good people of Mapleton out of their Heroes Day complacency, that was the message etched across its members' signs. Sure, the venue was inappropriate, and the method a little too protest-theater for its own good. But it's advice The Leftovers itself would do well to heed.
Summer Cable Smackdown: Our Complete 2014 Watch List
After a haunting, subtle series premiere, tonight's episode – called "Penguin One, Us Zero »
Last week’s premiere of The Leftovers left me a little uncertain about whether the series would be able to hold my attention for long. After all, there’s a difference between being miserable and being profound – and the pilot episode, though intriguing, didn’t convince me that showrunner Damon Lindelof and his writing staff have been able to delineate the boundaries between the two. “Penguin One, Us Zero” is a slow, slack hour (certainly not the episode to win over those fans hesitant after last week), and if it’s setting the tone for what The Leftovers is going to be week after week, I’m not sure I’m a fan. There’s too much dreariness and overwrought piano music in place of genuine emotion and character development, and the mysteries Lindelof has put out there could very easily last longer than my patience can stand.
This week, »
- Isaac Feldberg
I know a lot of people out there have complex relationships with Damon Lindelof’s body of work. Hell, I count myself among them; I still can’t figure out why everybody in Prometheus wore strategically placed Ace bandages instead of underwear. As someone who loves science fiction and fantasy and freaky hybrids of the two, I find Lindelof’s sense of Weird to be undeniably awesome. He frustrates me terribly, though, because I also love stories, and I feel like he’s constantly shortchanging his stories to ramp up the Weird. With The Leftovers, he’s working with solid source material, and I still hope that will carry us through.Meanwhile, though, I’m a little worried, because in episode two, “Penguin One, Us Zero,” it kind of feels like Lindelof is laughing at us. The penguin in question lives in Chief Garvey’s shrink’s office, is inflatable, »
- Kelly Braffet
If the pilot for Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta’s “The Leftovers” established the landscape of the show — one where semi-supernatural phenomenon bump up against personal drama — the second episode, “Penguins One, Us Zero,” makes a smart play and narrows the focus. Unlike “Lost” which forever expanded the question marks around the central mystery, Lindelof pivots much more wisely here to the repercussions on his characters. For now, “The Leftovers” is less concerned with what happened and why, and instead on how it has altered the people still dealing with the loss and grief three years later. Identity is the theme that courses through this week’s episode, both in how characters are perceived from the outside, and how they perceive themselves. And Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) finds himself battling the preconceived notions of those around him, along with his own disquieting awareness that he might be going crazy. He’s haunted by vivid dreams, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
“There’s something comic about the nice guy in the Apocalypse,” says Tom Perrotta, describing the hero small-town mayor of his 2011 novel, The Leftovers. “He wants people to be happy. He’s ill suited for this world that he’s living in” — a suburb torn apart by a “Rapture-like phenomenon.” “But he’s also the right man.” He wasn’t the right man for HBO’s new cable adaptation of the book, co-created by Perrotta and Lost’s Damon Lindelof, which transforms the mayor into a cable-ready anti-hero. But that kind of switch is nothing new for Perrotta, who has been accommodating the imperatives of screen adaptation for two decades, becoming one of Hollywood’s most prominent literary-novelist screenwriters in the course of what he calls “the systematic exploitation of my work.” It pays better than teaching, he says, but there are costs—projects dying inexplicably; questions about his literary bona fides, »
- Boris Kachka
They forced us to scour the internet for the key to the Yellow King after watching True Detective, convinced us to fall in love with fantasy via Game of Thrones and even managed to make us eager to spend each week in Baltimore thanks to The Wire. Now HBO is hoping that audiences will tune in to find out what happens after the end of the world.
Last week saw the Us debut of The Leftovers, which will air on Sky Atlantic this autumn. Adapted from Tom Perrotta's bestselling novel by Damon Lindelof, the man behind the mystical island drama Lost, and starring Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler and Christopher Eccleston, it's arguably HBO's most risky drama yet, which is saying something from the channel that gave us the dragons and double-crossing of Game of Thrones. »
- Sarah Hughes
From showrunner Damon Lindelof and acclaimed novelist Tom Perrotta, the HBO drama series The Leftovers tells the story of what happens after 2% of the world’s population abruptly disappears without explanation. As the world struggles to come to terms with what happened, viewers will get to watch how the residents of Mapleton, New York deal with living and being left behind. With a pilot directed by Peter Berg, the show stars Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Chris Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Ann Dowd, Amanda Warren, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Carrie Coon, Emily Meade, Michael Gaston, Max and Charlie Carver, and Annie Q. During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Amanda Warren (who plays whip-smart Mayor Lucy Warburton) talked about how she came to be a part of the show, what she was told about her character ahead of time, why she loves living in the moment and learning what’s next with each script, »
- Christina Radish
The Leftovers, Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”
Written by Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrota
Directed by Peter Berg
Airs Sundays at 10pm Est on HBO
The best thing about The Leftovers is its premise, and not because it’s really that ingenious, or cool. Its rapture-based concept is ground that has been covered before in other series and books, but the scale of it is just right here for nuanced material, the incident being big enough to be a personal catastrophe, yet small enough to keep it from being a global one (like say, all the males dying was in Y: The Last Man). With no rhyme or reason to who was picked, on top of a three-year gap from the event itself, what we’re left with instead of the typical action plot or mystery, is basically the perfect, world-wide existential crisis.
After all, how do you keep your head up and »
HBO has a remarkable success rate, if you think about it, from "Boardwalk Empire," "The Newsroom," "True Detective" and "True Blood" to "Game of Thrones." All these series mix TV and film creative elements with strong characters, a fair dose of sex and the good old uber-violence. So what went wrong with HBO's latest series from "Lost" creator Damon Lindelof, which debuted to mixed reviews (here's Variety's Brian Lowry) and ratings Sunday night? It had all of those things. (HBO is making the first show available until Sunday July 6 on Yahoo.) First, the advance TV spots looked grim. Two per cent of the world's population vanishes in an instant, as poof! the baby vanishes from the rear car seat. Per the well-reviewed Tom Perrotta novel, how does everyone cope? Three years later, the story focuses on one struggling family, as single dad police chief (unbelievably played by too-tattooed and »
- Anne Thompson
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