Putin, the Pope, Jennifer Lopez and Shaq all disappear in The Leftovers


On Sunday night, HBO will continue a long legacy of book-to-it’s-not-TV-it’s-HBO adaptations that includes Sex and the City, True Blood, and [kinda] The Wire. The Leftovers, premiering after enough hype to kill an elephant, is centered on a Rapture-like event that causes roughly two percent of the world’s population to suddenly disappearβ€”one second you’re sitting next to your best friend, the next second she’s gone, without so much as a bang or a zap or even a courtesy puff of colored smoke.

The Rapture/Not Rapture (depending on who you talk to) prompts Reactionsβ€”emotional, political, religiousβ€”and it’s those reactions that form the core of The Leftovers, insomuch as they affect residents of Mapleton, an unassuming suburban town that serves as a microcosm of the global post-Rapture malaise. Three years after the event, Mayor Kevin Garvey is trying to rally the wary townspeople into a sense of normalcy, even as his estranged son gets involved with a dubious evangelist, his daughter goes through a head-shaving rebellious phase, and his wife leaves him for the Guilty Remnant, a cult of sorts whose members don’t speak, dress all in white, travel in pairs and constantly smoke cigarettes ( Β―\_(ツ)_/Β― ), all ostensibly to remind people of October 14th, and to prove themselves worthy for, you know, “next time.”

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