Outside of Michael Bay, I’d say Damon Lindelof is one of the guys fans most love to pile on. Just look at that resume: along with Carlton Cuse, he gave us a Lost ending that drove many fans into fits of rage. He was one of the writers who took Khan Noonien Singh down a very different path in Star Trek Into Darkness. He was also one of the screenwriters behind Ridley Scott’s divisive Prometheus, and on a flick where almost all the problems can be traced back to the script, that’s not a good thing. These days he’s returned to television with a project that tackled many of the same existential questions as Lost, but without the pressure of being one of the most-watched shows on television. On HBO’s The Leftovers, the questions are the point, and Lindelof says it’s refreshing to not have to promise the viewers any answers.
Howdy, members of the 1992 Olympic stream team. With the summer blockbuster season in full effect, steaming websites have been a little lax on giving sci-fi fans what we want: namely, something to do besides sweat and deal with teenagers roaming the streets. Stay off of my lawn! Go inside! Sit down! Watch TV! Ahem. On with the list!
The More Recent
The Leftovers (HBO Go)
While HBO’s new drama The Leftovers isn’t strictly speaking science fiction, it’s a high-concept project conceived by the novel’s author Tom Perrotta and Damon Lindelof, co-creator and co-writer of things like Lost, Star Trek Into Darkness, and World War Z. In The Leftovers, two percent of the world is gone due to some unexplainable event, and the town of Mapleton is coping like many others: with public remembrances and silent, chain-smoking cults. The first episode debuted last night and it didn’t really give away a lot of where this plot is going, other than that Justin Theroux’s police chief Kevin Garvey has a lot to deal with.
The premiere of HBO’s upcoming drama The Leftovers has been delayed by two weeks to make some tweaks and smooth over a few rough edges. That hasn’t dampened our curiosity, however, and this is still one of the shows we’re keeping our eyes on this summer. To tide us over until the June 29 debut, the premium cable giant has dropped a fresh trailer into our laps. Accompanying this video is also a short behind-the-scenes look at the production.
A maudlin cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” is a good choice to set the subdued tone for this video and really drive home the despair that most of these people feel. Based on Tom Perrotta’s novel, the story of The Leftovers picks up three years after two percent of the Earth’s population mysteriously disappears. While that may not sound like much, in actual numbers that is more than 140 million people that just up and vanished.
Your potential excitement about HBO’s upcoming The Leftovers will largely depend on two thing: 1) have you read and enjoyed the 2012 Tom Perrotta novel of the same name, and 2) how did you feel about the end of Lost? The reasoning behind that first one is self-evident, but the second? That’s because the guy running the show on The Leftovers is Damon Lindelof, co-creator of Lost and favored punching bag for every bitter fan of the supernatural island drama.
I’m of the camp that has mixed feelings about Lost, and more specifically on the way it ended. But that being said, I’m still quite excited to see The Leftovers. The concept — three years ago, two percent of the world’s population vanished, and there is still no explanation — is intriguing, and the promos, including these two new ones, definitely have my attention. As for the Lindelof element? I think it would have been impossible for him not to have learned some lessons from Lost after all the time he’s spent raking over coals. I’d like to see what the guy brings to the table with all that knowledge. (And I’m trying my best to forget about his script for Prometheus.)
It’s never a good sign when you’re promoting your new show by swearing it won’t end like your previous show. But that’s exactly what we’re hearing from Lost’s Damon Lindelof, who seems eager to convince everybody — most of all himself — that we won’t be setting ourselves up for disappointment if we tune into his upcoming HBO series The Leftovers. After all, his new show definitely shares some data points with his old one: it’s got a compelling central mystery, it will explore the interplay between faith and reason, and it will live or die both on how it explores that mystery and in how well it makes us care about the people in the midst of it. Lost did one of those things very well, and the other — depending on who you ask — not so much. So, in taking on The Leftovers, will Damon Lindelof be able to evolve from the lessons of Lost? He certainly hopes so.
In a world of fiction that has been recently overloaded with post-apocalyptic drama, it’s nice to have a series like HBO’s The Leftovers that’s more focused on…post-apocalyptic drama. Dammit. Well, if nothing else, at least this series seems to have removed the apocalypse itself from the equation, centering solely on humanity’s post-tribulated ability to cope. That, in turn, removes much of the science fiction element from the plot, but who died and made me the Grand Stickler of Genres? While you ponder on the value of labels in society, check out the Leftovers teaser above, which goes through the five stages of grief. Except acceptance, unless screaming in a swimming pool counts as acceptance these days.