In the Christian tradition, the Rapture is the event where the good and holy among us will ascend to meet God in heaven, while the rest of us remain stuck back on Earth, left to wallow in our own sin and vice. That’s the basic idea behind the Left Behind books, and the movie adaptations starring Kirk Cameron. And also, apparently, a potential new HBO show.
The cable giant has ordered a pilot based on the novel The Leftovers, by Tom Perrotta (Election). And polarizing scribe Damon Lindelof (Prometheus) is one of the parties responsible for the show.
The Leftovers picks up three years after the Rapture has lifted large segments of the populace into the sky. The story follows a single family as they attempt to navigate the post-Rapture landscape, moving on, and trying to deal with the new world. Kevin Garvey is the mayor of the suburb of Mapleton. In the wake of the “Sudden Departure,” his family begins to disintegrate, cults and false prophets arise, and everyone attempts to deal with the trauma in their own way.
This is an intriguing concept, especially because Perotta’s book eschews the black-and-white sermonizing of Left Behind for story, character, tension, and solid storytelling. Talking to Vulture, Lindelof says, “The fact that there’s this reaping which occurred, and you don’t make the cut, some of us don’t feel worthy, seemed very ripe territory for a cool character drama.”
It will be interesting to see how many people are taken and how many remain. It sounds like only a relatively small segment of the populace will rise, so how different will it really be? No matter what happens, there’s a lot of interesting thematic ground to cover.
There’s no word about actors, directors, start dates, or any of that stuff, so we’ll have to see how The Leftovers shakes out.