The Living Reminders sounds a lot like a shoegaze band that just played at Coachella, but it’s actually the self-appointed name for members of the Guilty Remnant cult in HBO’s upcoming drama The Leftovers. But unlike the majority of cults that just want to time death with some momentous event, the Guilty Remnant was born of such an event, and its devotees are into survival. You don’t really get a lot of that from The Leftovers‘ second teaser, but their threatening presence is felt through the insanity that hits in the final seconds. Of course, given it was partly created by genre stalwart Damon Lindelof (and Tom Perrotta, the author of the 2011 novel this series is based on), that probably means we’ll find out that all the missing people are either on an island or a distant planet with Michael Fassbender.
The event in question is a Rapture of sorts called the Sudden Departure, where 2% of the world’s population vanished without a trace. And if Kirk Cameron’s performance in Left Behind told us anything, it’s that horrible things often follow exoduses. Justin Theroux stars as Kevin Garvey, a police officer who becomes the new mayor of the small town of Mapleton as society attempts to rebuild itself. His public problems are matched only by his personal ones, as his wife Laurie (Amy Brenneman) left him to join the cult, while his son Tom (Chris Zylka) drops out of college to follow a pseudo prophet named Holy Wayne (Paterson Joseph). Only Kevin’s daughter, Jill (Margaret Qualley), sticks around, but she’s definitely not the same person she was before everything went wrong. Will humanity survive this non-violent apocalypse?
The beginning of this preview paints a picture of a community on the rebound in an almost serene way, as Theroux’s monotone voiceover describes the elasticity of people’s resolve, and how nothing collapses. And then people start jumping off of buildings, and one is reminded that we’d all be boned if any of this actually happened. People. Are. Crazy.
Granted, nothing extraordinary happens here—Tom screams at his steering wheel, Liv Tyler holds a flashlight in the woods, a girl mimes a hanging, and Theroux shoots a gun—but the tonal shift and quick editing managed to squeeze out quite a bit of tension. I’m a huge fan of Theroux’s and welcome his return to TV with open arms. (He also appeared on HBO’s Six Feet Under for a stint.) Plus, The Leftovers boasts a supporting cast including Christopher Eccleston, Annie Q., Michael Gaston, Ann Dowd, Amanda Warren, and Charlie Carver. And of course, barely anyone out there makes dramas as compelling as HBO, so this could prove to be one of the summer’s most exciting series.
Find out on Sunday, June 15, when The Leftovers premiere should carry a huge amount of viewers following the Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones. Rattle your nerves a little more with the first teaser below.