Here’s the first teaser for The Leftovers, HBO’s fancy new Rapture drama from former Lost showrunner Damon Lindelof. As you may or may not recall, depending on the quantity and quality of drugs you did in college, the series is based on a book of the same name by Tom Perotta, and takes place three years after two percent of the world’s population — about 170 million people — just up and vanished. Lindelof explained it all thusly in an interview with Grantland last year:
There aren’t zombies walking around, and it’s not a postnuclear wasteland, so essentially, tomorrow morning, you’ve still got to wake up and go to work and pay your taxes and put food on your table. And so the book starts three years after this thing that they call the Sudden Departure; religious people believe it was the Rapture, but the world at large refers to it as the Sudden Departure, because the people who disappeared —- there doesn’t seem to be any selection process. The Pope disappears, but also Gary Busey disappears. So it’s sort of like, in the Venn diagram of Pope and Busey, what are the intersections?
Well, they were both in the movie Drop Zone, for one. Wait, no. That was Wesley Snipes. Never mind.
[T]here are people who are obsessed, for obvious and personal reasons, with discovering —- what was the selection process? Was it just good people? And that’s what people graft on to it, obviously: “These people had something that I don’t have.” That’s why the book is called The Leftovers. The world is left to look in the mirror and say, “Am I good? And what does good even mean anymore? Because I thought I was good, and my neighbor down the street, who is a real sh*thead — well, he’s gone. Should I just throw my Bible out the window?” But the whole show takes place in this one town in New Jersey, and it’s about this family, and so it’s like this John Cheever novel with a supernatural air about it.
So there you have it. As Dustin pointed out when the series was first announced, it does sound very Lindelof-y. Mystery, huge unanswerable questions, supernatural forces potentially at play, etc. It’s an interesting premise, but there’s no way to tell if the show is going to be any good based on a brief teaser and a two paragraph description from a year-old interview, so instead of providing any further analysis, I would like to take this opportunity to toss out the first totally baseless theory about what happened to the missing people: A dinosaur ate them. There, now that’s out of the way.