The Leftovers is the latest invention of Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof’s return to TV. In 2010, over 13 million viewers sat at the edge of their seats, waiting eagerly for those final seconds before Lost ended. Emotions always ran high for the six-season run of ABC’s addictive island drama.
The new drama has an intriguing tagline: “The Rapture happens. But not quite like it’s supposed to. This is the story of the people who didn’t make the cut… and a world that will never be the same.” Sound interesting enough to lure in Lost viewers?
Lindelof was not ready to return to TV with another divisive drama. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said, “When Lost was ending, the two questions were: ‘What are your feelings about the ending of Lost?’ And ‘What’s next?’ The way I was answering the ‘What’s next?’ question was, ‘I don’t really want to think about it right now — I just want to enjoy this process’ … I didn’t quite know any classy way of articulating that idea.” So instead, he took a well-deserved break, focusing on writing features such as Prometheus and Star Trek: Into Darkness.
One day, while looking through The New York Times Book Review, Lindelof came across a review of Tom Perrotta’s book The Leftovers. Perrotta was known for titles such as Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher. Lindelof was a fan of Perrotta’s work: “I ran and got the book immediately and got maybe 50 pages in before I decided: This should be a television show and I need to collaborate with Tom.” Perrotta came on as an executive producer for The Leftovers and co-wrote the pilot with Lindelof.
In Lost, a group of passengers aboard an airplane disappears from society when they crash land on a mysterious island. This time around, with The Leftovers, it’s two percent of the world’s population that disappears, so the stakes are a little higher. The Leftovers picks up three years after the disappearance. This was an approach Lindelof wanted to take as opposed to the immediate event: “This is the moment they get back to their lives as they were or they decide that they can’t get back to their lives as they were, that’s a much more interesting idea.” The setting is a small town called Mapleton, where neighbors begin rebuilding their lives. The Leftovers as the Lost co-creator’s return to TV just might be as successful as Lost itself.
Lindelof plans to grow a large ensemble cast. Viewers can expect characters to come and go, just as they did on Lost. Be careful about choosing any favorites, especially on a show where virtually anyone can disappear in a second.
As for the main cast, The Leftovers will be in the charge of Justin Theroux’s character, Mapleton’s chief of police who’s a father of two. Theroux has appeared on Parks and Recreation and Six Feet Under. He will be joined by Liv Tyler (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Armageddon), Amy Brenneman (Heat, Private Practice) and Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, Heroes, Thor: The Dark World).
The Leftovers, the Lost co-creator’s latest return to TV, premieres on HBO in summer 2o14. Director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Battleship, Ballers) will helm the series.
By Joseph Kibler