“The Leftovers” is a post-apocalyptic series where the apocalypse looks different than we’ve seen previously. Created by “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof and novelist Tom Perrotta, the series takes place three years after the “Sudden Departure,” an unexplained event wherein 2% of the world’s population disappeared. While the percentage of people missing is relatively small, it also means that most people know someone who disappeared — making the ripple effects of the event enormous.
The series focuses on Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), the police chief of Mapleton, New York, Nora Durst (Carrie Coon), a woman who lost her husband and kids, and Nora’s brother, Reverend Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston). The Sudden Departure resulted in several cults emerging, and Kevin’s wife, Laurie (Amy Brenneman), joined a mysterious one called the Guilty Remnant.
Like most post-apocalyptic shows, “The Leftovers” is not about the apocalypse: It’s about what it takes to survive and the stories we tell ourselves to keep living. The apocalyptic event in the show is relatively undramatic, which almost makes it more difficult for those left behind to rationalize their continued existence. Nonetheless, “The Leftovers” isn’t without hope, which is one of the things that makes it such an invigorating, stirring watch.