It Looks Like HBO’s Leftovers Adaptation May Please Those of Us Who Loved the Book

Slate's Culture Blog
April 28 2014 4:57 PM

It Looks Like HBO’s Leftovers Adaptation May Please Those of Us Who Loved the Book

Justin Theroux in The Leftovers


Imagine that 2 percent of the world's population simply disappeared, all at once, never to be seen again. What would it feel like to be left behind? That's the question at the heart of Tom Perrotta's 2011 novel The Leftovers, a dark but enjoyable take on how society might react in the wake of a rapture-like event snatching up a small chunk of the global population.

Judging from the full-length trailer, Damon Lindelof and Peter Berg have hewed closely to the novel in adapting it for HBO. Which makes sense: Perrotta himself is also on board as executive producer and co-wrote the pilot. Thank heavens (so to speak).


HBO has been teasing bits of the show, which debuts June 29, for a while now, but this is our first substantial look at the TV version of Mapleton, the generic middle-American town that serves as the story's setting and lens. Backed by haunting James Blake vocals, the trailer should put aside any fears that Lindelof would somehow turn this tale into a polar bear-inhabited post-apocalyptic retelling of Perrotta's critique of suburban angst. The anger, the grief, the cultish inclinations: The book's strongest themes are all here. (Those were some of Lost's main themes as well.) Add a cast that features Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Liv Tyler, and Michael Gaston, and I'm in.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate video blogger.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:58 AM Does this Colorado Poll Show Latino Voters Bailing on the 2014 Election?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
The Vault
Sept. 18 2014 9:57 AM "The Sun Never Sets Upon the British Empire," Explained in GIF by an Old Children's Toy
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Sept. 18 2014 8:53 AM The Other Huxtable Effect Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?