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.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson Resigns

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Sports Show by and About Women

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 4:15 PM The Trials of White Boy Rick A Detroit crime legend, the FBI, and the ugliness of the war on drugs.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:26 PM How to Measure the Value of Your Personal Data in Cookies: A Slate Guide
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.