Brow Beat

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.