The Leftovers

The Leftovers: Series Premiere Review Podcast


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LIVE at 11:15 pm ET / 8:15 pm PT on Sunday, June 29th, Josh Wigler and Antonio Mazzaro recap the premiere of HBO’s “The Leftovers”. Join us LIVE after the show to ask your questions about tonight’s show.

Josh Wigler and Antonio Mazzaro recap the premiere of HBO’s “The Leftovers” – The mysterious new thriller from Damon Lindelof

One of the co-creators of Lost, Damon Lindelof, makes a triumphant return here with The Leftovers.  Although based on a book by Tom Perrotta, Josh is coming to this as a fan of Damon Lindelof and what HBO does.  Antonio is drawn into this for the same reason and because of the positive ratings the show is getting.

Josh comments on how The Leftovers has a different tone compared to the other shows he’s presently watching.  It’s a little bit moody and slower.  The music is incredible and he’s interested in giving it a shot.  Antonio thinks the show is good and it’s more of a slow burn.  He further explains the premise of the show.

Unlike Lost which was a mystery-driven show where you won’t know what happened to the characters who disappeared, Josh thinks The Leftovers may not follow the same route.  The question is not “What happened?” but “What happens next?”  The show focuses on the Garvey family.  The scenes are more about how are people going on with living their lives.  It’s more of what’s happening in this very moment as a result of the things that happened before.

What Josh likes most about the show is the fact that people just disappear and vanish without a trace and a discernable reason and even including celebrities like Pope Benedict and Anthony Bourdain to name a few.  The Garvey family didn’t actually lose anyone but they are worlds apart, which makes it more interesting.  Other interesting stuff include the cigarettes and the cult carrying a sign telling to not waste your breath.

Josh thinks that the characters themselves actually form the mystery of the show.  Bits of information also show that the it’s fairly recent.  The sudden disappearance happened three years ago and Guilty Remnant has only been around for a year. It’s also a mystery how Laurie got into joining the cult.

Antonio thinks they are targeting people and that the scenes are having an impact on people.  You basically don’t know who’s targeting them or what their goals are.  Josh and Antonio then make a comparison between The Leftovers and Friday Night Lights.  Antonio also mentions about a lot of weird things happening in the show.

Josh finds the character of Wayne to be very interesting.  He feels that more than the Guilty Remnant, there might be a militarized component to this and Wayne may be up to no good.   Antonio says you get the impression that this is happening worldwide and to random people.

Josh is fascinated by the tiny information gotten from small, quick waves of flashbacks.  Antonio wonders if the show is going on full with flashbacks which has really worked well as with other shows.

Josh and Antonio also talk about the party scene in the show and they think it’s just crazy.  Additionally, they basically could not count the number of F-bombs dropped in the show.

Josh hopes there would be some lightness added to the show being bleak and dark.  Josh pretty knows that Damon Lindelof can play dark and light as well.  Otherwise, it would be a hard show to watch on a Sunday night and to have to go to work the next day.  So he thinks that’s the only thing that’s missing.  They are talking about possible characters who might be able to bring a lighter feel or mood to the show.

Josh says there isn’t any character that he is drawn into for now but Kevin is someone whose brain he wants to pick and whose view of the world he’s interested in.

The show ends with a gunfire with Kevin shooting a pack of dogs.  Antonio thinks of it as more of a surrealism instead of the actual gunfire or the action going on.  They also talk about the mystery behind the character Liv Tyler is playing and how it may be another focal story on the show.   Finally, the hosts are talking about which celebrities they hope to be left behind.

To cap it off, Josh thinks it’s an interesting show.  There definitely is more room for improvement.  But they are definitely watching the next episodes.

The Leftovers: Series Premiere Recap[/caption]

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  • susan appleby

    I didn’t find this show at all riveting or compelling. The first few minutes were good for a commercial but horrible for a show. The actress was bad and I don’t want 2 minutes of screaming baby being ignored by his mother.
    And killing dogs is just not something I care about seeing on tv.
    I don’t care what happens to any of these people. They are never going to explain why people disappeared

    I am a huge fan of Josh Wigler and I want this site to be a great success- but not this show. Just not for me.

    Maybe a recap of True Blood? But I realized I’m over that show too.

    • Josh Wigler

      Totally fair!

    • Antonio Mazzaro

      Thanks Susan. Yeah, I have in my notes “are we supposed to be happy the crying baby is gone? Because I am.” It played like a commercial for sure–for vasectomy services.

      You make an interesting point about not caring what happens to the characters. Josh and I talked on the podcast about not being sure we like any of them but if this show suffers from anything it’s an enthusiasm gap about caring what happens to the characters going forward. Hopefully the episodes in the weeks to come can help narrow that gap.

  • Tom Moyer

    I thought the first episode was great! I was sold before watching when I saw that Peter Berg was directing. (and was excited to see his cameo) And I was really psyched to see that you guys were recapping it here!! We need another mysterious, dark drama on TV. I mean… HBO. The pilot set the stage perfectly and then introduced us a little into all the character’s worlds. Not easy to do in 1 episode. Love the mix of dreams, flashbacks, visions, etc… You’re never sure what is real or not, which helps you identify with the characters who are equally confused.

    With GOT over, and True Blood unwatchable… this is a nice treat to fill the Sunday night void. Hope you guys keep podcasting this show!

  • StephenDrabek

    I loved the pilot, probably one of the most engaging pilots I’ve seen. Definitely looking to see where it goes. As for the recaps, I would absolutely listen weekly if that’s what you guys plan to do. Maybe it’s bi-weekly, who knows. But I’d be here.

    • Antonio Mazzaro

      Thanks Stephen!

  • Inigo Montoya

    This show surprised me, I had read that it was never really going to answer why that 2% of people just vanished and just look at how people will deal with this loss. So naturally I thought there would be no mystery at all, but there is. I can’t wait to watch each week to get more answers about Guilty Remnant( I had never seen anybody smoke as much as these guys do since the cigarette smoking man from the x files), about the Garvey family and this other cult in the dessert somewhere run by that Wayne guy.

    I’m kind of over TV shows using deer or deer antlers as part of a characters delusions (and Hannibal did it way better), like come on there are millions or billions of animals on the planet.
    Please recap this show every week guys!

    • Antonio Mazzaro

      Yeah, what is it about deer?!? Hannibal, True Detective, now The Leftovers? Is there one really good Deer Wrangler in Hollywood?

      • Inigo Montoya

        Perhaps deer are cheaper to CGI than other animals.

  • Did not enjoy the pilot at all, but will keep watching if you guys keep podcasting. I actually thought you guys highlighted a lot of possibilities for the show I hadn’t considered. Things could get more interesting from here, I suppose, even though the initial conceit is so ludicrous and uninteresting, frankly. The actress who plays Jill is going to be a breakout star though. By the way, this article by a former Lost writer is a must-read:

    • susan appleby

      Did not enjoy. Won’t watch.. Will keep supporting the site and the podcast.

  • Zany

    I was positive that the episode was building up to another “disappearance” and that the final scene was going to be one of the characters who we knew disappearing for shock value (I actually thought Tom had disappeared while underwater at the end). But I’m liking the slow burn, and I hope you two continue on with this recap. And like Antonio said, the music is perfect, it made a lot of scenes better than if there had been dialogue instead.

    P.S. Holy shit that party was terrifying, are college kids in America really burning and choking people as part of spin the bottle now?!

    • Antonio Mazzaro

      Ha, the more I think about it Zany the more I think that party was meant to show that after the disappearance, kids are just totally giving in to hedonistic and nihilistic tendencies–just kinda over it all. It’s already an angsty period, combine that with some crazy worldwide thing that shakes fundamental scientific and religious beliefs to their cores and you end up with, as Josh called it, the iChoke app.

  • Antonio Mazzaro

    I’m curious because this thought is occurring to me. The 9/11 angle on pieces like this can’t be ignored. That is–9/11 is an event which fundamentally and forever reshaped the lens through which millions of Americans see the world. But as far as being a narrative device goes, that reshaping isn’t always abundantly clear even as we look out across society now. So, when a show wants to perhaps provide commentary on that, they almost have to have the “event” be something like this which allows for caricatures and broad strokes (like the GR cult) to develop in order to make more subtle commentary on the more-subtle shifts in our society after an event like 9/11. What does everyone else think about the 9/11 angle for shows like this?

    • Antonio Mazzaro

      As a result, we end up with seemingly-ludicrous premises so that creators can comment on how things like 9/11 shift society. We have “religious” zealots like the GR coming out of the woodwork, we have compound militia/sepratist types like with Wayne, we have people even who weren’t directly involved still shaken to the core three years later.

      I thought that the comparison was incredibly NOT subtle, as I mentioned on the podcast, with the show’s initial fade-to-black-as-all-the-911-calls-come-in conceit taken directly from Zero Dark Thirty doing the same thing with 9/11 911 calls.

    • susan appleby

      9/11 people didn’t disappear without us knowing where they went and what happened.
      I think society changed in that we went to war, and gave up civil freedoms, and started torturing people, but day to day life returned to normal.

  • WhiskeyTails

    I’m only about half-way through your recap but wanted to share
    my perspective.

    I LOVE any show that takes a look at the world if something
    bizarre happened. It is such an interesting perspective to think how people
    deal with issues.

    I work in a corporate environment and you would think the world
    broke into 4 million pieces when the interwebs cut out. People start to wander
    the office like they no longer have a purpose in life—until the interwebs comes
    back up and then they go about their regular routines.

    I’ve always enjoyed The Walking Dead, not merely for the awesome
    face-eating zombies, but more so to see how long it takes for each character to
    go against the morals they have always known and how do you adapt old-world
    values into new-world situations.

    I was surprised there weren’t comparisons to Rick Grimes to Kevin in the Leftovers. I think Kevin is in the state when Rick
    Grimes saw things (spoiler-free here) in the prison that weren’t there. I think
    that was the worst several episodes of Walking Dead, but I love the new badass Rick. I think by the end of episode 1, Kevin was becoming badass Kevin.

    Hope you continue to podcast about this series until we figure
    out whether or not it will be worth watching.

    Always appreciating your hard work — Megan, @hilarios

  • Anna

    I recently just watched Lost and am a huge fan. I find myself now comparing every tv show I watch to Lost so I absolutely love all the references you guys make.

    i do think the twins are supposed to be some sort of comic relief. I believe I read somewhere that their characters are meant to be happy and not affected by the event. I agree, though, that the show could use even more levity.