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Tube Talk: The Leftovers: Pilot

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Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and author Tom Perrotta brings the latest TV creation of HBO’s in The Leftovers here on Tube Talk’s continuing summer TV coverage!

The world has not left behind SPOILERS!

The Leftovers: Season 1: Episode 1: Pilot: GRADE: B+

Based off the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, who co-created and co-wrote the pilot, this deals with the impact of a global “Rapture” on a suburban Northern New York community three years after the event has happened.

As much as I say when a new comic debuts, we need a very strong main character to follow? Same goes for TV and while Tyrant might have halfway done that, The Leftovers excel in that regard with lead actor Justin Theroux as Chief Kevin Garvey, who seemingly is at center of this whole ordeal, as his family is broken up and separate at different parts of the story. I think we need to look at them.

Wife Laurie Garvey (Amy Brenneman) who has been so shaken up she has joined and taken refuge into the local chapter of a mysterious cult known only as the Guilty Remnant, a cult of silent, non-talking people who all wear nothing but white and smoke, lead by Patti (Ann Dowd).

Son Mike Garvey (Chris Zylka) who is a recent college dropout and has joint up with a mysterious guru, Wayne (Paterson Joseph), who gives him a special assignment at pilot’s end to look after one the girls at their compound/house/community center/underground casino(?).

Lastly is the one who remains with him, straight-A daughter Jill (Margaret Qualley) who appears to be on a bit of a downward spiral given what’s happened with the family as she is being much different than daddy remembers her to be.

The performances from them are good, props to Brenneman who had to acted silent for the whole thing, and while I like Zylka, he wasn’t in it enough for me to form a true opinion about him, but Theroux as I said is compelling. He’s essentially the moral compass of this town, he’s trying to make sense of it all among everyone. Theroux really shows off capable range here, I’ve seen him mostly do comedy  and work in that genre, but he holds in own here. Showing off a broken family man trying to put the piece together. Its one episode and this is some the best TV acting I’ve seen all year. I like Qualley’s performance as since while we don’t see any of her previous life, its clear to see how much she’s changing as this event goes on.

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Lindelof and Perrotta really craft an intriguing story by doing the one thing you should do, show don’t tell. We aren’t spoonfeed heavy exposition, which is what I feared when hearing about it, because something like this, you think you’d hear something like that but the level of the writing makes this pilot outstanding. A status quo is expertly set up, give or take some slight pacing issues, it just feels fully realized, much like Lost was.

Yes, people are gonna bring up so much but you can’t help it because beyond the genre fans like me, Lost is a huge part of the current pop culture lexicon, it’ll always been memorable. I’m hoping Lindelof and Perrotta have a great endgame set in mind.

What also helps the status quo fit so well is the direction of Peter Berg who does this and next week’s episode. He’s one the producers of the show and his style really works here to help show a gritty place, but not that gritty. The opening really sucks you in and then the scene with Theroux and the dog is compelling. Even more so with how it comes back into play at the end of the pilot. Berg even makes a cameo himself in the pilot. His down and dirty style, complete with some handheld shaky came shots is very well rounded here.

We meet Laurie who wakes in G.R. dorm

A subplot involves Liv Tyler and the GR stalking her as we see that she’s a target of theirs as they seem to go after people for some reasons. This pilot develops as much as they can here, this will be expanded upon next week I hope, as well as Christopher Eccleston’s character as a former reverend that publishes his own tabloid. his brief scene here makes me very interested.

The Leftovers has been the talk of the summer TV season from its first announcement and it seems strong enough to hold itself up for one week at least.

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