Reviews: HBO's 'The Leftovers' Makes a Solid, If Not Controversial Start

The reviews for David Lindelof’s The Leftovers - which depicts a world in recovery after the disappearance of 2% of its population - are in. And the critics are feeling positive, if not a little confused, by the first few episodes. 

Justin Theroux The Leftovers
Justin Theroux in The Leftovers

“The Sudden Departure” as it has become known in Lindelof’s universe, adapted from the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, leaves the residents of Mapletown in relative disarray. And while some claim it was the hand of God – The Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16, when the "dead in Christ" and "we who are alive and remain" will be "caught up in the clouds" to meet "the Lord in the air") the characters in this new HBO drama are just as lost as each other – faith or not faith. 

More: Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux Look Happy And In Love At "The Leftovers" Premiere [Pictures]

“Many will hate it,” suggests Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall. “But there will be viewers in whom it strikes a chord so deeply that they will feel themselves overwhelmed by it in the best possible way: not like they're drowning in the misery, but like it's teaching them a new way to breathe.”

Time’s James Poniewozik says, in his review: “Even the best version of The Leftovers, if it proves a complete creative success, will not be a show for everyone. Yet it believes fervently, messily, heartbreakingly, that even two percent of everyone means more than you can imagine.”

Tim Goodman believes this new HBO drama has the potential: “If Lindelof and Perrotta can somehow strike a balance of the human, emotional fallout while also delving into an explanation of the oddities involved in "the sudden departure," then The Leftovers could be one of the more riveting new series.

And finally, while not totally convinced, New York Magazine’s Matt Zoller says: “The first few episodes don’t showcase enough artistry to justify all the slogging and weeping, the bloodied faces and broken hearts. But I’d be lying if I said The Leftovers didn’t fascinate me.”

The Leftovers, starring Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Paterson Joseph premieres on HBO on June 29, 2014.


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