The first season of HBO’s “The Leftovers” focused on a world rapt in guilt and sorrow because of an event similar to the Biblical Rapture. It was a combination of a deep sense of loss by those who one day woke to find out someone they loved was one of the 140 million people who disappeared with those who couldn’t understand the selection process.
Unlike forecast in the Bible, this version of a rapture had nothing to do with spiritual commitment. It was simply a matter of 2 percent of the population being taken away.
Damon Lindelof, one of minds behind all of the confusion and weirdness of “Lost,” is an executive producer of “The Leftovers.” He suggests that what appeared to be a bleak and depressing situation was nothing more than the series – as was the case of the book – offering an honest look at how people would react to such a world-changing event.
The second season, set to begin Sunday, Oct. 4, will continue to take the same honest approach but the characters will focus on what they still have.
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This is all being done in connection with Tom Perrotta, author of the novel on which the show is based.
“I think we can look at all of our familiar characters and say they have new opportunities and they have old burdens,” Perrotta says. “Season two is about how a family tries to come back together.”
The first season of “The Leftovers” was seen primarily through the eyes of police chief Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) as he experienced life after “the Departure” in Mapleton, New York.
The second season turns to Jarden, Texas – a town renamed “Miracle” after it was discovered no one departed. The town has become a major attraction for tourists and people who are convinced it can keep them safe.
Theroux saw his character split his time between helping his city and trying to connect with his family the first season. Now that he has left town to move to Jarden, things will change.
“With this move, obviously, he is not going to be able to take his badge with him. He’s not going to be able to take his responsibilities to the people with him. So it’s an interesting thing,” Theroux says. “I think he ends up eventually just coming completely up against himself, and a woman who he doesn’t even really know that well. It’s a very spontaneous kind of decision that they make together.”
It sort of forces him to confront all the things that he gets when you make those grand wishes for yourself.
Justin Theroux on his “The Leftovers” character Kevin Garvey in season 2
Perrotta explains that Miracle is geographically separate, which creates a sense of isolation that allows the community to proclaim their specialness.
“That will create certain kinds of vulnerability, certain kinds of arrogance and a very unstable situation that we’re trying to explore. Like how do communities set themselves apart, say, ‘We’re chosen’? What does that mean when you do that?,” he says.
The author has been working closely with the writers. He understands that a television series often has to go in its own direction and that’s what he’s seen with “The Leftovers.”
Perrotta doesn’t see the story being told as his story anymore.
“My novel, every word of that is mine. And I think that I decided to bring a story into this medium where it becomes a very collaborative venture. And if you collaborate with the right people, it’s a very exciting venture,” Perrotta says.
If you missed the first season of the HBO series, “The Leftovers: The Complete First Season” will be released on DVD Tuesday, Oct. 6.
- 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, HBO