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Leftovers: Season 1, The

Warner Bros. // Unrated // October 6, 2015
List Price: $44.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted October 19, 2015 | E-mail the Author
The Leftovers Blu-ray Review

The Leftovers is an HBO series from creators Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek, Tomorrowland, Prometheus) and Tom Perrotta (novelist of Little Children, Election, and The Leftovers). This drama series revolves around the lives of the citizens of Mapleton, New York following the devastating worldwide event in which millions worldwide vanished in the blink of an eye. The series is executive produced by creators Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrotta and directors Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) & Mimi Leder (Deep Impact), The Leftovers takes place three years following the sudden departure of more than 100 people in Mapleton.

Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) is police chief to the community of Mapleton. The town is falling apart following the events of the sudden departure. Many citizens have left behind their ordinary lives and joined a cult aimed at reminding the town of the sudden departures. One such member of the cult is Kevin's wife Laurie Garvey (Amy Brenneman). The event has left the community devastated even three years after the departure.

Kevin is the father of daughter Jill Garvey (Margaret Qualley) and son Tom Garvey (Chris Zylka). Jill becomes a rebellious teenager dealing with the loss of her mother to the cult. Tom has left the family to aid a different cult with a leader who promises to take away the pain left by the sudden departures. Kevin is trying to help his family come back together while also trying to piece things together for the suffering community of Mapleton.

Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston) is a pastor with almost no one left to preach to. Few individuals continue to go to church in Mapleton. Matt faces the potential loss of his church and tries to save it while spreading newsletters to the community about the departed. His sister is Nora Durst (Carrie Coon), who works for a government agency which interviews those who lost family in the sudden departures. Nora lost her entire family in the sudden departure.

The community is shaken by the growing cult. Lucy Warburton (Amanda Warren)  is the mayor of Mapleton and she believes that the community is ready to move on. Yet the cult, which is led by Patti Levin (Ann Dowd), is continuing to cause problems. Protests continue and the cult keeps growing. Meg Abbott (Liv Tyler) is a dissatisfied citizen who decides to join the cult (which aims to not let anyone forget the sudden departures). Members of the cult wear white, smoke, and refuse to speak to anyone. They only communicate by writing notes.

The series is in-part a mystery about what happened to those who disappeared in the sudden departures. Was it the rapture? Was there an alien force? Is it something else entirely? This element of the series is a backdrop of the storytelling but it is not the central focus of the storytellers. Though the series is full of mystery The Leftovers is primarily a character-driven series about how an event like the sudden departures affects a community devastated by the loss of so many family members and friends.

The Leftovers is an incredibly well produced series. The series features excellent score music by Max Richter (The Lunchbox, Waltz with Bashir). The cinematography by Todd McMullen (The Newsroom, Friday Night Lights) is beautiful and well-suited to the storytelling. The head costume designer is Amy Stofsky (Mulholland Dr.), who gives the cast an array of strong costumes. The head of production design is Diane Lederman (The Trade), who gives The Leftovers a superbly cinematic quality.

The performances from the ensemble cast are absolutely terrific. Justin Theroux is exceptional as Kevin Garvey. Theroux gives one of the best performances on the entire series. Amy Brenneman excels as Laurie Garvey. Her performance is both a testament to the high quality of the writing and to her acting ability as it's not until episode 9 (of 10) that she utters a single line of dialogue (as her character is a part of the cult which only communicates by notes). Christopher Eccleston shines as the pastor and has a standout episode with episode 3 of the season. Ann Dowd delivers a dark and riveting performance as the cult-leader. Carrie Coon is exceptional as Nora Durst. Liv Tyler is also a strong addition to the cast as Meg Abbott. The Leftovers has a stellar cast and they deliver excellent performances throughout.

Created and written by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers is an impressively written series which is simultaneously mysterious, character-driven, and thematically rich. The series finds a balance between being strange in an offbeat manner and being a more grounded dramatic story. Though the series is a dark one, the writers explore deep themes about family, religion, and more throughout the season. Lindelof co-wrote 9 of the 10 episodes and excels as the showrunner.

The series features direction by Mimi Leder (Deep Impact, Pay it Forward), Carl Franklin (Out of Time), and Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom). The directing is a good match to the writing quality. The Leftovers has a strongly cinematic style and the directing is impressive throughout.

The Leftovers is a compellingly written series with an incredible ensemble cast. The series is a impressive drama with some sci-fi elements. The mystery of the series continues to unfold. It certainly is an impressive and worthwhile series which is worth a look for fans of either the novel written by Tom Perrotta or screenwriter Damon Lindelof. The series is impeccably produced and builds to an emotionally resonant season finale.

The Blu-ray:


The Leftovers arrives on Blu-ray with a generally stunning presentation in the original television broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen. The 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded image is quite impressive with great color reproduction, clarity, and depth. The image is remarkable: this is certainly a wonderful high-def presentation with great cinematography by Todd McMullen.


The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is impressive as well. This release has a quality lossless audio presentation. The presentation features great bass, dialogue reproduction, and overall sound quality. This series has an immersive sound design which is well presented on this excellent release.

The release includes optional French, Spanish, German, and Italian dubbed audio presentations. Subtitles are provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing), French, and Spanish.


This releases includes a Digital HD UV code.

Audio Commentary on the series pilot with creators/writers Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta and on the season finale with creators/writers Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta and director Mimi Leder.

Making The Leftovers (29 min.) is a behind-the-scenes making of featurette about the production of season one.

I Remember: A Season One Conversation with Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta (15 min.) features a discussion between the series head-writers and creators about the series themes, storylines, and creation.

Living Reminders: The Guilty Remnant (9 min.) is a featurette about the cult group formed in the series following the departures.

Beyond the Book: Season 2 (4 min.) is a short featurette with discussion from the series writers and stars about the end of season one and what to expect from season two.

Final Thoughts:

The Leftovers is a compelling sci-fi drama from writers Damon Lindelof (Lost) and Tom Perrotta (who wrote the novel The Leftovers). The series features exceptional performances from a large ensemble cast. The direction is excellent throughout. This is a superb HBO drama which is well worth seeking out.

This Blu-ray release features strong PQ/AQ and a small selection of supplements. Fans of the series should consider this a release well worth owning. Season 2 is currently airing on HBO.

Highly Recommended.

Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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Highly Recommended

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