In the aftermath of Breaking Bad's conclusion and the season finales of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, I've been hopeful that a new original series would surface that might become destination viewing. The Leftovers certainly illustrates potential.
The pilot was interesting and artful, with solid performances by Justin Theroux and Margaret Qualley anchoring a story about the sudden disappearance of 140 million souls. The disappearance (and the nature of who went missing) is a mystery, and the story picks up three years afterward. The pilot was riddled with phony news reports and debates on whether the disappearance is a spiritual or scientific event (and yes, that Gary Busey gag delivers), adding some keen snark and welcome authenticity to the piece.
There's a cult comprised of silent smokers (I'd like to see them stalking the white walkers, actually, in an alliterative face-off) that seem to be a fly in the ointment for everyone else hoping to move beyond the loss of their loved ones. The conflict inside the city felt contrived in some places (compounded by Amy Brenneman's laconic, zombie-eyed turn as Laurie; sheesh, lady!), but I liked the scenes with the young people attempting to pick up and move on.
Then there's the mystery of the dogs. "These aren't our dogs," Dean drawls, and they certainly don't appear to be. Those are some real danged killing machines, if the pilot is any indication.
All in all, I'm intrigued...