Television

Thrown for a Loss

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The Leftovers, whose first season recently ended on HBO, takes a dark look at a world where 2 percent of the global population disappears suddenly with no explanation. If the first season is an indication, no explanation will come. The show, based on a novel by Tom Perrotta, is about emotionally devastating drama, not its framing supernatural mystery.

The program follows the Garvey family, led by Kevin (Justin Theroux), a police chief of a small New York town who is not sure if he's experiencing omens or losing his mind. His wife has left him to join a cult devoted to making sure people don't forget those who have gone. Authority figures like Kevin are impotent to control how people respond to the loss, leaving citizens to look within and to each other to work through their barren new world. -Scott Shackford