“The Leftovers” first trailer – welcome back to TV Damon Lindelof

The Entertainment Weekly Fall Television Preview issue has traditionally been one of my most anticipated magazines of the year (since 1996!). Although increasingly less potent in recent years now that television has morphed into a twelve month release schedule, when my favorite television show debuted in 2004, it was everything.

There were many reasons why I chose to add Lost to my VCR recording schedule (it wasn’t that long ago) as informed by EW’s coverage – I had been an avid fan of one of JJ Abrams other properties (Alias) and was excited to see Terry O’Quinn on another series, I had a fondness for Matthew Fox from his Party of Five days, I had a fondness for Harold Perrineau from his Oz days, I loved the “plane crash on a deserted island” concept – but not one reason involved an excitement for a then relatively unknown (unless Nash Bridges was your jam) writer/producer named Damon Lindelof. This was soon to change. With JJ Abrams quickly venturing into other lens flaring projects, Lost quickly became the adored creative child of Lindelof and showrunner partner Carlton Cuse. Although not a flawless experience by any means (the entire Tailies subplot ended up being irrelevant, time travel gave the audience more headaches and nosebleeds than the characters experiencing it, that ending), Lost remains the most prolific and meaningful television journey I have taken to date and I have Lindelof and Cuse (with some Jack Bender stalwart direction) to thank for being such passionate, compassionate, and trusted storytellers.

After Lost closed its tale in 2010, Lindelof and Cuse both took a necessary break from television. Cuse came back last winter with Bates Motel (a show that has been sitting in my DVR queues for far too long – according to most critics, this is my loss). Lindelof dabbled with the screenwriting of classic properties (Prometheus and Star Trek Into Darkness) and of properties that no one was pining for (Cowboys and Aliens…oops.). At long last this summer, Lindelof returns to the medium that made him a star as the co-showrunner of “a new dramatic series” from HBO, The Leftovers. Based on Tom Perotta’s book (Perotta will be the other showrunner) about a mysterious rapture-like event and how it affects the suburban community of Mapleton. If Bo knows and TNT knows drama, HBO knows (among other things) how to craft a scintillating trailer. Behold the first full-length trailer for The Leftovers (debuting June 29):

There is just so much to like…

  • The use of James Blake’s soaring anthem “Retrograde” is tremendous.

  • Justin Theroux (Mr. Jennifer Aniston) has a Matthew Fox-like gravitas (before he got really angry and strange tattoos on Lost) as the lead character policeman guy.

  • The haunting beginning scene involving the ramifications of people disappearances (especially that beautiful baby Sam) feels eerily like the Lost pilot (this is a great thing).

  • I have never been one to judge, but Amy Brenneman’s white-dressed group plays like a neo-Others.

  • Other pilots “directed by Peter Berg?” Friday Night Lights.

  • Liv Tyler is back on television (it has been a long time since Aerosmith’s “Crazy” music video).

  • HBO allows for more realistic content (pay cable!) and if the trailer is any indication, Mr. Lindelof is taking appreciated advantage.

  • Shows are not often built on both a central mystery and a compelling ensemble of characters (they do not often get both right). The enthralling trailer seems to succeed at both.

Game of Thrones is holding strongly to my “Lost Favorite Current Television Show Championship Belt,” but the time has come for some competition. May it be The Leftovers. In Damon Lindelof we trust.

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