HBO serves up ‘The Leftovers’ for 2015 Emmys

HBO’s “The Leftovers” marks the return of Damon Lindelof’s to television for the first time since he penned the 2010 finale to “Lost.” As head writer and executive produce of that ACB hit, he reaped 10 Emmy nominations, sharing in the 2005 win for Best Drama Series.

Will this new drama bring him back to the Emmys?

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Based on Tom Perrotta’s book of the same name, “The Leftovers” begins three years after a rapture-like event known as the “Sudden Departure.” Perrotta, who reaped an Oscar nomination for adapting his book “Little Children” in 2006, serves as a writer and executive producer on “The Leftovers” under Lindelof as showrunner. Another executive producer is lead director Peter Berg, who reaped Emmy nominations for directing and producing “Friday Night Lights.”

Critics have commented on how the show is unmatched on television in its bleakness. Even those who have prasied the program note that it is a hard sell for audiences. Indeed, as Washington Post scribe Hank Stuever concluded in his laudatory review, “People watch television for all sorts of reasons, but I’m not sure they watch it to only feel worse.”

The ensemble of 14 series regulars is led by Justin Theroux (a SAG ensemble nominee for “Six Feet Under”), Amy Brenneman (five-time Emmy nominee for “Judging Amy” and “NYPD Blue”), Christopher Eccleston (International Emmy winner for “Accused”) and Liv Tyler (SAG ensemble winner for “The Lord of the Rings”). For Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter, “most of this cast is just marvelous in every frame” while Sara Smith of the Kansas City Star declared, “Theroux is flat-out fantastic and Emmy-worthy.”

While the paycaster already has five other Emmy contenders on the drama side — “Boardwalk Empire,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Newsroom,” “True Blood” and “True Detective” — don’t count out “The Leftovers” breaking through, especially in below-the-line categories like casting, cinematography (by Michael Slovis of “Breaking Bad”) and music composition. As Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair observed, “The show is nicely shot, with a matte-finish stateliness and lyrical camera work, and is gorgeously scored. A lot of the music is Max Richter and his mournful piano ellipses give the series a grandeur and depth of feeling.” 

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