“The Leftovers,” the provocative and spooky HBO post-Rapture series debuts tonight and the show had its big premiere in Austin, Texas, ahead of the shift and change for this season, from Upstate New York to Jasper, Texas. The premiere was at the historic Paramount Theater. “The Leftovers” star and newlywed Justin Theroux walked the red carpet with bride Jennifer Aniston for the first time together since their wedding in August.
This season “The Leftovers” pivots on an epochal event known as The Sudden Departure, the mysterious disappearance of two percent of the world’s population. Three years after the mass vanishing, the good citizens of Mapleton, N.Y. (along with quite a few not-so-good ones) spend much of their time grieving for lost ones, coping with aftereffects of the phenomenon, and/or trying to figure out just what the hell happened.
Meanwhile, Mapleton, New York police chief Kevin Garvey (Theroux) and his newly formed makeshift family — relocate to Jarden, a Texas town that has been rechristened Miracle because no one there disappeared during The Sudden Departure.
“It’s a new chapter,” executive producer and director Mimi Leder promises. “Last season was about loss. This season is about love and faith. And a new beginning. But it can’t always be perfect. We always hope that for a new beginning. But that’s not always the case.”
Theroux sees the change of location as an echo of the attitude that informs classic movie western plots: Anytime you want to reinvent yourself, you just toss your belongings into your saddlebags and ride somewhere over the distant horizon. “Everyone would love to think that at a certain point, they could just pack the kids into the car, and throw a lit matchbook into the house, and go somewhere and start over,” Theroux said. “But in this case, I think it’s still to be determined whether Kevin is running toward something that’s more hopeful, or running away from something that he’s terrified of.”
“We wanted to kind of create the feeling of the Garveys being on someone else’s TV show,” said series co-creator and executive producer Damon Lindelof. “To make them feel like they were the new family moving in. And I felt like, through the perspective of the storytelling, who’s going to feel like the new family on the block? If we started with the Garveys moving into Miracle, it would feel like the Murphys were just the new family that they lived next door to.”
The season two premiere of “The Leftovers” airs at 9 p.m. ET Sunday on HBO.