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HBO's 'The Leftovers' centered on religious and moral themes

In its new family drama, "The Leftovers," about life after a rapture-like event, HBO offers a look at how to do right in spite of unanswered questions.
Kelsey Dallas, Deseret News Modified: July 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm •  Published: July 7, 2014
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Although HBO is famous for shows such as "Game of Thrones" and "True Blood" that overflow with sex scenes and bloodshed, the network's latest series, "The Leftovers," is centered on more religious themes.

The premiere episode introduced viewers to a world recovering from a rapture-like event. The Washington Post reported, "Unlike many other shows, which hold out ambiguity and flexibility as the highest marks of ethical sophistication," the show brings "conventional morality back to cable."

"When two percent of the world's population disappears without explanation, the world struggles to come to terms with what happened," HBO's Web site explains. Set three years after the disappearance, "The Leftovers" tells "the story of the people who didn't make the cut."

Based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, the series does not directly link the disappearance of millions of people to the rapture — the belief held by some Christians that righteous people will disappear from the sinful earth on a day of judgment. However, "the disappearance is mostly attributed to some kind of religious event, and the show deals with how life might be afterward for those left behind — with all the grief, guilt and confusion that something like that would entail," Time reported.

The Washington Post highlighted the show's ability to make viewers live in the mystery and pain of the sudden departure. "In 'The Leftovers,' there is nothing to distract the survivors, or us, from the absence of those 140 million gone. There are no battles to fight, palace intrigues to circumvent or serial killers to grapple with. There is only life, but with holes in it, hours once spent with other people that now need to be filled."

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