There’s never been a TV show quite like “The Leftovers” and there may never be one again. Sure, it shares elements of other near-post-apocalyptics like “Revolution,” quasi-religious ontological mindbenders like “The OA” and grief dramas like “The Returned,” but none were as devastating as “The Leftovers.”
The HBO show, for those who are unfamiliar, has a simple premise: 2% of the world’s population disappears at the exact same moment — the Sudden Departure — leaving everyone looking for answers. A plucky band of survivors in Mapleton, N.Y., led by police chief Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), the town’s unluckiest survivor, Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) — who lost her husband and two kids — and Nora’s reverend brother, Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston) set out on an unlikely quest to understand the universe, while butting heads with the Guilty Remnant — a white-clad cult of cigarette-smoking nihilists led by Patti (Ann Dowd), Meg (Liv Tyler) and Garvey’s estranged wife, Laurie (Amy Brenneman).
For Season 2, Kevin and crew head to Miracle, Texas, a town where no one has disappeared, and we meet John (Kevin Carroll), Erika Murphy (Regina King) and their two kids. Season 3 takes place mostly in Australia, where Kevin’s father (Scott Glenn) is trying to stop a biblical-like flood.
The show is taut, frustrating and grim — and like creator Damon Lindelof’s previous beloved-but-flawed series, “Lost,” it goes completely off the rails. But this time, the derailed train ends up somewhere achingly beautiful. You may not love “The Leftovers,” but in the end, you know you’re watching something utterly unique. These are the 10 best episodes that get us from point A to, well, somewhere on the quantum plane.