07/03/2014 04:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Leftovers Recap: 'They're Not Our Dogs'

Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 1, Episode 1 of HBO's The Leftovers, titled "Pilot."


Apologies for taking my sweet time to write about The Leftovers, but it took me a bit to form an opinion. I had no idea how intense it was going to be. That said, I can't wait for more.

Here's what we're dealing with in case you've missed it: we pick up in a very normal town three years after October 14th, when a Rapture-like event just disappears most of the population. Babies crying in cars, dogs, dads. Just up and gone.

The town is trying to collectively feel...something. A congressional hearing plays on the televisions: no one knows what the heck happened. And just in case you're worried this going all "Under the Dome" on you, it's not. It's complex, and better, kind of spooky. It's HBO after all.

Reasons to Watch This Weekend

1) Family Drama/Justin Theroux
Our protagonist is the chief of police and spends a lot of time with his shirt off mooning for his wife, Judge Amy, er, Amy Brenneman. She didn't disappear, she just joined one of the random cults that pop up in the aftermath of Oct. 14th. His son won't return his calls because he's off with another spiritual guru and his daughter is perfectly teenage -- a little snarky and a little violent. The main plots sort of stem off of them, making it easy to catch onto what's going. Plus, they seem like well rounded characters and are played well.

2) Cults!
What is it with our recent obsession with end of the world plots with loads of moral subtext? And of course, in the aftermath of trauma, here in America we go woo-woo pseudo spiritual guidance. I'm thinking Under the Dome, Revolution, Resurrection, even The Following.

What's good about The Leftovers is that it's not on a network, so we can explore the weirdness, the ickiness, and the violence that comes with groups with one leader. Like I said, Amy Brenneman is in one that wears all white, smokes cigarettes incessantly, doesn't talk, and recruits (that's how Liv Tyler comes in). I'm so confused about them in a good way. I need more.

Then there's the pool party guru who heals people with his presence. Equally creepy.

3) Ambiance.
It's just a pretty show to watch. If you're hankering for the cinematography of True Detective with a little exaggerated americana like old school True Blood, this is your summer indulgence. It's just a pretty show to watch. And violent. Lots of dog blood in the pilot. It can only go downhill from here.

Let me know what you think of the pilot, where it's going, and whether it's ok to objectify the chief of police. Hit me up in the comments or @karenfratti.

"The Leftovers" airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.