The Leftovers The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews season one of this eclectic TV drama that revolves around mysterious disappearances, world-wide, and specifically follows a group of people who are left behind in the suburban community of Mapleton, who must begin to rebuild their lives after the loss of more than 100 people.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

88

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2014
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 558 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Justine Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Ann Dowd, Chirs Eccelston, Scott Glen, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Carrie Coon, Emily Meade, Michael Gaston, Max Carver, Annie Q
Directed by: Various
Music by: Max Richter
Written by: Damon Lindelhof & Tom Perrotta
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 6, 2015

“Grace period is over”

My Take:

Based on the 2011 bestselling novel by Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers is seen primarily through the eyes of police chief Kevin Garvey, played by Justin Theroux, as he experiences life post “the Departure.” After what can only be explained as an instance similar to the biblical rapture, the people of Mapleton, New York, are suddenly shaken to their core as many of their loved ones disappear into thin air. With roughly 140 million people actively missing — 2% of the world’s population — the world starts to question everyone and everything. Will people turn to cynicism, paranoia, and cult-like fanaticism, in order to survive? The eerie and thought-provoking series leaves viewers riveted, second-guessing theories from episode to episode.

What if—in an instant, right now, with no explanation–a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, walking one foot in front of the other, as we did before with our world turned upside down?

That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure on October 14th, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened–not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.

Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s new Chief of Police, struggles to keep the peace while fending off his own demons that could seemingly toss him off the rails at any moment. Kevin’s own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne. Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be.

Others in the close nit upstate New York town try to cope with matters in their own way, like Reverand Matt Jamison, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community, or the cult like group known as the Guilty Remnant, who consider themselves “living reminders” to all those that have remained behind after October 14th. Lastly are the remaining inhabitants of Mapleton, most of whom still reel from the tragedy and struggle daily to move beyond it and make a fresh start.

I wasn’t familiar with this series or the book but the press release intrigued me so I requested for review. Conceptually speaking The Leftovers is an interesting character study that examines the people in a small town that are left to cope with a sudden, tragic, and inexplicable loss. The show is compelling to watch as its thematic elements and eclectic storyline raises flags, exceeds boundaries and intentionally leaves integral questions unanswered. The heart and soul of the show rests in its characters which are earthy and complex. The depiction of the coping mechanisms employed by the primary characters, which is interspersed with the drama/melodrama innate to their flaws/troubles prior to the “Departure”, on top of the strife and looming questions afterward is rewarding.

I found the integration of the various subplots to be interesting as in nearly every case they are somehow tied to the main plot. Several characters over the course of season one get their own backstory although none proved notably eye opening. While I liked the show, I found its lack of foundation to be frustrating at times. I understood that the unanswered questions surrounding the Departure, the cult known as the Guilty Remnant and even Holy Wayne’s abilities/calling were thematically intentional to support the air of mystery. However things like Kevin’s blackouts, the return of the town’s dogs now relegated to vicious packs, relentlessly and inexplicably hunted by the unknown “Dean” and the house wrecking deer just happen without explanation. Watching the show with my wife we both commented that the narrative’s flow suffered at times.

Luckily interest remained high as the building storyline headed toward the events of the finale. The consistency of the shows elements remained throughout, right into the final episode. I enjoyed how season one ended which clearly left the door open for season two. The series has been renewed for a second season which aired on HBO on October 4, 2015. We are invested inThe Leftovers and have opted to see how things progress in its second season.

The Leftovers: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray includes all 10, hour-long episodes:

  1. Pilot
  2. Penguin One, Us Zero
  3. Two Boats and a Helicopter
  4. B.J. and the A.C
  5. Gladys
  6. Guest
  7. Solace for Tired Feet
  8. Cairo
  9. The Garveys at Their Best
  10. The Prodigal Son Returns

Parental Guide:

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

The Leftovers: The Complete First Season comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.

By choice I would say that The Leftovers isn’t bright or overly colorful. The chromatic palette consists mainly of cooler tones and muted secondary hues with the occasional interjection of primary colors that don’t offer much in the way of visual stimulation. This makes for a rougher visual style that works quite well with the show’s thematic tone. Resolution is excellent but the nature of the photography isn’t always lent to the high gloss definition that provides an infinite sense of depth. There are many instances where detail is clearly resolvable with discerning visual perspective and rich clarity. On the other hand there are times where delineation and sharpness is less tangibly defining. Close ups tend to be outstanding and offer plenty of appreciable refinement in the physical features and weave of the fabric in the clothing worn by the cast. Contrast is stable over the course of the presentation and blacks, while not inky, have good dynamic range and are gradationally satisfying. I didn’t note any overt signs of video related anomalies and thought that this presentation as a whole was excellent.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound like the video quality is quite good. Dynamics are robust and defining without being strident or edgy. Dialogue is rendered with appreciable tonal expression and excellent room penetration through the center channel speaker. The front soundstage is diffused with notable separation and articulated detail. The presentation makes ample use of the surround platform. At times it opens up quite nicely to create an involving listening environment that contains a mix of directional and ambient sounds. Bass response doesn’t reach subterranean levels however it appropriately supports the source elements and provides a tight, punchy low end.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Making of The Leftovers – 29 minute featurette
  • Audio commentary on the pilot and finale episodes
  • (HD) I remember: A season one conversation with Damon Lindelhof & Tom Perrotta – 15 minutes
  • (HD) Living reminders: The Guilty Remnant – 9 minute featurette
  • (HD) Beyond the book: Season 2 – 4 minutes
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Based on the book by Tom Perrotta The Leftovers is an eclectic, character driven TV drama that isn’t wholly gratifying from a narrative standpoint but proves rewarding nonetheless due to the total sum of its parts. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video mated with a decent supplemental package that offers insights from the cast and creative team. If you’re looking for a TV series that takes the road less traveled give The Leftovers a try.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS PC12-NSD
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package