A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Leftovers explores the psychological and emotional fallout that plagues a small town in the wake of an unexplained global event. The overall tone is quite dark, with violent imagery that runs the gamut from shootings and beatings to self-inflicted punishments such as burning and choking. There's also simulated sex of all sorts with partial nudity (bare buttocks, for example) and unbleeped usage of words including "f--k," "s--t," and "c--t." Social drinking and drug use is fairly common -- among teens, too -- and a key group of characters smoke cigarettes heavily.
What's the story?
Three years after a strange phenomenon saw 2 percent of the world's population essentially vanish into thin air, THE LEFTOVERS are sifting through what remains of humanity and trying to make sense of what happened. Among them are small-town chief of police and father Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), whose wife (Amy Brenneman) joined a mysterious cult and left him to raise their teenage daughter (Margaret Qualley); a soon-to-be married woman (Liv Tyler) who's being courted by cult leaders; and a charismatic guru (Paterson Joseph) who claims he can hug people's pain away.
Is it any good?
Based on Tom Perrotta's bestselling novel of the same name, The Leftovers puts a sobering spin on the popular post-apocalyptic genre, eschewing action to explore the remnants of a shattered society riddled with pain. But that pain is so effectively communicated through disturbing visuals -- from a pack of roving dogs mauling a defenseless deer to partying teens pressing red-hot forks into their skin -- that the series is a total downer, and some won't be able to stomach the despair.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Leftovers and its generally dark take on humanity. Do you think it's accurate or deeply exaggerated? How do you think the world would react in the wake of a similar event?
How does The Leftovers compare to the Tom Perrotta novel upon which it's based? What changes, if any, were made to the plot to adapt it for television? What are the benefits -- and potential drawbacks -- of having the author involved in the writing process?
How accurately does The Leftovers portray teen culture? Can teens handle the content, or is it better suited for adult viewers?
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.