This HBO show is difficult to pin down. Part magic realism, part commentary on modern society, a study of painful loss and existentialism, it is all these things and so much more. Based on a novel by Tom Perrotta (which I have not read) and counting among its show-runners Damon Lindelof, one hopes the creators won't leave us "Lost" when all is said and done (like they've been known to do). This show aims for "big moments" and actually manages to hit them more often than not. HBO definitely took a chance on this one, all to the benefit of us viewers.
On one fateful October 14, 140 million people, two percent of the earth's population, simultaneously disappear from the planet. Why they were chosen, where they went, what it all means, those are some of the questions their loved ones are left to deal with. As the series kicks off, we are three years after the "departure". The story focuses on events taking place in a fictional town, Mapleton NY. One of the main plot twists revolves around a nihilistic cult, the Guilty Remnants, whose members smoke incessantly and have adopted some sort of vow of silence. Their motives are not clear, and yet they seem to be well funded and have a strong sense of purpose (despite said nihilism).
Personally I found this show to be exceptional and compelling. The cast is phenomenal, the music unsettling. It does not make for easy viewing and yet I can't wait for season two to begin. Season one seems to have pretty much covered the story of the novel, and the next season will be entirely original material written for HBO. One more well earned feather in their cap.