The haunting trailer for The Leftovers (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. Sunday, HBO) sets the scene perfectly: A busy mom, on the phone, secures her fussy infant son in his car seat before buckling up and heading home. As she details the day’s schedule on the phone, the baby cries in the background. Mom hushes and coos, periodically extending a comforting hand to the back seat until … abrupt quiet. In this instance, the sudden absence of sound is just as frightening as a loud bang. And this creepy feeling of not knowing is a major factor in The Leftovers.
Adapted from Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel of the same name (by Lost’s Damon Lindelof), The Leftovers follows the events that ensue after a worldwide, rapture-like happening causes two percent of the planet’s population to disappear. With no warning, no explanation and no way to retrieve missing loved ones — from babies to the elderly — the suburban community of Mapleton turns to different methods of coping with the event, three years later.
Some try to move on, distracting themselves from the pain with sex or drugs; others devote their time to solving this mystery or preparing for what may come next. Then there’s the Guilty Remnant, a cult-like group that takes a vow of silence and believes God saved the innocents and the remaining 98 percent are guilty souls.
Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Liv Tyler and Ann Dowd round out a promising cast of a show with all the elements to become another successful HBO drama.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 25
Wilfred (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., FXX) – It’s the final season of Wilfred, but does that mean we’ll finally get a definitive answer about what’s going on in Ryan’s head? The dark comedy will probably leave viewers scratching our heads (as Wilfred scratches his ass) through the very end. In back-to-back episodes this week, Ryan tries to make amends, and a camping trip leads to disastrous consequences.
THURSDAY JUNE 26
Hey Bartender (8:25 p.m., Showtime) – Uh, don’t you mean mixologist? This doc charts the craft cocktail comeback and changes in nightlife trends over the years.
FRIDAY JUNE 27
Girl Meets World (Series Premiere, 9:45 p.m., Disney Channel) — TGIF! Cory and Topanga (Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel) are back with a daughter at the center of this family comedy. Swap Boy Meets World’s suburban setting for New York City and Mr. Feeny for a grown-up Cory (who’s also his daughter Riley’s seventh grade history teacher) and you’ve got this adorably pre-packaged nostalgiafest.
SUNDAY JUNE 29
True Blood (9 p.m., HBO) – Arlene, Holly and Nicole find a familiar face who could potentially free them from their Fangtasia hellhole; Jason and Sookie head to Saint Alice, a neighboring town that was home to the young woman Sookie found dead in the woods. If you thought Bon Temps was in shambles, wait ’til you see this ghost town.
Halt and Catch Fire (10 p.m., AMC) -– Gordon and his crew celebrate a small but important milestone with the machine, but Joe is unimpressed. A new manager rubs Cameron the wrong way (shocking!) and Joe’s father enters the picture.
MONDAY JUNE 30
112 Weddings (9 p.m., HBO) – Just in time for the season of nuptials, wedding photographer Doug Block reconnects with couples he’s shot over the past 20 years to hear their thoughts on marriage and love for this documentary.
TUESDAY JULY 1
Tyrant (10 p.m., FX) – Barry halts plans to return to the States in order to help his brother.
Drunk History (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., Comedy Central) – It’s time for another history lesson from Comedy Central’s resident inebriated professors. This season begins in Montgomery, Ala., for “lectures” on pioneering chemist Percy Julian and boxing champ Joe Louis and his historical fights against Max Schmeling.
Nathan For You (Season Premiere, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Canadian comic and “business expert” Nathan Fielder returns with another season of bad business advice, deadpan delivery and supreme satire. If “Dumb Starbucks” rings a bell, you’re familiar with Fielder’s work, but he’s far more than a barista-prankster with a big budget. In the premiere, Nathan convinces a mechanic to offer lie detector tests with each estimate and a realtor to specialize in ghost-free properties.
CONTACT JAC KERN : [email protected] or @jackern