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The Leftovers, Justin Theroux

Van Redin/HBO

The Leftovers is back and dare we say, better than ever? Damon Lindelof's beautiful and emotionally gripping drama series returns to HBO Oct. 4, and after seeing the first two episodes, it's clear that season two will leave fans plenty to think about—and obsess over—and also potentially reel in whole new faction of fans. 

Veering off the book on which the series was originally based, Lindelof has moved the series to "Miracle," Texas, where we find Kevin (Justin Theroux), Nora (Carrie Coon), Jill (Margaret Qualley) and baby Lily. It feels like a fresh start, and so very earned after what the characters went through at the end of season one. The move has reinvigorated the series, and star Justin Theroux tells E! News he has been loving season two so far. 

"Damon thought long and hard about what would be best for the show," Theroux explains, "and we sort of shot out Mapleton, New York. It literally and figuratively has been burned to the ground. And so also, to engender some kind of hope for these people, we go to a place called Miracle where there were zero departures, [and it] hopefully alleviates some of the pressure that has been put on these people. Although we learn quickly that Miacle has its own subset of problems."

The Leftovers, Regina King, Jovan Adepo

Van Redin/HBO

In Miracle, a k a Jarden, Texas, in the season premiere, we meet a family of new core characters—played by Regina King (now the proud owner of an Emmy!), Kevin Carroll, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Jovan Adepo—who are instantly likeable...and suspicious. 

"It's really been fun pinging off all the new characters," Theroux explains, "because a lot of our other characters are back, too, but to have different people to interact with creates different themes we can explore that are't sad, and aren't so how and why, and get at some of the bigger issues in life. The purpose of living a life. And the purpose of having hope."

The tone of the season is also a bit brighter—without losing the show's emotional core. "It's strangely a more hopeful season," Theroux says. "The world has kind of opened up in a fantastic way and it's a sort of a big sky way and we're shooting in Texas. But it's also sort of minimized and completely shrunken down because it's in this petri dish of a town that didn't lose anyone in the departure. It's a wonderfully strange and mysterious place to inhabit."

"Wonderfully strange"—just about the most accurate phrase for what we've seen so far. You fans will get to see for yourself when The Leftovers returns Oct. 4.