Today we’ve got a TV review from a new-ish FlixChatter contributor Dave W.. who gave us the excellent write-up of Broadchurch last October. Thanks Dave!
The Sundance Channel brought over the fabulous, 8-episode, French series The Returned (Les Revenants) which aired in November and December. To say it was the best new thing I saw aired on US TV, other than Broadchurch, last year is an understatement. The less you know going in the better so I won’t be giving too much away.
The story is set in a small French mountain town where people from the past suddenly start showing up on the doorsteps of their families and loved ones. The problem is they don’t know they’re dead. The reactions from the living run from thinking their prayers have been answered to the abject horror of seeing a ghost. The mystery of what is really going on is what makes this series really compelling. There is so much more going on here than just what you see in the first few episodes but I’ll leave that for you to discover.
The show by Fabrice Gobert is a supernatural thriller that plays out more like a drama. The closest thing I can compare it to is Twin Peaks without all the wackiness. There’s even a diner, a roadhouse and mountain peaks peering out in the background. I can’t help but wonder if it’s a nod to David Lynch’s groundbreaking show. The characters are so well-drawn out and memorable that you really get wrapped up in the story especially with having unfamiliar French actors deliver such exquisite, understated performances. Add some truly beautiful, dark cinematography that would make DP, Gordon “The Prince of Darkness” Willis proud and atmospheric music from the Scottish post-rock band Mogwai and you have the winner of the International Emmy for Best Drama which sits atop of Metacritic’s TV scores with an aggregate score of 92%.
Ted S., I remember you having some frustration with a certain AMC series that just wasn’t living up to its promise. Well Ted… this is the real deal. What else can I say? The Returned is creepy, dark, intelligent, deliberately paced series that is so compulsively watchable it’s bound to become your next TV obsession.
The Returned can be found on Sundance OnDemand, Amazon Video or Blu-ray/DVD on February 11. I can’t recommend enough seeking out this version before ABC’s version comes out in March entitled Resurrection. I can’t see ABC even coming close to delivering what The Returned was able to achieve so don’t miss out on this remarkable gem. It defies expectations while rethinking what a series about the undead can be.
Check out the trailer:
Have you seen The Returned? Well, what did you think?