A The Returned Community
Monday 9:00 PM on Canal+

For ages and ages, the idea of the dead coming back to life was terrifying. Even before George Romero added brain-eating to the mix, cavemen would gather 'round their campfires and tell ghost stories about zombies. There's just something not right about switching from dead to undead, thank you very much, and until now, every generation of storyteller has understood that.

Pop culture gobbled up the undead idea, and the zombie trend hit its zenith with The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman's never-ending comic book and television series about the zombie apocalypse. While the show examines (or at least tries to examine) plenty of themes about humanity, there's one undeniable message: Zombies are totally scary!

But now word has arrived that A&E has gone ahead ordered 10 episodes of an American version of The Returned (a.k.a. Les Revenants), the excellent, not-quite-zombie series about the dead returning to life that SundanceTV imported from France last fall. Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) will produce the series along with True Blood's Raelle Tucker. The main difference between The Walking Dead and The Returned? The dead that come back to live are actually quite pleasant! Or at least as pleasant as they were when they died. 


Set in a small French town, The Returned shows us what happens when people who've died show up in the present day as though nothing has changed. It's emotional, it's thought-provoking, and it's beautiful. It has also firmly entrenched itself as the best series on television about the the dead returning to life and not eating people, and the way I see it, the only series we need on the imaginative-yet-narrow subject.

But as we know all too well, trends that've reached their saturation point often mutate into new strains, and television is currently suffering an outbreak of zombie shows featuring formerly dead people who just want to find their old high-school girlfriend or continue the childhood that was interrupted by a fatal bus crash. In addition to A&E's adaptation of The Returned, the second season of the original French series will air on SundanceTV, ABC's dead-are-back Resurrection has a great shot at returning for a second season next year, and NBC is developing Babylon Fields, a pilot that was actually in development at CBS in 2007 before—AHEM COUGH TERRIBLE PLAY ON WORDS ALERT—coming back to life at NBC. Unless NBC plans to dramatically change Babylon FIelds, all four of these shows feature the dead coming back to life and NOT eating the flesh of the living. 


I'm on my soapbox, people! One show about friendly formerly dead folks is enough, and we've already got it in The Returned: Original Flavor (which itself is an adaptation of the 2004 film Les Revenants). A&E's version will undoubtedly cling quite tightly to its source material's formula and allow people who are too lazy to read subtitles to get into the show. Resurrection is really only a shell of The Returned, and there's a reason that CBS passed on Babylon Fields seven years ago. Garbled, jumping-on-the-bandwagon shows have a knack for spreading much faster than the groundbreaking original they're trying to mimic, and in only two years, television is already in danger of running this idea into the ground. 

Guys, I believe that TV is better when it attempts to come up with creative new ideas instead of just relying on re-hashes, spin-offs, adaptations, "recognizable brand" shoehorn jobs, and trend pile-ons. Does that make me a dreamer? Maybe. While "traditional" zombies will always exist in the world of pop culture, the Scary Man-Eating Zombie is carved into the the Mt. Rushmore of Horror (alongside with vampires, werewolves, and slashers), and therefore will never overstay its welcome. But the idea that television could have FOUR series examining the philosophical impact of dead people coming back to life but not shredding the flesh of hapless humans is an insane and depressing blow to originality on television. 


QUESTIONS FOR YOU, DEAR READER

The Walking Dead is a massive ratings Gigantor that crushes its competition, so why are networks trying to copy a small, foreign, low-rated art-house series instead of The Walking Dead? EXPLAIN THIS TO ME!

– Do you think we need an American version of The Returned

– Do you think there are many more stories to tell about the dead returning as "normal" people?

– If you die and come back to life, will you look for your old high school sweetheart, or will you start biting people?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/19/2015

Season 2 : Episode 8

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What is the theme song to The Returned? I've searched everywhere online and can't find it. Does anyone know? Is A&E keeping it a secret until the premier?
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In the Flesh is really good, and there's no biting on that show. Not really.
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I do not believe we need a remake, we seldom need a US remake. I also believe that part of the US viewers are fed up with the violence, unnecessary fast pace, shallowness, fake reality and beauty (meaning that only the young and beautiful play in it) of US series. Many of the European series give more of a feel that we can relate to in some way instead that we 'would like to be' like in US shows. Don't get me wrong, I love many of the US shows, but they feel different.
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It is a little stupid to redo a French art house series ( though excellent) when The Walking Dead and World War Z are monster hits.
It's not that hard to make an apocalyptic sci-fi series (Revolution, Falling Skies etc) so why are we not seeing rip offs of The Walking Dead?
Zombie apocalypse books have really taken off recently too, but I have only seen a pilot of a Zombieland series and heard about another proposed series (I can't remember its name) to take advantage of the trend.

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I have been watching Resurrection, after I watched Les Revenants. There is nothing wrong with Resurrection so far, the story is well paced and compelling enough. Very similar story, same premises and rules in both universes. And what are we saying, that this is wrong? Wait... isn't there like a million vampire shows out there already? Would it be better if we had a second version of TWD, you know, with the traditional zombies? Why would that be better, I wonder? Yes it is the same premise twice and yes for me the first one was better, but this is ok for people that don't like subtitles, for example. One reason for this inclination towards "personal" zombies can be budget, just like that. Or maybe more people watch TWD for the "personal" pieces than the gore, against what Tim might think, you never know.
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The Returned wasnt that amazing - seriously it was ok, but not awesome. And if I only see the photo of Camille.. god she was annoying
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Good acting, wasn't it!
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For me, this raises the question: at what point does a trend, defined as a temporary change that fades over time, become a more permanent part of culture in general?

Are we really still at the stage where we consider an abundance of vampires, zombies, witches and werewolves (or any other supernatural entity for that matter) in television, film, novels, comic-books etc. a mere trend? I think it's safe to say that all of them have been common staples for storytelling ideas for quite some time, and that we should probably accept this and move on to a more pressing question: how can these ideas, that have been used many times before, be presented in a new and exciting way?
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TWD is not a good show, it baffles me why people are still watching.

A lot of shows never need American remakes, but ye still do 'em; so what does it matter what we think, huh?

The Returned did it perfectly. In fact, The Returned is infinitely better than Les Revenants (film), despite the film being it's source material.

If I came back from the dead, I would immediately begin to start trying to figure out what other superpowers I had.
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Tim dats just the way it is, the returned is enuf for me, but tv will be tv, we even hv zombie vamps on the up coming seasone of true blood, dats d way it goes
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The amount of whining over remakes in this thread is sad, but also a little bit amusing. Sometimes remakes work. Sometimes they don't. In either case nobody is forcing you to watch it. And it's popularity can even help the original.

How does an adaptation, even if it turns out horrible, in any way diminish the original? If it's as good as you say it will stand on its own.
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I like remakes! I am watching right now Les Revenants but I will also watch American remake :) Same: I like original songs, but I also like remakes, remixes etc. ;)
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Why must Americans try to make a remake of everything? Leave the shows alone and make your god dawn own I say. You can't have everything. It's good to have some other countries have the spotlight.
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I thought that Resurrection was the American version of The Returned.

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I hear that!
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Question is why do we need american remakes at all?
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Americans (no offense), ok American TELEVISION at least, tends to copy foreign shows, re-imagine or reboot old classics and adapt books into TV series all the time.
The thing is, while all this is very lazy and terribly unoriginal, the main reason why networks often go for the copy rather then an original idea is because - if it's already a pop-culture phenomenon - it's a safer bet money wise, then taking a chance with the original idea.
So as much as I totally understand and agree with your argument Tim, I can also ask you:
What's the deal with all old shows getting rebooted? The never-ending Vampire, Werewolf & Witch mania or this "new" trend of shows based on Comic Books??

All of this has been done before. Just look at Star Trek, Star Wars and Marvel, the never ending Hollywood cash cows!

"The Walking Dead is a massive ratings Gigantor that crushes its competition, so why are networks trying to copy a small, foreign, low-rated art-house series instead of The Walking Dead? EXPLAIN THIS TO ME!"

Probably because it would be A LOT more expensive then adapting some obscure little foreign show.
First of all, no zombie special effects needed = cheaper budget! Second, the masses are too familiar with The Walking Dead and would probably poo poo any kind of "adaptation" or "remake". Third, some would argue that TWD is already good & successful enough that we don't need another one. Others might argue that - they're still trying to get TWD right!

I don't know, I don't have a definitive answer but it's not like copying "zombie or dead-coming-back to life" shows is worse then copying, rebooting and reimagining old shows or Vampires, Fairy Tales & Comic Books". *shrugs*
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We dont need an american version of The Returned....
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There is absolutely no reason we need to be remaking this show. It was pretty much perfect and we're only going to pervert and bastardize it.
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When I started watching this on Netflix, the first thing I thought of was The 4400
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Ugh, no. Just watch the French original. It's beautiful and eerie and, French bonus, everyone shows their junk. Now on Netflix!
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First, you are crazy. Like crazy crazy (not crazy like a fox crazy). TV (and for that matter movies) are all about reboots and reimagining and remakes. The fact that they are not all remakes is amazing.

Second, you missed In the Flesh on BBC which is a variation on the theme. Zombies come back, eat people, get cured (sort of), and then try to fit into (post zombie) society.

Third, I would like to make an argument for Resurrection but it is proving to be pretty slow and not especially compelling. I liked the first episode but if it doesn't pick up soon it is likely to go the way of Believe on my PVR (which I haven't bothered to delete from my schedule but which I manually delete without watching each week).

Finally, you are crazy. Just saying.
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There's also iZombie coming to The CW.
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iAgree
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iLOL
;-)
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What happened to scary zombies? They became EVERYWHERE. Overexposure = reduced fear = boring.
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What more can these shows show that's not already been captured and told in the other shows? I think what will happen is people will get confused because all these shows are going to be the same and end up cancelling each other out. It's almost like all these networks are trying to get in on the vampire, witch craze and what not.

I just wish there was some ORIGINAL programming but nowadays, its hard to find. See a perfect example of a great TV show right now is Agents of Shield. It's not copying a show that was already made but it is expanding on the Marvel Universe and what we will rarely ever see on the big movie screen. Sleepy Hollow is a show that is taking creative differences with the show but yet, it is still a great show. You have Person of Interest, not totally an original idea, but that show has some great storytelling.

However, by using the concept of The Returned (the French version), are we going to be getting a show that produces more questions that can be answered? Already I had read somewhere that there is a possibility that even the questions being asked on Resurrection (ABC's version) may not all be answered and that it would just leave us hanging. What's next? CBS and Fox are going to jump in on the Coming back to life genre as well? I hope not. It's almost as if as soon as Friends aired, there were many copycats.. Same thing with Will & Grace, How many shows came afterwards following that same format but are they still in the air.

Now you have Once Upon a Time that's taking a different spin on all of Disney's characters, although they aren't technically Disney's. You have Grimm on NBC that is taking the cop and robber show formula and giving it's own spin on that and look how successful that show is. Revenge is doing the same thing, based partially on the story of the Count of Monte Cristo and I forgot what else they were basing it on. It just seems like many writers/producers are running out of ideas.

I guess it would also depend too on a lot of things. If a show were to expand a little more in depth on a movie or a book that was already written, by all means go for it. Just my 2 cents
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You make a good point of over-exposure to all of the series. If one were to watch The Returned (Original), In The Flesh, (Resurrection), The Retrurned American version around the same time it would definitely be easy for viewers to become confused, particluary if they're aiming to be so similar to one another.
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You do realize that most creative material just builds off eachother, right? I feel like a lot of people don't realize that being inspired by others is not a new trend that suddenly cropped up within the last couple decades or something.
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People coming back after they are dead (gone) And staying they same as they were previous to their death (disappearance). Sounds like yet another rehash of one of my favorite shows of all time: The 4400. I did like the first episode of the French version of returned though. But I'm also to lazy to read subtitles. So I probably will give this version a chance
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Well I know hubby won't be back for Season 2 of The Returned, it started slow, got slower and went nowhere, Resurrection has a hanging in there...for now...maybe we'll just go to The Lake Poob for some underage drinking instead...
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Thumbs up the Lake Poob, not giving up on the show :)
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Do you think we need an American version of The Returned ?
Nope.
I think "American versions" of good shows (or bad shows, for that matter) should be banned. If the American public really can't read subtitle, there's always the option of dubbing, which is working quite well in the whole rest of the world.
Furthermore, getting tvshows from other countries is always a good way to expand people's horizons. That tv execs feel that the American public couldn't possibly relate to a show if it doesn't happen in the USA is kinda scary when you think about it. (Language issues aside - let's think about the American version of English speaking shows such as Broadchurch, or that season-that-doesn't-exist of Torchwood...)
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Why do Americans have to always (abuse and ) remake good European shows?
And why do Americans have to always do it in such a bad way?
I hope I am not offending anybody here, I am just writing a truth than anyone not living in the USA knows (and hates).
Anyway, Les Revenants was a good show, but only for the first three episodes. Then it turned sour and lost its ways. The End was just .... hopeless.
A shame.
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Oh great more zombies that don't eat people. I actually like Resurrection but I've reached my saturation point on these Casper the friendly ghost coming back from the dead just to complicated the lives of the living left behind. I agree with the writer, Why aren't we getting more Walking Dead type shows instead we get the Walking Dead light. I personally find The Walking Dead to be uneven story telling where either the first half or the second half of the season is better than the other. The dead coming back on Resurrection keep saying how hungry they are, I've been hoping they just lose their shit in the finale and realize if they start eating people they'd be a lot less hungry. I know that won't happen because network TV is limited on what they can show; but it would be cool. I'm sure that "I Zombie" which will be on the CW will also be zombie light as well. I know that they main character will eat the flesh of the dead and try and solve their murders and what not; but it's still not the same.
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Good pick up on iZombie, that hadn't been mentioned yet. Perhaps because it hasn't officially been picked up, but from all the buzz it's getting I'd say it's very likely. Anyway, I'm with you, if it makes it to series I hope it's not 'zombie light', but it seems more likely than not.
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Loved Les Revenants and if you can't read French... maybe you could learn to speak it? ;-P
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I learned it for four years and still try to speak it now and then, but when the French speak it on tv, I can't keep up with them. I rather have a conversation with a nice wine seller near the Mediterranean.
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Mmm that sounds suspiciously like my attempts at learning German... I can read a little and speak a little but that's it... good thing reading has never been a problem for me! ;-P
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My German is near native, no problem in watching their series. We might have about the same problems with just another language :-)
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I liked In the Flesh and I like some art house films, but for some reason this show just doesn't interest me at this point in time. Personally, I love foreign movies and tv shows. I prefer subtitles over dubbing and sometimes use subtitles, if possible, on shows in English (especially if accents are involved).
I wish the show the best and maybe one day I will check it out.
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Have you seen the original: Les Revenants?
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nope. Is it slow paced or fast? Is it religious? Is it similar in premise to In the Flesh and if so then how is it different (why watch it if it is very similar to In the Flesh~~or show does it stand out from In the Flesh).
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I have not seen the Flesh. To be honest, I even hadn't heard from it until this post. Usually I do not like zombie series but TWD and Les Revenants were different. Thinking about it, it might be to slow paced for you. It is not a zombie series in the zombie sense, but it deals with the consequences for a village, the inhabitants and the returned when they just appear again. I found that very interesting and is was acted well also. And there is a mystery with a lake where the level of the water drops every episode and parts of an old village appear. I am anxiously waiting for season 2 to learn what that is all about.
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Yes, Rectify, soooo good. Just try two episodes of Les Revenants and decide if you want to see the rest. It is completely different. I can't say which other series I would compare it with.
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I was one of the vocal fans of Rectify so slow isn't bad if it is well done (same goes for fast--has to be well done).
Just trying to get a sense of the pacing...
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Les Revenants was horrible. Second worst show of 2013 after Hemlock Grove.

It started out OK, but got more nonsensical with each episode. I started hating it around episode 5, and stopped watching after episode 7.

It had nothing to do with zombies. Yes, some dead people came back to life, but they didn't look dead, they didn't infect anyone, and they weren't any less intelligent or any more violent than they were before they died.
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Because the idea of 'scary' zombies is NOT an "imaginative-yet-narrow subject" as well. Why can't there be more than one show on this particular subject?!? Everything else on the small screen has a cousin/spin-off/clone/remake. Considering we have billions of people on this planet, and we all have our own unique tastes, I don't see the problem with different stories with the same theme.
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Sometimes soapboxing is necessary.

- US networks are desperate for success. They're too risk averse to succeed by creating good quality television so they let other countries come up with good concepts instead. They then cannibalise foreign shows but lose everything that was great in the translation and 'Americanisation'. They then scratch their heads and wonder why they didn't succeed? There are very few exceptions to this pattern (In Treatment is probably the most notable).

- No

- Sure but they'd have to be original and interesting. This idea is a staple of science fiction stories.

- Biting sounds like more fun.
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Remind me again sometime in the future that I should watch In Treatment.
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Will do. The first season had 43 episodes - lots to look forward to.
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"..so why are networks trying to copy a small, foreign, low-rated art-house series instead of The Walking Dead? EXPLAIN THIS TO ME!"

Evolution of the zombie genre it would appear.

"Do you think we need an American version of The Returned?"

Why not? The more the merrier!

"Do you think there are many more stories to tell about the dead returning as "normal" people?"

This could be the appeal of, "a small, foreign, low-rated art-house series."

"
If you die and come back to life, will you look for your old high school sweetheart, or will you start biting people?"

I'll be a biter all the way!

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Who doesn't want to live forever?

Psychologically it is more appealing that we have a chance to continue living as we had before than dying and becoming nothing (a monster).

Personally? I like the monster versions better. It makes more sense, we're afraid of death; therefore, anything that follows would be inhumane. So the less human the zombies are, the better.

Because living after death is unnatural and should scare you.
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Your first line makes an interesting point. If we're so fascinated by living forever, why aren't their more televisions and film series about immortal people in general (not just re-naimated corpses? Do you think it's because, as you said, we also appeal to dark monster version?
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There IS a lot of immortal themes on TV and in the movies: Vampire pop culture.
I guess zombies are just the less chic version.
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But I meant minus the monster idea (zombies, vampires etc). Why aren't therefore stories about plain old immortal people?
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We had Highlander, which had a great (and then a few less great) film and the tv series that could have been a lot better. there were so many philosophical, ethical, human, psychological, sociological and even emotional stories to explore.
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That could be really neat. Just imagine all the things you could learn after being alive hundreds of years, all of the languages, sciences, theories... amazing.. but.. I think the problem would be, what's the plot?

Outside of writing about some old dude or chick that has to find a way to live off of the grid due to obvious reasons.. what would the over all arch be? Plus, then you have to tackle the whole.. well are they going to have a relationship? Because everyone loves a good romance. Does that make them pervy?

It would most likely come of as a very existential piece which wouldn't get good ratings because that actually involves viewers to think and reflect on the shows content. And lets face it, we're all too lazy for that.
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That last sentence of yours is bothering me.
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The grammar or the implications?

I wrote one of my college senior projects about the neurobiology of zombies. ... I had an awesome professor. :)

Technically, everything about us, that makes us... us dies away during the zombification process. All of the outer cortexes cease to function, leaving only the temporal lobe, where issues of insatiable hunger appear, due to damage of the hypothalamus. The big ethical and philosophical debate is at what point do you lose your humanity?

Personally I believe that is when someone/something ceases to feel. It is our outstanding range of emotions that makes us human. Which is what makes zombies so scary. They are monsters, with no emotions, or humanity left in them that want to kill you.
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You have pretty interesting points and that'd be a fascinating discussion in a more discussion-prone platform. I guess since there wasn't this whole explanation, the "it should scare you" has been bothering me as any empirical, "global truth"-sounding statement usually does.
It's all the more interesting, I guess, because the premise of the tvshows we are talking about here is based on another vision on what "coming back from the dead" might be - and thus, another vision about death (here, being put on hold, as opposed to an absolute, thus scary, end, as opposed to the classical answer given by most monotheist religions which is that your soul moves on to something better (or worse), as opposed to some other beliefs which is reincarnation, and so on). Since tvshows are basically fiction, I guess we can say zombies are the representation of a scary vision of death (like you explained so well), and the premise of The Returned is the representation of the idea that when you die, your "time" somehow stops.



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Les Revenants was amazing, so I understand if an American network wants to try to copy its success. But that many shows with the same premise and basically copying each other is just wrong.
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Anybody that watched the original knows the American remake is a horribly sad copy that should be burned and forgotten. Not given a 2nd season.
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I dont think we need an adaptation of Les Revenants but again Carlton Cuse is brilliant! (Lost and Bates Motel are great) So this isnt as bad news as I thought.

Now on a side note why the second season taked so long to produce?
I mean first season aired in 2012-2013! Now second season will air in 2015! The kid probably doesnt even look the same...
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The French series Les Revenants is fantastic.
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I wouldn't say people who don't watch stuff with subtitles are lazy, for me I just hate watching because then I read the text and pay no attention to the video and what's actually happening because what's being said isn't all that matters in film and TV, and then I come away feeling like I didn't get as much out of it as I should have. this would be one of the only times I would be fine with an exact copy because of the difference in spoken language.
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I suffer from the same problem, but I also have this weird aversion to foreign television and film because I believe I can't recognize whether or not the acting is good. Like, because I'm not familiar with the language, I feel as if I can't tell what they're saying/ doing is any good... Does that make any sense to anyone?
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To be honest, no, although I think I understand what you mean. Emotions are common for everyone and you should be able to see them in people's expressions even when you don't know the language. Bad acting will always be visible. And you just might be a very lucky person as when you do not recognise/see bad acting, you will always enjoy it.
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If you watch nothing but Home and Away you'll have no problems.
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You just have to learn to pay attention to the subtitles and the visuals (I find you can absorb the text very quickly and have plenty of time to look at everything else). It might require a little more concetration but it's worth it in the end.
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that's too much work to watch a TV show, I'll just stick to English lol
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I hear ya, but the scenery + poetic language makes it a delight to follow along.
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The movie (and novel) "Warm Bodies" is also a part of this trend.
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Having watched halfway season 4 of the Walking Dead, I must say those zombies were never scary IMO (I know the point this article is trying to make but just wanted to mention it)
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I'm very skeptical about Resurrection as it looks to be one of those "we won't tell you any answers about the mystery; instead we'll just keep piling new ones on top of it" programs. We already saw with Lost why that's a flawed strategy, because in the end, even if there's a plan, nothing the writers can come up with will match what you've built up in your mind.

But Lost was a hit, so....we'll be stuck with answer-less shows for a long long time.
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Totally in agreement. Lost was hit, until it pissed everybody off by not having answers (or bad ones).
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You forgot about In the Flesh, the totally awesome "people are zombies but now they are kinda cured" zombie-themed drama. Not a rip-off, and totally cool, but also a show about zombies that don't eat your brain (when on meds, anyway).

I love Les Revenants and have decided to not watch any of the copies. The only versions I like better than the originals are Bee Gees songs.
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I think the better question is why in the digital era do we need adaptations that are basically the same thing? I enjoy The Bridge because its the same idea made into another context, different cultures and problems. If we are now able to enjoy a series from any country with no boundaries, why are we still trying to emulate something that is good to begin with? Why does it still work? I actually like Resurrection even though it is in fact a very light form os Les Revenant, but the original will never be topped. Just like with The Killing all it causes is for people to be lazy and not see the original.
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What I took from Revenants was the different ways human beings deal with loss, grief and shock. I love zombie shows, but Revenants was a much more measured and subtle reflection on what it means to be human and what role memory plays in how we structure meaning. I just hope the re-makes don't lose the textured beauty of the original.
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I couldn't bring myself to watch Resurrection (instead, I am going with the over saturation of more evolved humans with super powers over on NBC and the next day on the CW) as I was watching the Walking Dead at the time (and I guess I prefer my zombies as scary) I could only deal with so many zombies. But, and I believe this predated all but TWD, In the Flesh was actually a good zombies come back and maybe they aren't all bad (though they might be possibly evil incarnate, I am not totally clear what taking on the moniker of the Redeemed means for everyone else). It could be that I enjoyed that because it was three episodes and it is coming back for like three or six (much like I really enjoyed Warm Bodies in my first watch through and even the second, but....).
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Ah yes you are correct! I forgot to include In the Flesh. I guess the difference is they are definitely zombies, at least on the outside, and in these others, they look mostly human.
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Unless (and I am getting a weird glee out of this prospect) that is part of their secret...like they have all the contacts and make up that the zombies on In the Flesh do to make them pass. Or we have a silly face rip off like Chang tried to do in the season finale of Community.
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OK, yes I'm too lazy to read subtitles. So I'm looking forward to A&E's version for us non-francophones.
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You're not to lazy to read Tim's post and that are more characters in a row. You are missing out on an amazing original show and probably settling for something far worse because you think you're lazy.
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Apparently you're also a non-anglograph (if that's not a word I'm officially creating it). But if you can't read why am I writing a comment to you?
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Staff
A shame, bc The Returned is so effin amazing.
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