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


"Sundance" is NOT just the name of my raw foodist downstairs neighbor who suffers from BOISTEROUS night terrors, it’s also a very respectable brand when it comes to film, TV, and Robert Redford festivals. Lately, the sister channel to AMC has been plopping out some way worthwhile content, what with the success of Rectify and Top of the Lake and also Meet the Deedles 2: Back in the Habit. The network's latest offering, The Returned, may not be an original creation, but the French miniseries is new to us Americains, so unless you get "Canal+" you've likely never heard of it... until now. There’s drama, romance, supernatural junk, and "technical" zombies—but more on that later. I have stopped buying blankets at the thrift store long enough to view the first four episodes, and would like to share my thoughts/ravings as pertains to Le Show. So without further adieu, on y va!


Wow The Returned? So it's about overdue library books? WHATEVER.

Mais non! The basic premise here is that in a gorgeous mountain town, select individuals of all ages who happen to be deceased inexplicably return from the dead. These folks have no knowledge of how they came back, and can only remember up to the moment before the chain of events that led to their demise. Though the press materials suggest this is a "zombie drama," these villagers aren’t so much reanimated corpses as they are miraculously resurrected, so no one’s eyes are falling out and no brains are getting eaten. At most, those who come back have a hard time sleeping and are pretty hungry.  

To spice things up, though, among the "Returned" is former serial killer Serge (Guillaime Gouix), who sets back to his old murdery ways. Such is the genius at work here: Rather than rely on the already fascinating hook, each character has a compelling, nuanced tale worthy of its own show, such as Camille (Yara Pilartz), one half of a telepathic set of twins, and the focus of the pilot. As the 11-year-old’s broken family—estranged father Jerome (Frederic Pierrot, Tell Me I’m Dreaming), newly religious mother Claire (Anne Consigny, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), and the now older, rebellious twin-sister Lena (the soon-to-be mega-star Jenna Thiam)—struggles to understand the mystery behind this eerie phenomenon, an actual murder mystery unfolds and the tight-knit community gets upended by the "return" of other resurrected figures. Layers upon layers of energizing, heartfelt drama ensues.


Whoa, crazy. So who’s behind all this?

Fabrice Gobert adapted the series using themes from the 2004 film They Came Back by Robin Campillo; he also directed the pilot. Scottish post-rock band Mogwai performs the haunting music, which makes an awesome standalone album in its own right.

(Bear with me, this next part has a bunch of names that might not mean a lot to you until you see the show, but these actors deserve MAD credit...):

While each episode highlights the backstory of a different character, every player here weaves in and out of the larger chain of events. In addition to the aforementioned townsfolk, The Returned also features Pierre Perrier as groom and ill-fated father-to-be Simon, as well as Clotilde Hesme as his ex-fiancee Adele; Samir Guesmi functions as the town’s police captain and Adele’s current lover, Thomas. Celine Sallette plays nurse Julie, who takes in the mysteriously orphaned Victor (Swann Nambotin). Rounding out the cast are Alix Posson as police officer Laure; Jean-Francois Sivadier as Pierre, a community leader who seems to have inside knowledge as to what's behind all this; and Gregor Gadebois as Toni, owner of the the local pub, with a dark secret of his own.

Anyway, this all might seem like a lot to swallow, especially if you're not familiar with French entertainment, but trust me, the ensemble cast brings its A-game, creating a world of dense, rich individuals.      



When does the undead moodiness stumble into our homes?

Thursday, October 31 at 9pm, just as your house is getting TP'd.

   

Who will enjoy The Returned?

Honestly, fans of Sundance’s own Rectify will appreciate this tonal companion, what with its subtle philosophical flourishes and cinematic dreaminess. Add a dash of Lost’s character-centric supernatural staging, a few of Six Feet Under's more poignant moments, and a hint of Twin Peaks for that cozy mountain mystery feel, and you'll have a good idea of what's in store.     


What’s the best about The Returned?

The way the show's very premise takes a back seat to the fascinating human conflicts that arise after the dead come back. The relationships between ex-lovers, orphaned children, and betrayed family members are built in such a way that only this unique phenomenon could elicit the existential responses that occur and carry The Returned past the "how" and "why" of such a supernatural event. The series artfully features every human emotion connected with the loss of a loved one, all without the finality and (let’s face it) boringness of death. With a plot that would be gripping even without the element of resurrection, and visuals that are equal parts beautiful, comedic, and suspenseful, this series uses everything at its disposal to go straight for the heart in ways that don’t take viewer attention for granted. Which is to say it clips along and never gets indulgent. Also, for those gorehounds, there's plenty of creative violence to offset the melancholy stretches. 

Every last detail is meted out in a way that juggles suspense, pushes the story in new directions, and keeps each character fresh the whole time. The twisty-turniness is PERFECT for group viewership, and never outstays its welcome. All in all this is next-level TV and it even makes you feel smart for watching, when really it's just a damn good piece of art.    


And what’s the not-best/worst?

For real, not a whole damn much. Some of the character dynamics are more interesting than others, but everyone will have their own preference.   


Let’s cut to the chase: Should I watch this?

CERTAINLY. 


Can I see a preview?

Of course: 



What should I drink while I watch The Returned?

Some haunted lake water mixed with un Orangina, n'est-ce pas?



Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/19/2015

Season 2 : Episode 8

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I find it annoying too, but I think that's my lack, rather than a fault of the show. Les Revenants is what it is, and it's everything the review above promises. I just got annoyed because I kept trying to "solve" it.
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The answer to the question in the title is "no, you should stay the fuck away from this one". If you're one of those people who liked Hemlock Grove (the worst show ever made), then you might like this one too, because it's annoying in very similar ways:

* They keep throwing random shit in there that makes no sense, and is supposed to make you go "oooooh that's mysterioussss".
* People's actions and reactions don't make sense, and they make less sense the further you get into the season.
* The background music is annoying at first, and then just gets more and more annoying until it's all you can think about.

The reason I say that you should stay the fuck away from it is that the pilot kind of sucks you in. It's not that bad, and it makes you curious about what's going on in that town. The first four episodes are all OK, I think, and then episode 5 is a real stinker. But by then you're kind of stuck, thinking "well, I've seen more than half the season now; I might as well find out how this ends". That's what happened to me, and because of that, I just finished episode 7. It was the worst one so far. Absolutely horrible. Nothing made any sense, and it wasn't the fun kind of nonsense like Under the dome or Siberia, it was the painful kind, like Hemlock Grove.

So now I only have one episode left, and I expect it to be painful to watch it. I'm still sort of curious about what's going to happen, so the irrational side of me kind of wants to see it, but I know from experience that when shows are this messed up before the end, the ending is never satisfying. The rational side of me appears to be winning, so it looks like I will drop this one with only one episode left.

Some of the actors are OK though. I have no major complaints about Léna, Julie, Simon or Adéle for example. (Did I get those é's right? Sorry if I didn't). But I think Camille is really bad. It's not just the actress' fault. The character is very badly written.
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Yes, watch it is good
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I know it as "Les Revenants". Very good.
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All tres bon. Its more about how people deal with grief and in the main any scary bits are pretty low key. Filmed in Haute Savoie , it looks gorgeous as well. Also look out for Braquo, a French cop show coming round for a third go AND Akte Mansikor, top quality Swedish sci-fi bollocks.But please no American re-makes OK?
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Do you seriously like Äkta människor?
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Er, yeh, what's not to like. Its serious , grown up sci-fi with a great plot and the slightly off-kilter alternative history. Guilty as charged, I like it!
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Well maybe the fact that it is heavy-handed and embarrassingly PC.
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Well it is Swedish!
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Too late! There's already one in development at ABC. Called Ressurection I think. :(
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Oh God no....
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If you don't watch it you'll miss something great! And I'm not a fan of most anything french so me recommending a french show is big. BIG.

It's truly an amazing and holding-my-breath-in-anticipation kinda show. I longed for a new episode to come on every week. Sure it's weird at times (common dead people are popping up like mushrooms in the woods, you literary see dead people) but it's so good you buy all the weirdness. Acting, script, scenery. All of it great. They do react like french people at times (not that I can put my thumb on just exactly what I mean by that) but how would you react if your lover that passed away ten or so years ago suddenly appears in front of you and you realize it's not just a figment of your imagination?! I'll be kinda french too ;)

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Watch it, it is excellent,
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Seen series one and it's absolutely fantastic!
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It was good and the script was pretty original. The show left me kinda disturbed on certain moral aspects and slightly crept me out on others. It's not The Walking Dead but it still gives one a decaying feeling that certain things are not meant to be walking the streets. The kid actor was adorable and gives you a chance to revisit your french lessons again if it somehow went dead in your minds post french toast college days.
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Oh so you can actually see french shows over there?.I thought people in general were afraid of subtitles. Fabrice Gobert was also the director who made the brilliant Simon Werner a disparu.
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Sounds like it's going to be good.
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This is a REALLY good show. Scary in a true sense.
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first of all, I'd like to say that I'm French & that I saw the whole show last year.
I was really excited by the premise & the first episode, however.....
It was quite disapointing in the end! There are lots of episodes that don't put the plot forward & since there're only 8 of them it's quite a shame. It's really looking towards Lost without having the story or the characters to fulfill the viewers' expectations. Since it's only 8 episodes, I wouldn't advise you not to watch but remember that once the season finishes, you won't have learned much about the returned but in return you'll get many more questions.
To sum up: it raises lots of questions & expectations but doesn't give many answers or anything of the kind in return, watch with all that in mind ^^
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The Returned or Les Revenants is one of the best French Tv shows ever.
If you're interested with the french culture, if you're not afraid to take your time and to enjoy great characterization, if you like well contrsucted scenario, The Returned is for you !
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is it as enthralling as spiral???
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It is as enthralling as spiral but in a different way : it is slower and it makes you think about the human mortal condition. As spiral (which i love), it focuses on the relations beween characters. As you may have guessed, it is not a show about zombies ;-) but about human beings.

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thanks for the reply.
any idea if new season for Spiral is coming? missing Tintin and Gilou :)
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I saw it almost a year ago and it was superb. Obviously some eps were slightly boring but you can ask - hey, what exciting can be about nicely looking walking deads? Surprise - there is a lot of skin-crawling moments. It's pace seems slow and uneventful but in fact the plot thickens and connections between events from various points in time appear episode after episode. And music is really great - gives a lot to the series mood. I simply loved the setting! The characters were splendidly drawn and each lived its own life. Highly recommended show.
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I highly recommend watching this gem of a show, and can you do episodic reviews once it starts airing?
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I already watch it 3 months ago. it's a good show, if u like Europe tv show pace which is a little slower than American tv shows u will enjoy it. if not u will be bored.
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Okay, this just reminded me that there was supposed to be a show where a little boy shows up lost, and when the officer or FBI agent or whatever takes him home, the kid supposedly died like 30 years earlier, and looks exactly the way he did when he disappeared?
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exactly, I saw the trailer but I think it hasn't started yet.
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Resurrection on ABC. I finally managed to modify my Google search in such a way as to avoid news reports of actual kids drowning.
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Don't you mean little girl? If so you probably are talking about the 4400. USA network for the record screwed that show up.
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I found it. Resurrection.
http://abc.go.com/shows/resurrection
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No, this is supposed to be a new show, and it was a little boy. He turns up and says he's, let's say Adam Smith. The agent takes him home and it seems like 30 or 40 years have passed since the kid fell in the river or something. The parents are in denial at first... and that's all I remember about the trailer.

Is that close to what The 4400 was about? I never watched it.
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"They had superpowers?! Maybe I should go back and watch..."
^ They had something. Not sure if it was superpowers or a great anti-ageing serum. Lol
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I think 4400 was about 4'400 people who ALL miraculously showed up and found themselves in a field confused and suddenly possessing superpowers. But it got cancelled early on.
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I think it ran for 4 seasons though?
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They had superpowers?! Maybe I should go back and watch...
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so this will be in French with Subtitles ... yes? not dubbed into english? right? (please say that it is so)
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subtitles, yes.
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Just finished watching the 1st ep: c'est super sympa, ouais!
The idea is interesting enough!
Will watch the other 7 eps soon!
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Les revenants (The Returned) c'est juste stupéfiant ! sensationnel ! c'est le LOST français quoi ... rien à voir avec walking Dead ...

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comme je disais un peu plus haut c'est le Lost français, sans l'histoire ou les personnages :) et rien à voir avec walking dead car il ne se passe rien à part dans le 1er et le dernier épisode ^^
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Entierement d'accord avec vous !
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I watched this when it came out in France and absolutely loved it. You made me want to watch it again! A Must-Watch, this is amazing tv!

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I'm going to watch this but here is my issue. For some inexplicable reason I do not get Sundance channel but I can watch Sundance programming on demand. So probably when I have fled from my mother's house over Thanksgiving weekend.
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I just finished watching the first episode (it premiered tonight in Latin America), I'm hooked.
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finished watching the complete season a couple of days ago. DEFINITELY go watch it! it's really good! but beware: there's lots of hugging. it's probably a french thing. *shrugs*
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Ah, THIS was the show I was thinking about when ABC had greenlit that Resurrection show. I saw this I believe the not so legal way online I think lol This show of course will be the better one!
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I loved the whole first season and I've been campaigning for this show on this website for a while now! I'm so glad that it finally gets noticed! I HIGHLY recommend people to watch it! If you are one of those who find the walking dead boring because people sometimes talk instead of exploding zombie guts 24/7, then you might want to skip this one. This show is for the deep and classy. lol
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For sure - I was careful not to reference Walking Dead for this very reason. I'm guessing the word "zombie" in the promotional materials is to capitalize on that familiar concept, but there's plenty of non-somber, WTF moments throughout so your average fantasy/horror nut should be able to find their way into it. Maybe this counts as "mumblegore"?
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I ditched The Walking Dead a couple of weeks ago. Didn't care for the characters anymore. Looking for a new zombie show to quench my thirst, this looks goooooood.
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if you're in for a zombie show to replace walking dead you're in for such a disappointment cuz except involving undead people they've nothing in common!
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I'm over the gore. Need characters and stories I care about. The Returned looks strongest in that area. The Walking Dead is now most interested in looking for ways to impale zombie skulls.
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Have you seen the 3-episode show "Dead Set" about a "Big Brother" style show in the UK during a zombie outbreak. (think it's on iTunes)
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Dead Set

Not a fan of the show Big Brother. So I'm hesitant to check it out.
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dead set is much better than the returned since THERE'S action!!!

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This show absolutely MUST be watched. Its class!
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