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ABC (ended 2015)

Resurrection S01E01: "Pilot"


Yes, SundanceTV's French import The Returned is much better than ABC's new-but-similar series Resurrection, and I bet pretty much every Resurrection review you read will say as much. Why? Because The Returned is superior in every way. End of story. But for the sake of those who haven't seen The Returned, which is almost everybody, let's review the new ABC drama about dead people coming back to life as though its foreign predecessor—which, may I remind you, is superior in every single way except for maybe the fact that it has subtitles—never existed. Follow me, as we enter a world with no The Returned!!!

[***Swooshing traveling-to-an-alternate-universe sounds***]

ABC's new series Resurrection is a unique take on the dead-come-back-to-life genre that's 99-percent rooted in standard zombie fare. You know the type—rotting corpses rudely try to eat the flesh of the living. But Resurrection's undead aren't exactly undead, it's more that they're re-alive. What a novel take on the dead coming back to life! (Remember, we're having this discussion in a Returned-free universe.) The re-alive person at the center of Resurrection's pilot was an eight-year-old boy named Jacob, who woke up in a rice paddy in China all, "WTF?" And then we followed his journey home to Arcadia, Missouri, where his parents were awfully surprised to see a child who looked just like their son who died 32 years prior.

This concept—the dead are like, "Whoa, I'm not dead!"—is full of potential and questions, questions, questions! But what surprised me about Resurrection's debut was how it spent so much time asking a question that wasn't much of a priority to me. Most of the show's characters, including Jacob's mom and dad (Frances Fisher and Kurtwood Smith), his grown-up cousin Maggie (Devin Kelley), and the local sheriff Fred (Matt Craven), were more obsessed with the events that transpired on the day that Jacob passed away than they were with the fact that he just showed up again. See, when Jacob died from falling in a river three decades ago, his aunt—Maggie's mom and Sheriff Fred's wife—also took a plunge in the life-taking waters in an effort to save him. Or so the story goes! (By the way, that water didn't look too life-taking, to me and I am capable of almost drowning in the bathtub.) But re-alive Jacob had a different take on what went down: According to the kiddo, it was he who drowned trying to save his aunt, and there was a mysterious man at the scene who was unable to save either of them. That man was later revealed to be having an affair with Jacob's aunt, which crushed poor Fred's heart and forced him to drink liquor in front of her ornate grave in the rain and then smash the bottle on its angel statue because melodrama!


Coming out of the pilot, it feels like this possible murder mystery is the big question Resurrection wants us to glom onto, but hello? HELLO? A boy came back from the dead! Shouldn't the focus be on that and not a cold case from the year that Huey Lewis and the News released Picture This? We're talking stuff that happened pre-Sports here. I'm not saying these folks shouldn't be interested in the suspicious nature of how a family member died, but the fact that Jacob showed up at his ma and pa's front door rewrites the rules of life as we know it. That seems a little bit more important to me. And that's the question I wanted the pilot to really explore.

Did ABC send notes to the Resurrection creative team that said, "You know, the fallacy of death and our mortal existence as we know it is somewhat compelling, but how about throwing in a good murder mystery to spruce things up!?!?" Shock, wonder, and people totally freaking out are what I wanted to see, and those emotions were somewhat aptly conveyed by Jacob's mom and dad, but The Returned did it bette—oh shoot, I forgot that show doesn't exist here. But anyway, what I would really like to see in a show like this is the existential and emotional crises that results from seeing everything you thought you knew conflict with everything you hoped for. 

Resurrection's first episode ended by revealing the identity of the man who was skulking around the city as the re-alive father of Elaine (Samaire Armstrong). I guess if you hadn't read a single thing about Resurrection before watching the series, that might've been a cool surprise. But it's right there in the logline: "loved ones" return. Plural. So he was just another dead person who returned and an opportunity for someone else in Arcadia to make a surprised face. And many more will return as the season moves on. I'd even bet Jacob's aunt has a good shot at showing up.

I like the idea of Resurrection a whole lot, enough to continue watching the show, but the pilot spent so much of its effort on the moment Jacob returned and the secrets he can now reveal instead of the fun stuff in the middle—why his he here, how did he get here, and does this mean I can eat whatever I want without repercussions? And really, the pilot coasted on the basic idea of Resurrection's premise without adding anything surprising. The good news is that it was still good enough to earn my interest for a few more episodes. The bad news is that it already has some problems to fix, especially in the face of inevitable comparisons to the smarter, spookier, and sexier [***swooshing return-to-our-reality sounds***] The Returned



THE LINE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH


– Some good music in the pilot with Belle & Sebastian and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! 

– Tom the preacher character, who was Jacob's BFF when they were kids, is going to need some development work to make him interesting. So far he seems like little more than a shaken priest who will provide the religious point of view on the dead returning, and a boring one at that. 

– Jacob's case was handled awfully quietly, wasn't it? Wouldn't a missing child who showed up in China draw a little more attention? And why did he not speak out loud until he got to America?

– What's with Jacob's seizures? Do all re-alive people have them?

– One thing that worries me is that reviews of the book this show is based on say the author didn't really tackle the question of why the dead came back, and that readers just had to accept that it was some sort of miracle. That ain't gonna fly with TV viewers.

– Ain't nothing wrong with the way Resurrection looks: There's some beautiful imagery in here. Let's hope the series' budget allows it to maintain that quality for the rest of the season. 

– Sunday at 9pm is NOT a good spot for this show, what with all the competition from cable. Especially since it's one of the more cable-y dramas on broadcast television right now. 

The Returned is now on Netflix streaming if you're a Netflix subscriber and haven't seen it yet. I really, really liked it. A lot. I even put it at number eight on my Top 10 Shows of 2013 list, and later unofficially bumped it up to four after I watched the dazzling finale. Have you seen The Returned? If so, how do YOU think Resurrection will compare? 


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 1/25/2015

Season 2 : Episode 13

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Awesome series. Really enjoyed it, like the series ending. Hoping for its return for season 2.
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The pilot had many flaws that killed it for me. Like the final scene when it was raining but nobody was wet... or how easily jacob played a game in a mobil phone when he probably never knew such a device .... those details killed the mood for me
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I can't help but be completely aware that the actors are acting and some of them really suck.
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The returned was very atmospheric and spooky but as many French things ( I can say this, I *am* French ) it was a lot of style over substance, I kept watching because it was really, really gorgeous to look at, but the end of S1 was a big WTF? with a pretty atmospheric organic cherry marinated in 40 years old Cognac on top.

Resurrection: I loved the initial scene in the rice field, but everything after that was quite boring. I think the issue for this one is gonna be: no substance but no style either.

I'd skip this one, put up with subtitles and watch the Returned instead. Of course if you want a much better creepy SF foreign series and speak either French, German or Swedish you gotta watch "Akta Manniskor" i.e "Real Humans", a Swedish series about life-like robots available for sale as commonly as Ipods. I hope it soon becomes available in English because this one's a winner.

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Ok, so has TV dot Com given up on reviewing the show or is it just taking a while to review the second episode?
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I have seen the Returned, which was very boring by the way...
Then i downloaded this one...watched it 15 minutes then stopped. Normally i am a fair guy and always do the 4 episode thing with every series that is new....but this one is just in one word...horrible..
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I have not seen The Returned. But I have read the book this show is based on and I have to say that the quality of writing of the pilot was so much better than the book.

The pilot really didn't answer any questions but its a pilot...it shouldn't answer questions too quickly. I'm going to give this show a chance and I hope that ABC does as well as there is a lot of potential. Yea, this "living dead" is nothing really original these days but there are still some good stories to dig up (couldn't resist).
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I thought the pilot was one of the better ones I've seen recently. It established the central mystery, I liked the pace, and I found the various actors and their interactions interesting and engaging. The whole look of the show was also really well done. I came away wanting to see more. All of that should be a given for any good pilot, but it is actually rare.

I didn't find it too surprising that they focussed on the death of the aunt. As another poster says, that is actually part of their working through this being Jacob. For most of the episode almost no one really believes he is Jacob, so the focus is more on "who is this kid" and "how does he know what he knows" rather than WTF and "how is he back from the dead".

That being said, how they deal with the central mystery will be key, for me at least, to the success of the show going forward. I'm not going to follow the Season if it is just about how people deal with the consequences without grappling with the whys and the hows. Based on the Pilot I'm prepared to give them 3-4 episodes to engage me in the bigger story.

By way of comparison, I also watched the Pilot for "Believe" which I found to be frequently cringe inducing. I mean literally. The only part I found remotely credible was near the end where the lead actor tells the kid she is a brat and needs to keep out of other people's business. I thought that was a surprisingly self-aware comment from the show. That show though is on episode to episode life support - one more bad one and I'm done.
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I luckily got to watch this pilot episode before it had a name, network, or anything besides this episode. I thought it was crazy weird and interesting and Im glad that they are keeping up with the boy and the family according to the season preview. My biggest worry was that they were going to turn it into a house or law and order where there is no plot or purpose because every episode is a different case and involves something different each week.

The characters were cool and interesting to an extent, but of course its a pilot and things were not perfect like every other show on the air right now. They will work everytghing out to where there is a reson for why these people have returned and why they are here again. If they don't touch on the reason of why they have returned this show will crash and burn to the ground faster then The Playboy Club or whatever it was called.
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you think it was crash and burn because of the type of show, if they do not touch on the reason they returned? Walking Dead is set up for a season 5 already and they still are yet to touch on why the whole zombie thing has happened. Just recently they have a character trying to get to DC because he feels he has an answer for all of the zombie stuff going on.
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It was okay. Didn't hate it, and I guess it was interesting enough that I never found it terribly boring... but it didn't do much for me either. I'll stick with it for a while, but if it doesn't pick it up in some way, I can see myself getting bored of it.
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Having read the book first, they have really changed the story line. In the book Jacob does not drown trying to save his Aunt Barbara - he drowns for another reason entirely and that reason does not even come up until the end of the book; there is no bald man at the river; no affair, etc. It will be interesting to see what they do with the tv series, but so far it looks like they are putting things into the show that are going to tie into a bigger picture - that will tell a "story" about why certain persons are coming back to town. There are other things that showed up on the tv show that aren't in the book at all. I'll continue watching just to see what they do with the story.
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I really enjoyed the show and will continue watching. But, did anyone else think...why hasn't Jacob changed clothes!?!
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because the parents didn't keep his clothes after 32 years of him dying. I guess they should have taken him to a local walmart.
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I hope The Returned is not like 4400 Hundred, which I loved, cause if it is than it has big boots to fill. Guess I'll have to go and find out.
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That was my thought even when I was reading the book! The 4400 was such a brilliant show and one-of-a-kind during its time.
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Ya, its like when Heroes first came out and I was like, "oh no here comes a 4400 clone," which in so many ways it was. Lucky for Heroes it wasn't a bad show, most of it at least so I was able to watch it without being angry that they snatched up 4400 and made it into pop for the masses. I'm not getting that feeling with this show, but its only begun so time will tell
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Question, Let's say Jacob's Autie that died him with returns as well, Auntie then tells them the truth about her death and the man responsible. Great terrific case solved! Problem...How do you go about proving it? Is he suddenly going to see her and confess to killing her. If he doesn't then it'd be kinda hard to prove murder, when the case was already ruled an accident 32 years ago and the only witnesses are as this review put it re-alive.
Somehow I doubt that would go over well in a court. "Yes Your Honor these two witnesses are the victims of this murder and assert John Doe was the man who killed her."
Oh Yes that'll go over real well.
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The Returned exists and is superior in every single way in every single universe.
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The last scene in the rain where nobody was wet was too disturbing. I can suspend belief for the show's resurrection premise but I can't deal with dry actors.
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Or how about when Jacob wakes up in the middle of the soggy field, then is walking down the path and all his clothes are dry?
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Yeah. because he'd walked awhile in the sun - totally unbelievable that his clothes would dry.
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I really enjoyed the pilot. I just hope the series doesn't turn into a town soap opera where the infighting overshadows the mystery.
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I did watch last night and will try again next week. I was so hoping it would be like The 4400. I liked that show.
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I started watching "Resurrection" in the belief it would be a remake of "the Returned" by the way it was advertised in tv.com, but it turns out it was based on a book that has nothing to do with the French series. False advertising, tv.com! So, in that light, it doesn't have to to follow the same path of "the Returned."

However, I have to admit comparisons are inevitable. The French show is ethereal, existential, emotional, and sometimes creepy. The American one is either about cold logic, and I assume that's how Americans are - ha, ha - ("There must be a logical explanation about this. Meanwhile let's solve this cold case.") or preachy ("My God, a resurrected person. It's got to be the work of Jesus. What other spiritual explanation could there be?"), and I'm not too happy about either direction.

Existentialism is a much harder path. The impact of the return of the dead in the lives of those who stayed should be enough for a compelling story, but it has to be done well, and the French did it, at least for most of the show. American producers and/or audiences perhaps need other, more mundane elements to keep the story interesting, as well as a link to local Protestant Christian elements. But since I'm not particular religious, i'm glad the French show didn't include a priest in the story, and the guy who represented the spiritual view, had a broader approach to the phenomenon and was not so narrow-minded.

Also, the score of The Returned is so beautiful, it's hypnotic, and the opening credits even feature a cat! Nothing beats a cat in the opening credits. Resurrection only made me eager to watch the second season of "Les Revenants."
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Go back and re-watch Les Revenants (The Returned)--there is a priest who appears in at least two key scenes. Granted, he does not play a central role like the character who is the counselor of the homeless mission and leader of the support group of those who lost their loved ones.
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OK, I found the priest. It's Père Jean-François. He gives advice to Simon. Now I remember him. But he didn't sound preachy, and he didn't mobilize the community to talk about the miracles of Jesus.

Well, let's see how Pastor Tom Hale behaves in the next episodes. I hope the show doesn't become a sermon, or Biblical parable.
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Yeah, I meant the leader of the support group.
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Can you refresh my memory? I really don't remember him, so it means he didn't leave an impression. I guess I was reading the subtitles when he appeared...

Anyway, I was referring to Pierre, the guy who ran the community center and tried to approach the problem with a more spiritual approach, even though he wasn't a priest. He was fundamental for the development of the story.
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I tried to watch, I tried to like it, I tried to not compare it to The Returned. I failed!

It's not bad show per se. But it's not good either. It has many ridicilous plotholes. And the kid sucks, I already hate him, beside actor who plays him is bad. To be honest it reminds me of Under the Dome.

But when you try it to compare with The Returned (which happens all the time) you just can't keep watching this. The Returned was brilliant, Resurrection is medicore at best. I'll try few more epsiodes but I really doubt that I will stay till the end.
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I watched and loved The Returned. I also love Resurrection. I noticed a few of he inconsistencies the reviewer noted, but they don't bother me, and I *liked* the murder mystery twist. What if the dead come back and have a different take on how they died? The Returned didn't really touch on that.
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Exactly. Under the Dome II.
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ok so does the real town of Arcadia Missouri receive, any kind of compensation for the town name being used in the show. i was just wandering cause, if they are, i better see some needed improvements in this town..........
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as far as the show goes ..... i like it
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It was good, but compared to "The Returned" tanked!! I mean, if you watch how the return of the dead unfolded in just the first episode in The Returned, it was super-duper-frickin'-amazing-crazy-brilliantly shot!!! (Adele's somewhat nervous breakdown as Simon knocks on the door and yells for her to open the door... That was pure brilliance in direction, portrayal, acting, and everything not related to it as well! Even Cammille in the kitchen and her mom's reaction to her was superb. The Returned is definitely far superior than Resurrection... PERIOD!

Oh wait, so we're not talking about The Returned, are we? Well in that case, I loved Resurrection. It wasn't nearly as great as I expected, but I'll keep watching. I did hope for a little more emotional turmoil that carried across the screen but somehow that lacked. Perhaps they need to work on that a little. Looking forward to how they take this story further.

– Yes, the music in the pilot was good. But have you actually heard the music in The Returned?!?!? I grabbed the soundtrack for that soon after. The deep, dark, sad, and eery music in that was simply superb.

– Tom's character I think will get a little development over the remaining episodes. I liked how they made the connection between him and Jacob and also based on the series promo, there may potentially be some strong scenes with Tom...

– Jacob's case was handled terribly quietly. I don't mind that they skipped the whole Jacob found in China, being returned to America, etc. was handled. But Jacob being quiet didn't fit in with the character as a whole and secondly he could have pointed out beforehand that he was from Arcadia. Additionally, his mother walked him into a church full of people and though there was a lot of hushed discussion, how come no one pointed out loud that there was a zombie in the church... and more! (VICTOR!!!! Where art thou' Victor!!!)

– Jacob's seizure may have been because of... well, I'll just wait for the writers to expand on that.


– Although I wasn't disappointed with the Season 1 end of The Returned, I do hope that Resurrection answers more questions. It does trouble me to know that the book these series are based off of don't provide any reason for the dead coming back either.


- Anyone? Omar Epps sitting on the desk throwing the ball at the window-wall, did it kinda remind you of House?!?
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I enjoyed it! Makes you think hard about could it really happen....
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This is a show with an interesting premise that I will definitely give a chance. I agree with the author's assertion that the most interesting question (how Jacob came back to life) was glossed over almost entirely. It reminded me of this summer's Under the Dome - where the aspect of the dome took a back seat to uninteresting stories involving the main characters. Hopefully Resurrection does better.
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This first episode looks okay, enough for me to want to continue to watch the second episode.

I think the folks were trying to find out what happened 32 years ago at the river because they were trying to find out why Jacob is indeed back from the dead. They have not yet decided to accept Jacob is back from the dead so in order to find out more, they have to go back to the starting point which is the day of the accident/murder. I think that is understandable.

What I am hoping for is that the story will move on and they will be an answer in the end. It should not be about all the dead people waking up every episode.
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The returned was ok - ist wasnt that amazing
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I agree. Many critics agree with each other it was great. The pilot was great, I agree but by the 4th episode, it was so downright boring I stopped watching. Added to that I was told there is no answer in the end so I did not bother to continue.

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I liked Les Revenants, I liked The Returned and Resurrection is off to a good start, can't complain!
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This is just too much like a less spooky version of French TV series, "The Returned". If they wanted to come up with a more original tv show about people in a town coming back from the dead, the producers would have been better off adapting the comic book series, "Revival".
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Yes, by all means eat whatever you want. If you get to come back, you'll come back as a fat fck.
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The commercial interruptions were so numerous that it ruined what could be a wonderful program. We just couldn't take them any more after 20 min or so and switched over to COSMOS. I guess the only way we stop the proliferation of commercials is to stop buying any product advertised.
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Is The Returned 100% subtitled?

the wife & I started to watch during dinner the other night and we were both like....i can't read all this stuff and follow along while we eat. so we just watched Louie instead.
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I enjoyed it. It even had a Kitsune. Tamlyn Tomita, Mrs. Yukimura from Teen Wolf.
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This may have stood a chance of being a good show,but!! I watched the pilot and basically began loosing interest due to 5 minutes of show and then 15 to 16 commercials and so on it went.There must have been maybe 25 minutes worth of show and that was it.The rest was commercials and so many car commercials its ridiculous!!
My rating is a 5 for the show due to this commercial problem and a big 1 for the commercials!!!
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Wasn't it terrible? What could have been a very good show turned into one long infomercial! Guess we will have to figure out how to watch it on internet.
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Lot's of folks love a long lost family member suddenly re-appearing. As many love a murder mystery. Toss it in the blender with the dead coming back to life since that trumps either. Oh yeah, be sure there's an imbalance of the degree of awe unfolding as to how the dead is alive. That's the nagging thing, and Tim, you know it. Like you, however, there's so much to fix at this point I want to watch hoping for something compelling and less, well, like Swiss cheese.
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Hi Tim...I lied when I said I wouldn't bother with the pilot. I watched it. I now completely agree with your previous preview.
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The tree trunk pissed me of, how can it look exactly the same?
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To those who are wondering how Jacob knew how to use the smart phone, this was actually addressed on screen. At the restaurant Marty gives Jacob the phone and says that it is a game. Jacob initially doesn't know what to do and Marty nudges saying that he needs to toggle it and shows him that he needs to touch the screen.

Jacob clearly recognized Donkey Kong from the apps Marty showed him as he would have likely played it before he died. He would have been familiar with the gameplay mechanics and how to control things. The biggest issue is a small learning curve of how to use the touch screen.

I think people are overlooking the very obvious fact that kids and technology go hand in hand, especially when it involves video games. With a slight nudge in the right direction he would have no problem using the touchscreen controls for Donkey Kong, a game he played before.

I am 20 years old and I clearly remember my dad struggling to setup the first playstation and reading the manual. I looked at it and had it all plugged in and setup and began to play Crash Bandicoot before he knew what happened. To kids the learning curve on technology is not as great as people in the older demographics. My mom cannot even work the TV remote but my 3 year old cousin plays angry birds on the iPad. All it takes is a little push in the right direction.
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I'm in my mid-20s and spend all my time with technology, but my 4 year old niece played around with my iPhone and did things I didn't know how to do. Darn kids and their cute little brains.
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"Jacob's case was handled awfully quietly, wasn't it? Wouldn't a missing child who showed up in China draw a little more attention? And why did he not speak out loud until he got to America?" Maybe they were trying to do a Victor thing for a second?
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Did anyone else start to think that Jacob didn't have a heartbeat when his doctor-cousin checked her stethoscope after putting it to his chest? I wonder what, if any, abnormalities the returned dead will have or even share. Hopefully tests are performed to try to learn something about the returnees, like MRIs and hypnosis. I'm glad they did the DNA test in the first episode instead of dragging it out. I hope they exhume graves quickly to at least see if there's remains in them instead of dragging out that arc. Jacob died 32 years ago, Caleb much more recently. We'll probably learn where he 'woke up'. Apparently there will be more dead Arcadia residents coming back. I wonder what the range of their time 'dead' will be and where across the world they all reappear. The writers will probably allow for the possibility of any character that 'dies' from this point on to come back later.
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Yes, for a a minute there I also thought Jacob had no heartbeat. It would have been ore interesting if they had kept that anomaly going.
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I have to agree with a previous poster. How does a kid from 32 years ago know how to use a smartphone and it's apps? I barely know how to use one and I'm 33.

That aside, I enjoyed it. The fathers reaction straight after that horrible 'frog in a blender' joke tugged at the old heart strings. But I wish they had gone more into the 'how'. I guess they'll tackle that as the series goes on, if they do at all. I haven't seen The Returned, and doubt I will so I don't know if they did in that either.

I'll give it another few test watches before I fully commit.
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Forget this show, bring back Flash Forward!
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Flashforward Foreveeerrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!
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No, that show was terrible and you are terrible for liking it.
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If you're going to watch this show and have already watched Les Revenants, then treat Resurrection as a completely different show. I think the major difference between the two is the tone. Resurrection kind of a feels like a Hallmark commercial. Les Revenants borders more on the psychological thriller/ horror genre.

So far, the show had its moments especially that scene with Red and Jacob, but those were quickly muted by subsequent annoying scenes.

I'm going to stick with Resurrection possibly into the third or fourth episode and then finally make a decision on whether or not I keep going with it.
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By the time i reached the end of that episode, i already fell in love. I also did not watch returned nor do i care to watch it. At this point, i'm more concerned about if it will survive in the time-slot that they assigned them.
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First bad sign: When a kid who's been dead for over 30 years has absolutely no problem using an smartphone, without even basic instructions.

And it went downhill into Boring Valley from there. I gave up on shows that don't ask (or even explore) the most obvious questions since the third season of Lost. And, yes -- I did see The Returned. So, no -- I will not get that hour of my life back.
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Yup, that was the first annoying thing that I noticed, I was like What the hell, he have never seen mobile phone or anything like it and now he just plays with it without any suprise? And despite being dead for 32 years the only thing he noticed that was different was his parents. Hmm, how about everything?
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Just shows that people 32 years ago have accelerated learning capabilities.
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I thought this was ABC's best pilot all season lol loved it I just hope the ratings are good
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