TV Review: Like its walking (un)dead, The Returned looks good, but feels slightly off

When Sundance first broadcast the French television series Les Revenants (renamed The Returned for U.S. and U.K. audiences), there was nothing quite like it on American television. Detailing the eerie consequences that follow from the dead returning to life in a small French mountain town, it wasn’t a zombie show, nor a mere drama with a high-concept premise. It was a hybrid beast: an existential mystery, a Twilight Zone-style spooker, a family drama, and most of all an addictive delight. Haunting, spare, and impeccably shot, the series became an instant cult phenomenon. Critical plaudits followed, along with a Peabody and an International Emmy award for best drama series. So, you know, no pressure, A&E.

It’s hard to talk about the cable network’s English-language remake without acknowledging up front the reason this show exists: U.S. audiences don’t like reading subtitles. The Returned is …

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