The Returned TV series (Les Revenants in French) is a highly atmospheric show about a small town whose deceased residents come back to life. The drama seems to start slowly (especially compared to the US remake), but that only serves to add to the mystery of the situation. The first series of eight episodes originally aired at the end of 2012 in France. A second series is currently in production by Canal+.
In each episode a character’s demise and subsequent resurrection is explored – they all have their own story, but it’s a small town so there are many connections between the various protagonists. It seems like a misty sort of town – a deliberate ploy, I suspect, as the plot is pretty misty too. Each episode reveals more about the relationships between the townsfolk and the mysterious happenings. I like the fact that you have to wait for certain facts or connections to become apparent. The first episode may leave you slightly baffled, but stick with it things will become (well maybe not obvious, but certainly) clearer. Understandably, the return of deceased family members is both a cause for celebration a trigger for tension. The show focuses as much on the difficulties encountered by the living as the newly returned.
The Returned is described as a horror. It is certainly creepy and may occasionally require the squeamish to avert their gaze, but it is definitely not hide-behind-the-sofa scary. The characters are interesting, the storyline is absorbing and the scenery is beautiful. I am intrigued to know what happens next.
Potential for learning French:- the characters can a trifle mumbly at times, but it does get easier to pick up once you get your ear in. There is plenty of natural day-to day conversation, though some more supernatural subjects inevitably crop up.
Where to watch:- the series was aired on Channel 4 in the UK and they have the right to show the second series. It available on Netflix, or can be purchased on DVD.