Are you guys ready for the most heady and subdued take on the undead ever imagined? Well, then check out the French drama Les Revenants. But if you’re ready for what will probably be a half-assed version of that stellar series, then quietly cheer to yourself in another room, as A&E has given a greenlight to the Americanized adaptation from Lost executive producer Carlton Cuse. Perhaps based on the so-so success of the slow-moving ABC series Resurrection, which is based on different source material but is basically the same story of people returning from the dead, minus a few catalysts. Expect at least one more show like this to get picked up before the week is over with.
A&E announced that The Returned, which will be keeping its translated title, has been picked up straight-to-series for 10 episodes, with no need for a pilot. Normally that’s a good sign and means the product is up to snuff, but only three scripts of the show are written, and A&E isn’t exactly drowning in acclaimed series. Cuse himself wrote the first episode, and will be executive producing with Raelle Tucker (True Blood).
Itself based on French director Robin Campillo’s film of the same name, The Returned: French Edition takes place in a small town and focuses on a handful of the community’s families as they deal with the return of loved ones from the grave, where many had been for years. There’s a family dynamic with a returned daughter bonding with her now older sister, there’s a romance between a woman and her old lover, another weirder family story, and more. These people aren’t maniacal zombies, but people who aren’t really allowed to fit into society anymore, because no one understands them. Or they just straight up don’t believe in them. The subtlety in the French series is bound to be ramped up to melodramatic heights for A&E’s version, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept the same location in France but used only American actors.
Below is a trailer for the first season of The Returned, which aired on Sundance some months back, and which is now available on Netflix for all your binging needs.
Beyond Resurrected, we always have the rehabilitated zombie drama In the Flesh on BBC America, and NBC is developing a similar project called Babylon Fields. But if this is anything like Cuse’s other currently airing project, Bates Motel, we can expect things to get ridiculous right out of the gate, which just might set it apart. Casting is set to begin immediately, as the network may be trying to push this series out by the fall. Stay tuned. Or don’t. Chances are it’ll get cancelled and return elsewhere.