I love any show or film that keeps you guessing after it’s over. Days later, you find yourself still wondering what some things meant and still have some pretty big questions. The French supernatural drama, Les Revenants aka The Returned is just this type of show.
Currently contained within two seasons of just 16 episodes, with no talks of a third season, you will find partial closure and yet be left with that open ended feeling knowing there are no answers to be found. At least not yet, if ever. It’s one of those rare gems that lets you ponder its meaning – something I consider very French.
I’m not sure how I discovered the show initially, I think it was recommended by someone I follow somewhere, and I’m glad to have found it, although the wait between seasons was unbearable at over two years. Both seasons are now available on Netflix.
The story is based on the 2004 film They Came Back, and is about the return of a small town’s deceased residents for no apparent reason. They don’t all return at the same time, and many of them died at different times throughout the years, leaving the townspeople and their loved ones confused and frightened.
They don’t look like zombies. They don’t even look dead. They don’t bear any marks of how they died and many of them have memory issues depending on how long they’ve been gone, so they’re just as confused. It makes for an interesting story to see how some of them are welcomed back to their lives while some are not.
Then there is the trouble with the town’s dam. The entire first season I remember looking at the water and thinking, “What’s really going on in there?”
It’s hard not to go into too much detail with only 16 episodes and four “families” primarily to follow. This review could easily be much longer, but I want to keep all the mystery alive (pun intended?). 🙂
With so much to watch nowadays, I’ve become rather picky with which shows I stick with and which I give up. If a show doesn’t grab me within the first few episodes, I don’t want to waste my time. I know I’ll get flack for this, but I couldn’t get into Breaking Bad or, more recently, Daredevil – two shows loved by nearly everyone I know. You may find the pacing of The Returned a bit slow initially, but that is part of the magic of this series in particular. You get to see quiet moments in these people’s lives, and because of that, you feel you understand some of the characters better.
The Returned has an American spinoff that was airing nearly simultaneously and I don’t understand why. This is one aspect of the Hollywood system that baffles me. Why was creating a new show based on a current show necessary? Are subtitles too difficult or cumbersome for the American audience? Besides, the American version was cancelled after one season. So no closure for you guys.
I hope for a third season because I would love to see a bit more of this story and its people, and get some answers to those questions still rattling around, but if that doesn’t happen, we can feel some of that unsettling closure that comes with foreign film.
Have you seen the show? Or its American counterpart? What are your thoughts? I’d really love to discuss some of my theories, so join me in the comments!