Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: The Returned

by | April 17, 2014 | Comments

The French miniseries The Returned, created by Fabrice Gobert, might be just the right follow-up (or antidote, depending on your stance) to The Walking Dead. And lucky for you, season one is perfect for a weekend when you’re craving a combo of creepy and subtitled.

 

The Returned (Les Revenants)

The Returned
What’s the premise? In this French supernatural drama, a small alpine town is rocked to its core when a handful of residents materialize after being dead for a number of years. No one is really sure whether to celebrate or run for the hills.

What’s it like? People may be inclined to compare The Returned to The Walking Dead since you could argue that they’re both “zombie” shows, but in many ways, The Returned is a lot like Lost. Each episode focuses on a different character whose backstory is partially explained in flashback, and contains clues about what brought him or her to this place. The Returned has a spooky, sweeping atmosphere — even in broad daylight — similar to True Detective, Broadchurch and Top of the Lake. Also, be prepared to sleep with the light on. The Returned is not prone to cheap scares, but instead, slowly builds to memorable hair-raising moments. This is not your run-of-the-mill zombie story, but rather a provocative and suspenseful supernatural mystery like The Sixth Sense and The Others.

Where can I see it? The complete first season of The Returned is on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu and iTunes.

How long will it take? So far, The Returned is only one season of eight episodes. Each installment runs about 50 minutes, so you can absolutely marathon the whole thing in one day.

What do the critics think? Season one is Certified Fresh at 100 percent on the Tomatometer. Tim Goodman of the Hollywood Reporter said, “The Returned, like Broadchurch before it, is one of those series where you watch the first hour and then frantically try to find time to devour the next seven.” Willa Paskin of Slate wrote, “If a subtitled show is bad, you’ll turn it off, but if it’s good, it envelops you more swiftly and wholly than the very good show in English you check your email while watching. The Returned is very good. Let it have your brains.” In addition to critics’ raves, The Returned won the International Emmy for Best Drama in 2013.

Why should I watch this? Few shows attempt to tackle themes of mortality, grief and faith with the same intensity and sensitivity of The Returned. What starts out as a string of simple questions — Who are these people? Are they good or evil? — becomes a layered and knotty meditation on what it means to be human. Deliberately plotted, The Returned simmers with creepy suspense, and then bubbles with enough action to hook you from episode to episode. Also worth a mention is the superb French cast; they bring real emotion to the screen — even though you’re never entirely sure if their characters are real.

What’s my next step? Sundance Channel has announced that season two of The Returned will air in late 2014. Until then, you might want to try one of their other international mystery offerings, Top of the Lake, a slow-burn crime drama set in a small New Zealand town and starring Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss. If nothing scares you more than creepy kids, you’re probably due for a screening of The Shining or The Omen. And while he’s become one of those directors people love to hate, M. Night Shyamalan captures the eerie and unnerving vibe of The Returned in many of his films, including The Sixth Sense and Signs. If you haven’t watched Lost yet, you should give that a tumble. Also, The Returned TV series is based on a 2004 French film by Robin Campillo called They Came Back (both have the same title in French: Les Revenants). ABC has a new show called Resurrection that starts with a similar premise, although it is based on a different source.

What do you like about The Returned? How would you explain it to a newbie? Get in on the conversation here.

Tag Cloud

Black Mirror Arrowverse mission: impossible Winter TV Funimation animated comic books justice league asian-american monster movies Netflix Christmas movies teaser fresh rotten Set visit Stephen King halloween tv anime 71st Emmy Awards archives nature Red Carpet Amazon 2017 TCM parents live event spy thriller book adaptation The Arrangement Epix zero dark thirty Freeform cancelled TV series Universal Paramount Plus black comedy Toys HBO Go Legendary Image Comics Action Tomatazos thriller Nickelodeon Cosplay transformers docuseries Discovery Channel cooking young adult 90s WGN Tubi Opinion documentary boxing TCA 2017 spanish language Paramount Network venice a nightmare on elm street APB aapi Hallmark Christmas movies Fox News movies Apple TV+ blockbusters Travel Channel dexter 2018 Spike worst breaking bad Rocketman 2019 documentaries concert USA Pirates SundanceTV serial killer Emmy Nominations YouTube Red crime drama child's play cancelled TV shows A&E ESPN Amazon Prime Video Country target Writers Guild of America sequels adenture slashers festival blaxploitation unscripted TV Cannes AMC spanish Pacific Islander mutant Biopics Logo Sundance Universal Pictures war wonder woman video football Fantasy Thanksgiving Shondaland ratings Cartoon Network talk show 24 frames BAFTA kaiju LGBT politics sag awards Music Awards Starz ABC Family foreign 21st Century Fox Box Office richard e. Grant TCA Awards Binge Guide streaming movies IMDb TV FX on Hulu pirates of the caribbean SDCC indie Drama BET political drama 99% HFPA elevated horror Star Trek First Reviews based on movie genre Prime Video Photos 45 2020 science fiction Marvel Television king arthur romantic comedy TIFF Summer true crime cults Holidays DGA Television Critics Association international hidden camera Endgame toronto marvel cinematic universe Sci-Fi Baby Yoda posters Mary Poppins Returns Star Wars dc VICE Sundance Now golden globes Calendar cops black GIFs First Look Mary poppins cartoon women Superheroe ABC Signature Superheroes Schedule trailers Disney+ Disney Plus gangster TLC Showtime golden globe awards franchise adventure NBC witnail versus Sony Pictures harry potter Extras Hulu heist movie ViacomCBS MSNBC FX prank Bravo Watching Series spider-man Disney Channel OWN batman debate game show Trivia Interview YA Oscars The Walking Dead james bond CNN Alien Comic Book leaderboard Pet Sematary stop motion Western live action Netflix Fall TV comic marvel comics space docudrama Rock cancelled television Tokyo Olympics cinemax crime thriller cancelled italian jamie lee curtis sports blockbuster japan DC streaming service supernatural GoT DC Universe SXSW canceled TV shows remakes Warner Bros. die hard Video Games technology BET Awards hollywood IFC Films comiccon FOX Kids & Family Turner kids Mary Tyler Moore sequel game of thrones spinoff jurassic park E! olympics know your critic Food Network Ellie Kemper Mystery National Geographic American Society of Cinematographers Reality Competition Disney discovery Valentine's Day TV One Year in Review Crackle TCA Winter 2020 Disney streaming service movie Tarantino medical drama Brie Larson vampires Dark Horse Comics DC Comics Elton John Song of Ice and Fire joker deadpool VOD TV movies MCU Apple Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 20th Century Fox name the review legend obituary scene in color Paramount Hallmark Film Character Guide diversity Infographic king kong 2015 Ghostbusters Walt Disney Pictures comedies Spectrum Originals Nat Geo christmas movies Lifetime Christmas movies comics Syfy Tags: Comedy Film Festival south america Wes Anderson The Academy LGBTQ stoner Comedy Central Classic Film Rom-Com PaleyFest all-time classics TruTV Christmas AMC Plus finale Podcast emmy awards quibi Lucasfilm historical drama series NBA japanese green book Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Television Academy royal family Quiz Britbox spider-verse scary Pop boxoffice Marathons scorecard Teen Winners 72 Emmy Awards rom-coms Countdown free movies HBO Fox Searchlight New York Comic Con dceu TCA Instagram Live Masterpiece basketball MTV Musical Pop TV Exclusive Video new york singing competition theme song Amazon Prime 2021 telelvision Holiday Sneak Peek Peacock Pixar DirecTV A24 1990s TNT spain Columbia Pictures 2016 anthology television festivals rt labs saw strong female leads Marvel Studios OneApp mcc book independent Neflix biopic YouTube Pride Month Chernobyl zombies critics Musicals vs. 79th Golden Globes Awards Fargo Emmys Disney Plus tv talk action-comedy award winner Adult Swim 93rd Oscars directors mob rt archives popular hispanic heritage month CMT Polls and Games Vudu 4/20 See It Skip It 73rd Emmy Awards The Walt Disney Company miniseries Grammys dragons romance crime San Diego Comic-Con slasher Rocky razzies critic resources Shudder dreamworks VH1 crossover 007 hist Mudbound cats Avengers President TBS Broadway adaptation zombie Election nfl Spring TV chucky criterion renewed TV shows australia hispanic Women's History Month twilight Super Bowl latino Amazon Studios Horror Hear Us Out travel The Witch Animation feel good BBC One Martial Arts robots Ovation Premiere Dates PlayStation sitcom new zealand disaster what to watch FXX Crunchyroll new star wars movies comic book movies indiana jones best WarnerMedia ghosts BBC America Acorn TV facebook PBS Trophy Talk werewolf TV renewals ITV Certified Fresh Lifetime Best and Worst CW Seed History binge period drama Creative Arts Emmys kong HBO Max cars suspense superhero Reality Trailer Captain marvel reboot ID doctor who The Purge police drama Academy Awards revenge RT History Mindy Kaling Apple TV Plus Marvel composers Awards Tour dark trophy stand-up comedy IFC halloween screen actors guild laika news X-Men worst movies reviews sopranos universal monsters 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards TV Land Anna Paquin GLAAD toy story rt labs critics edition mockumentary natural history ABC social media scary movies Nominations dogs Turner Classic Movies CBS All Access canceled godzilla Tumblr superman nbcuniversal Comics on TV Lionsgate Family CBS Hollywood Foreign Press Association streaming films children's TV NYCC psycho Esquire RT21 The CW El Rey casting video on demand dramedy high school YouTube Premium psychological thriller lord of the rings comic book movie fast and furious Black History Month BBC USA Network french art house Comic-Con@Home 2021 Sundance TV satire aliens Heroines screenings rotten movies we love E3 biography Comedy