Well, seeing as how the US doesn’t like being left behind, it is only natural that A&E decided to launch a remake of the original French TV series Les Revenants called, unsurprisingly, The Returned. The first 2 episodes of the show premiered on March 9.
Being a HUGE fan of the original series, I was both excited and skeptical about The Returned. On the one hand, why not? On the other, you know it goes sometimes with the remakes – yeah, they suck. Not The Returned though. Not yet at least. The first two episodes seem to be solid, and I bet the people who never saw the original show would be intrigued beyond measure by it. This show has a certain atmosphere that draws you in – it is supernatural, no matter how you look at it, but at the same time it is not Supernatural kind of supernatural. It is so grounded in reality it’s easy to forget about the paranormal side of it and get sucked into the human drama. Which is actually pretty good in this particular case.
What I found confusing though was that The Returned was an almost identical copy of Les Revenants, and I honestly don’t understand the point of remaking it if it doesn’t bring anything new to the story that hasn’t already been told. Why not watch the original series? It IS better. It’s is darker and edgier. It keeps the audience on their toes, and it doesn’t sugar-coat anything. Or did A&E do it just for the sake of telling the story in English? Then again, American networks are known for being into it, so…
I hope there’ll be more to the story, maybe some kind of twist we haven’t seen in Les Revenants. It’s got potential for sure and I hope the show-runners will play it smart.
It’s not that the US version of The Returned really sucks. Like Nadin said, it doesn’t. Not yet. It’s that so far, it feels kind of pointless. It’s almost a shot-for-shot copy of the original, except everything is luminous and all the actors look attractive, even Camille and Lena’s Dad, who is a raging alcoholic. When I heard about the remake, I kind of hoped that they would spare us the classical edge-smoothing that they give to any show imported from another country. I don’t know if they’ll do it with the actual story – it’s honestly too early to say at this point, but the looks of it are a little bit disappointing.
Part of what made Les Revenants such a striking show was that feeling of pressure and despair coming from the cinematography and the actors. Everything was blue-ish, like it was constantly dusk, and aside from the stunning Jenna Thiam, they all looked beat. Here, like I said, everybody is beautiful – and GAWD, Lena, can you close your mouth when you’re not talking? – and the sun is always shining. I’m glad that they kept the slow pace of the original show, though. Otherwise, it really wouldn’t work.
Maybe I’ve watched too many shows and haven’t seen enough of the US themselves, but I hoped that there would be some changes, if only because Les Revenants comes from a radically different country and culture. So far, I don’t really see that but, to be fair, maybe small western towns are kind of all the same. Still though, why is Camille still named Camille? They changed Adèle to Rowan, after all. By the way, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is the best actress in the show. Because she’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She’s awesome and a babe, and we should all be happy when she’s around.
The only real change that I really liked was that, well, they diversified the cast. Kudos, show. Aside from that, we’ll see how it goes, I guess, but for now I’d rather watch the original series for the third time.