In a move that will shock and amaze almost nobody, popular French drama THE RETURNED is set to be remade for US TV. Airing on the A&E network, which recently brought us the PSYCHO reboot BATES MOTEL, it will be a further tentative step towards the channel slowing its ceaseless infliction of reality TV upon the American public.
Set in a French alpine village, THE RETURNED sees the spontaneous reappearance of a number of the settlement’s deceased inhabitants several years after their deaths. Unaware that anything is amiss, or that they were even dead in the first place, they attempt to carry on with their lives, not understanding the confused and horrified reactions of the townspeople towards them. The inexplicable return of these “revenants” coincides with the beginning of a number of strange events such as recurring blackouts, a series of murders resembling those of a past serial killer, the water level of the nearby dam falling to reveal dead animal and a sunken church, and strange marks appearing on the bodies of the living and the dead.
Despite the show eschewing the standard undead pandemic cannibalistic apocalypse theme, it’s not uncharitable to suggest that with THE RETURNED’s core concept of the dead returning to life, a remake could be seeking to ride the current cultural zeitgeist for zombie tales, which with the commercial success of WORLD WAR Z and the massive popularity of THE WALKING DEAD, shows no sign of subsiding any time soon.
While British shows being remade for US audiences are nothing new, it’s only in recent years that the networks have begun looking to international (ie foreign language) TV for inspiration. Perhaps with the runaway popularity of shows like THE KILLING and BORGEN, they are now realising the untapped potential contained within European drama.
THE KILLING itself has already been remade, running for two series before being cancelled, then renewed, and then cancelled again after the third finished airing. Additionally, a US/Mexican remake of Danish/Swedish murder hunt THE BRIDGE will soon finish airing on FX in the US and has already been renewed for a second series, and is also receiving a UK/French treatment named THE TUNNEL.
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