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‘The Returned’

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The dead return on March 9.
by Bradley Donalson

If someone who’s been dead for years showed up and made themselves a sandwich, what would you do?

The Returned begins airing on A&E this month, and a small town will be rocked by the reappearance of people who have been dead for years. A student who died in a bus crash, car accident and drowning victims, and others all just start turning up with no recollection that they ever died. This small town has to figure out how to cope—and if that wasn’t enough, a serial killer who’s been long dormant starts up again and a silent child poses an even greater mystery.

Executive producer Raelle Tucker brings us an adaptation of Les Revenants, the 2004 French TV series that was a success in Europe. Tucker’s version follows the original for the first few episodes before veering off in its own direction. One of those directions is to up the ante on the lesbian relationship between Dr. Julie Han (Sandrine Holt, The L Word) and Deputy Nikki Banks (Agnes Bruckner, Blood and Chocolate). Describing their relationship, Raelle explains, “It is similar, but it’s not exactly the same. One of the things I loved about the original series, too, was that it had gay characters.” As one of the central romances of the show, Julie and Nikki’s relationship is touted as being the one that you root for.

With lesbian writer Gianna Sobol (True Blood), the show will hopefully present a well-written, realistic representation of a lesbian couple that has had conflict and drama and attempts to overcome the difficulties in their lives.

After getting a sneak peek at the first few episodes, I’m interested to know more about all the sinister things happening in this small town. The characters all seem to be real people with mostly accurate reactions to things that happen in their lives—the exception being that as the dead return, they take it as an oddity rather than an impossibility. But once you get past that, it’s incredibly easy to start caring for the characters and their personal troubles. A love triangle arises when the dead fiancé (Mat Vairo) of a single mother (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Scott Pilgram vs. the World) returns just before she marries the town sheriff (Kevin Alejandro, True Blood). A man commits suicide after his wife (Michelle Forbes, True Blood) returns. A 16-year-old’s (India Ennenga, Treme) return shakes up her already broken family. And the appearance of Victor, the silent and creepy child (Dylan Kingwell), brings together the estranged lovers Julie and Nikki, while simultaneously complicating their relationship.

Fans of murder mysteries and dark drama will want to keep an eye out for The Returned on March 9 at 9 central on A&E (aetv.com).

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Bradley Donalson

Bradley Donalson is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.
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