The living dead are back. Well, almost, as SundanceTV is set to premiere the return of The Returned, the hit supernatural drama whose first season creeped out millions of viewers.
The returned in The Returned (Les Revenants) are not your typical zombies. These walking dead look as alive and, for lack of a better word, normal, as the living, only hungrier.
When we first met them in Season 1, they didn’t realize at first that they had been dead for years. (Neither did we, really.) So when they reappeared like nothing had happened, their loved ones moved from shock to turmoil at seeing their dearly departed back in the flesh, while the returned struggled to adjust to their new reality. Secrets that had died with them were soon exposed, lovers were reunited, and one haunting little boy seemed to know more than he would say.
What’s more, those who tried to escape found themselves unwittingly driving in circles on the road above the dam, the water in the dam kept dropping, and dead animals were found floating at the bottom of the lake, whose water eventually receded enough to reveal an old, flooded town. The idyllic French mountain town everyone called home was peaceful no more, especially with the arrival at the Helping Hand shelter of the horde — more of the undead who demanded and got a select few of their fellow deceased-no-more to leave with them, accompanied by two of the actual living of their own accord.
The Returned was eerie, spooky, frightening as all get-out, beautifully shot, suspense-filled, and utterly binge-watchable. So it’s no surprise that this freaky French supernatural drama grabbed hold of viewers and didn’t let go when it premiered in France on Canal+ in 2012, and in the UK on Channel 4 and the US on SundanceTV in 2013. It went on to win the 2013 International Emmy® Award for Best Drama Series and the Peabody Award.
Now its second season is about to premiere.
The Returned: Season 2 opens six months after the living and the walking dead gathered at the shelter, and Simon (Pierre Perrier), Camille (Yara Pilartz), her mother Claire (Anne Consigny), Julie (Céline Sallette), and the mysterious boy Victor (Swann Nambotin) disappeared into the mountains with the horde. Since then, nothing has been heard of them or the police who fought to protect those who sought refuge at the shelter.
In the present day, Adèle (Clotide Hesme) is about to give birth to Simon’s child, part of the town is still flooded, and the dam remains under surveillance, with the army providing logistical support for the residents who chose to stay. Rumors that the dead have returned are rampant, but the authorities won’t believe them. Locals who witnessed what happened at the shelter remain silent or aren’t taken seriously; amongst them are Léna (Jenna Thiam) and her father Jérôme (Frédéric Pierrot), who haven’t given up hope of finding their missing family members, Claire and Camille. Then a mysterious man named Berg (Laurent Lucas) rolls into town, and it appears he knows more than he claims.
In addition to Berg, new characters in Season 2 of The Returned include Milan (Michaël Abitboul), Audrey (Armande Boulange), and Virgil (Ernst Umhauer), who join returning characters Toni (Grégory Gadebois), Serge (Guillaume Gouix), and Lucy (Ana Girardot).
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SundanceTV premieres the eight-episode The Returned: Season 2 on Saturday, 31 October 2015, at 10 PM ET/PT.
Stateside viewers can catch up on Season 1 when SundanceTV airs a marathon of back-to-back episodes on Sunday, 18 October, starting at 6 AM ET/PT. For those without access to SundanceTV on cable, Season 1 is available at Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, and the Music Box Films channel on YouTube.
The new season debuts domestically in France on Monday, 28 September, on Canal+.
Based on the feature film Les Revenants by Robin Campillo, The Returned is created by Fabrice Gobert and produced by Haut et Court TV for Canal+ Creation Originale. The series is written by Gobert, Audrey Fouché, Coline Abert, and Fabien Adda, and directed by Gobert and Frédéric Goupil. Mogwai scores the soundtrack for both seasons.