OK, maybe calling A&E a “subpar” network is unfair. I mean, it does have Longmire, which is comfortably enjoyable, and the goddamn Psycho prequel, Bates Motel, which I don’t care for. At the very least, however, A&E is not exactly the home of complex, riveting drama, which is why it’s a mystery to me why the network is remaking Les Revenants or The Returned, the French “zombie” series that recently aired on the Sundance channel, but that has gained an even bigger following on Netflix (in fact, I watched the entire first season on Netflix last weekend, and really loved it, right up until the end of the first season).
Anyway, because we live in the United States goddamnit, and even though Hollywood movies are now making as much overseas as they make in North America, we can’t bother to return the favor. We can’t put a European series on a good network and heavily promote it, we must REMAKE it, usually with a British cast speaking with American accents because damnit, Americans not only hate subtitles, we apparently also hate British accents (which is why Broadchurch is being remade into Gracepoint using the same lead actor, David Tennant, only with an American accent instead of a British one).
Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) is running the remake of The Returned, and a guy who directed a bunch of Dexter episodes, Keith Gordon, will direct the pilot. The cast for the 10-episodes first season is coming into place, and just to demonstrate how A&E is Americanizing the production, here’s a list of who has been cast so far, and their counterparts in the original series (American cast member first).
Kevin Alejandro will play the sheriff.
Sophie Lowe will play the, uh, oldest of the twin daughters.
Mat Vairo will play Simon, the musician who returned ten years after his death.
Mark Pellegrino will play the twins’ Dad.
Interestingly, like Gracepoint did, they’re mostly going for American carbon copies of the European cast, which suggests that, like Gracepoint, they’re probably not going to change things up at all. In other words: Same show, minus subtitles.
Anyway, if you’re looking for a very interesting series to watch this summer, and haven’t seen The Returned yet, it’s great. It’s similar to that show that began airing a couple of months ago, The Resurrected, only much better. Basically, it centers on a small-town where some of its dead inhabitants mysteriously spring back to life. The struggle is in watching the the undead assimilate back into their families, the families adjust to having a dead family member return, sometimes years after they originally died, and also deal with the mystery surrounding their resurrection. It’s compelling, but like Lost, it often presents more questions than it can potentially answer.
In other news, when Europe makes a live-action remake of Brave, they should cast Jenna Thiam, the woman who plays Lena (above).