TV Review: A&E’s ‘The Returned’

People who have been dead for years begin reappearing in their small town in A&E’s The Returned. Executive produced by Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) and Raelle Tucker (True Blood), the series is an adaptation of the critically-acclaimed 2012 French drama, which aired in the U.S. (with subtitles) on SundanceTV. The Returned, featuring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), India Ennenga (Treme), Mark Pellegrino (Lost), Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under), Michelle Forbes (The Killing) and Sophie Lowe (The Slap), debuts Monday at 10 p.m. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

Les Revenants is barely known here in the states, so it's not exactly like trying to duplicate an iconic film. (Besides, Gus Van Sant already did that.) But because Resurrection is already around, and because Cuse and producer Raelle Tucker have copied the thin substance and not the rich style of their French predecessors, The Returned will likely feel like an uninspired imitation of something to anyone watching.”
Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

“[I]t’s worth noting that the French series began to lose steam toward the end, and Resurrection simply ran off the rails. In that regard, bringing people back to life is the easy part, in TV terms, compared with finding a way to convincingly sustain a plot — and keeping it from unraveling — as it dabbles in the big picture of life and death.”
Brian Lowry, Variety

“The critical success of the original Returned, as well as brainier zombie shows such as BBC America’s In the Flesh, has spawned other American knockoffs, such as ABC’s Resurrection, the kind of series that reminds us that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but only if it’s done as well as A&E’s The Returned.”
David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

The Returned is much more cool, cerebral and unsettling, but it is at best a ghostly reflection of Les Revenants.”
Alessandra Stanley, New York Times

“It’s best not go into too many details. The Returned slowly reveals its pieces as the stories begin to twist around each other. The moody series falls somewhere between a ghost story and a zombie tale. One of the characters even believes for a time she is seeing a spirit, while the fact that the returned all seem ravenous makes the living wonder.”
Rob Lowman, Los Angeles Daily News

“That faithfulness signals a deference to the original, and if that renders the series unnecessary in terms of its artistic contribution, it nonetheless guarantees the narrative a greater exposure among the subtitle-averse. The Returned is little more than a nimble translation, but the material is strong enough to reward its staunch fidelity.”
Matthew Poland, Slant Magazine

“They’re questions without easy answers no matter what the language. But even if it is deja vu all over again, The Returned keeps asking them in a hypnotic, chilling way.”
Tom Long, The Detroit News