Returned EPs: A&E Remake 'Distinctly Different' From Original Series

A&E The Returned Adaptation

The dead are back in A&E’s The Returned, but they won’t be going about their lives the way they did in Les Revenants, the French series on which A&E’s new project is based.

“The starting point is similar,” executive producer Carlton Cuse (Lost) said at a Television Critics Association press tour panel for the remake on Friday. However, “over time, our show becomes quite different” — especially around Episode 6.

“The French show became very genre, incident-heavy at the end of the eight episodes,” he continued. “We take a different turn at that point. The show’s fairly distinctly different by the end of the first season.”

Executive producer Raelle Tucker (True Blood) noted that “it’s not a competition between that [original] show and this one, but really a way to honor it and make something of our own.”

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But the premise, which finds long-presumed dead people suddenly reappearing to their loved ones, “is such a universal concept, and there are so many ways to play that… I think the character work is significantly different.”

As for comparisons to another series about the rising dead, “Very consciously, we did not watch Resurrection,” Cuse said. “We felt like that wouldn’t be good for our creative process.”

But Cuse did borrow from another project by casting Lost vet Mark Pellegrino on the A&E series. “It’s a very tough role because this character has really been destroyed by the death of his daughter,” the EP described. “[Mark and I] had such a good experience working together on Lost. It was the right mix of the actor and the character.”

The Returned premieres March 9 at 10/9c.

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23 Comments
  1. Hannah says:

    Can’t wait for this to premiere and to see the fifty million comments whining about how the original is better!

  2. Kearneykid says:

    I’ve been burned by Gracepoint saying it was going to be different from Broadchurch when it wasn’t. Not sure if I want to be let down again but another remake promising to be different

    • Et al says:

      Yep. That was a blatant lie, so I’m suspicious here as well.

    • soakedpancakes says:

      I’m fully expecting for there to just be one or two subplots to be changed a bit and maybe a few tertiary characters to be removed. Other than that, I’m expected The Returned to be virtually the same as Les Revenants.

      It is a tricky spot, though. How do you change the story for a remake, but hold the integrity of the original story? We’ve been burned too badly by Gracepoint. I’ll be watching this, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

      • johnhelvete says:

        I would be very tempted to get rid of Serge if I was the one making the decisions, but that would alter the story line for one of the best characters in the entire series. Also without giving away for those who have not seen the original, American TV is not likely to get rid of that character. The other three “lead” returned characters have nearly perfect back stories, it would be a crazy for the American version to change those.

    • johnhelvete says:

      Broadchurch and The Returned are two different shows though. Gracepoint had to end season 1 with who killed Danny and the writers made very few changes from Broadchurch and most of the changes were additional story threads, not actual changes to the various story threads of Broadchurch. The American Returned seems to be keeping the various back stories of the returned characters and their relationships with the other characters, but the show does not have a predetermined ending (where as Gracepoint had to find Danny’s killer), especially since the original French series had an ending that some viewers had a problem with. Sure the American version could create new returned characters and replace those with the characters from the original, but I doubt that the writers would come up with better back stories than the ones that Camille, Victor and Simon have from Les Revenants, and the American version is not going to get rid of Serge, and while I would be tempted to change that story line if I was the one making the decisions, that would have also cause a change to one of the best characters in the entire series if Serge was eliminated from the series.

    • dj says:

      A&E makes pretty good shows.

  3. Steve says:

    Well there ever be a second season of Les Revenants? It has been ages .. what is up with that?

  4. Abby says:

    This is definitely on my radar, and my expectations are REALLY high…

  5. Tim says:

    I’ll probably watch but the original is outstanding.

  6. JT says:

    I was so looking forward to this show, loved the original but for me Mark Pellegrino is a game changer. Every show I’ve ever liked that he was in was cancelled so I’ll have to pass on this one.

    • Whatever says:

      One show Mark Pellegrino was in that hasn’t been cancelled is Supernatural.
      They are currently airing Season 10. Pellegrino was a large part of Season 5 and has the recurring role of Lucifer.

    • Abby says:

      Lost wasn’t canceled either.

    • legsandretti says:

      He was in Supernatural and Lost so there is plenty of hope. But unless writers promise not to do a Lost./Les revenants style “No answers given” season ending they can count me O U T. Not going through that again! LOST was a travesty!!! And LR original was bleh. Too many unanswered questions for me personally.

  7. MD says:

    Hopefully the U.S. version has the same tone as the French version. I thoroughly enjoyed the French version and would not change anything.

  8. dj says:

    I am so excited for this show. I LOVED Les Revenants. I hope this version does it justice!