It is best not to say too much about “The Returned.” Much of the enjoyment in this French TV show on Netflix comes from the slow reveal. There is a supernatural element to the show, but it’s more of a slow-paced, eerie psychological drama. The basic premise of the story is revealed in the first episode, but there is much more to come.
Each episode of “The Returned” is titled after one of the main characters. Their individual stories are featured to a degree, but the entire saga of the townsfolk in this picturesque mountain village continues to advance. An underlying sense of unease is present through most of the series. The scenes are beautifully filmed and have a more cinematic quality than most television shows.
“The Returned” is based on a 2004 French film, “They Came Back.” We assume the poster for “Memento” – the Christopher Nolan film in reverse chronological order – seen in episode 5 is a nod to a significant influence on series creator Fabrice Gobert. “The Returned” also shares some common ground with the Swedish film, “Let the Right One In.” If you liked either of those films, you should feel right at home here.
There are eight one-hour episodes in “The Returned.” Originally shown on Canal+ in France, the series also ran on the Sundance Channel. The ending of the series does not, perhaps, hold together quite as well as the events that led us to that point, but don’t let that keep you away from this original and intriguing psychological thriller. Even if you are not a fan of supernatural shows, it belongs on your Netflix streaming list. Season 2 of “The Returned” is in production.