The Returned first began in France during 2012 and can be found under the French title Les Reverants. Les Reverants was based on They Came Back, a French film. The new T.V. show The Returned premiers 2015 on A&E; it is an adaptation of the French version which has been developed by Carlton Cuse. Both shows occur in small towns and follow along the same plot line, as deceased loved ones suddenly begin reappearing years later, not having aged and entirely unaware of the fact that they were pronounced dead.
The story begins with a school coach full of children homeward bound from a skiing trip. A figure, Victor, appears in the middle of the road and the coach veers away and off the street, tragically ending the lives of everyone within. Years later a girl, Camille, suddenly climbs out of the ravine and makes her way home; alive and not a day older than she was during the crash.
Camille Winship, played by India Ennenga, and Simon, played by Mat Vairo, surface in the first episode as some of the characters returning from the grave. The main characters include Camille and Simon; as well as and Helen Goddard (Michelle Forbes); Tommy Solano (Kevin Alejandro) the town Sheriff who is also engaged to Rowan; Rowan Blackshaw (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), mother to Chloe and formerly engaged to Simon; Deputy Nikki Banks (Agnes Bruckner); Dr. Julie Han (Sandrine Holt) who takes in a silent boy she calls “Victor” (Dylan Kingwell); Lena Winship (Sophie Lowe), Camille's twin sister; Jack (Mark Pellegrino) and Claire Winship (Tandi Wright), Lena and Camille's separated parents; and Peter Lattimore (Jeremy Sisto) a psychologist.
There is some degree of controversy surrounding the show but it has a 66% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 7.6/10. Overall the response has been rather positive, but because the new American version of The Returned is a remake there are a lot of people comparing the two with careful scrutiny. Many critics are adamant about the French version and claim that it did not need a remake. They make the case that A&E's adaptation is motivated by profits and not quality, as it lacks the same elements which made the original so phenomenal. Some say that it is hollow in tone and atmosphere compared to the original, even though it is as far as episodes and characters go almost identical to the original series. They contend that the only disadvantage that the French version has over the American one are the subtitles; which are hardly a reason to pass up better quality.
For those who have not seen the French version The Returned still has the intrigue and drama needed to keep people watching. There is a fairly decent-sized audience, in fact, that has not seen the original— thus a great number of people who can enjoy The Returned on A&E for purely what it is, without outside influence. The Returned can successfully stand independent from Les Reverants, at least, that is the goal according to Cuse and Tucker. They claim that the two series should not be in competition but should stand on their own as unique works of art.