TV: The Returned (Aly, Walk With Me)

les revenants

If you haven’t seen it yet – it’s one of the latest imports for British television audiences, this time from France – The Returned (“Les Revenants” – literally, “the ones who came back”).

After The Killing and The Bridge it feels like we’re in a 90s / 00s out-of-control “The” bands names frenzy (The Vines, The Hives, The Killers etc,…), but this time instead of bands, it’s thrillers conceived on the Continent.

I’ve only seen the first episode of the eight, so I’m not entirely sure where it’s headed yet – but the premise of the opener was the reappearance of loved ones who had died several years ago, not as ghostly apparitions but as fully corporeal…well, people, just not having aged since their passing and with no recollection of it happening.

We’ve had Vampires and Werewolves fairly frequently recently….but here: Zombies.

Aside from hearing whisperings of great reviews before the first episode aired over here, the promo played a significant part in my deciding to watch the show. Uneasy and mysterious shots of a rural french town, a re-animating butterfly breaking free of its glass display case and – a perfect and eerie accompaniment to the supernatural themes suggested by the trailer – a soundtrack provided by another “The” band, Danish rock duo, The Ravonettes.

This is “Aly, Walk With Me” from their third album, Lust Lust Lust (2007, Fierce Panda):

The Ravonettes – Aly, Walk With Me [amzn]

What was most intriguing about that first episode for me, was the range of emotional reactions from the people whose loved ones had returned – I say “loved ones”, we obviously don’t know the backstories yet and the episode titles suggest they follow along the lines of Heroes and Skins, focusing on a different character in each episode, the first one “Camille“, whilst building up the main cast – from joy, to fear, to denial all with an underlying sense of bewilderment alongside the expected disbelief – how could this be happening?

These mixed reactions were, I’m hoping, indicative of the differing relationships between the characters and maybe, for some, direct involvement in their passing?

I’m intrigued to say the least and will definitely be watching at least the next episode. Catching up tonight.

If you’ve been watching, would love to hear what you think – about the series and the music, which, in general, was penned by Mogwai, whose album Les Revenants [amzn] soundtracks the series.

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