Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Channel 4 import French zombie drama LES REVENANTS

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

While reviewing BBC Three's new zombie drama In the Flesh for MSN, I made reference to a 2004 French movie called Les Revenants (They Came Back) that it partly resembles. That award-winning film concerned dead people returning to life and having to re-join society, with the obvious complications that ensue because life has moved on without them...

Coincidentally, Channel 4 has just bought the 2012 French TV series based on that movie, retitled Rebound for English-speaking audiences. What was wrong with using They Came Back again? Or just Revenant, seeing as that English word makes sense given the concept?

Gil Hay, Head of Acquisitions for Channel 4, describes Rebound as a "... powerful and innovative French series [and] already one of the most anticipated shows of the year. The first fully subtitled drama that we have broadcast in 20 years, everything about Rebound feels very Channel 4; visceral, compelling and incredibly contemporary, the creators have taken the supernatural genre and re-written the rules. It is evidence not just of a creative high point in European drama but of Channel 4's willingness to bring audiences the best and most challenging programmes."

Rebound concerns a small town in the mountains that becomes a focal point for people returning from the dead—including two teenagers killed in a car accident, a serial killer, and a boy who was murdered by burglars. The series also includes several mysterious elements, such as the town's dam's water level suddenly dropping, and strange marks on the bodies of both the living and the dead...

It sounds like a great show, and conceptually more exciting than In the Flesh (as much as I like that UK show). It's also interesting to see Channel 4 buying foreign content to subtitle for their native audience; clearly inspired by the success BBC4 have had with The Killing and Borgen in recent years. The difference here is that Channel 4 aren't tucking it away on a digital channel only Guardian readers tend to watch, but are putting it on a primetime terrestrial network. How will that work out for them? When was the last time you remember seeing a foreign-language TV show on a major UK network?

Don't you wish you'd paid more attention in French lessons at school now?

Rebound will begin its eight-episode run later this year on Channel 4.